DraftKings Launches in Ireland and Austria

Sports fans in two additional countries now have access to real money fantasy contests at DraftKings. DraftKings announced this week that it has gone live in both Ireland and Austria as it continues its international expansion.

With a combined population exceeding 13.5 million people, Ireland and Austria present the latest opportunity for DraftKings to get its brand in front of a whole lot of new eyes. The decision to expand to Ireland was expected after reports last month that DraftKings had petitioned Ireland’s Department of Finance to have fantasy sports classified as a contest of skill.

DraftKings CEO Jason Robbins had this to say regarding the news:

“Sports fans in Europe are embracing the game inside the game through DraftKings’ contests and content. As we looked to expand our European footprint, it was an easy choice to launch in Ireland and Austria, given their renowned passion for sports.”

DraftKings will be offering its full slate of contests to users in both countries. This currently includes: American football (NFL and college), baseball, hockey, golf, NASCAR, eSports and MMA. The DraftKings announcement also stated that “DraftKings intends to continue expanding its geographic footprint, both in Europe and elsewhere, in 2018.”

DraftKings Expanding Internationally; FanDuel Focused on the USA

DraftKings now operates in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Malta and Austria. DraftKings has long been available in Canada where daily fantasy sports are unregulated. The company went truly international in February of 2016 with its launch in the UK after acquiring a license from the UK Gambling Commission.

In January, DraftKings acquired its next gaming license – this time in Malta. The Malta license made it possible for DraftKings to expand into additional markets. Shortly after, DraftKings added Malta and Germany to its list of accepted countries.

As FanDuel focuses on the domestic market in the United States, DraftKings is making big plays abroad. It does seem like a bit of a gamble considering fantasy sports is a distinctly American tradition and with the market potential elsewhere being uncertain, but it is a gamble that could pay off in a big way.

After the merger between DraftKings and FanDuel failed due to FTC intervention on anti-monopoly grounds, both sites have gone their own way and will continue to be one another’s biggest competitor.

FanDuel opted to exit the UK market shortly after the merger plans fell through while DraftKings has pushed forward on the international front. With competition fierce in the United States, each site appears to be taking a unique approach with significant risks and rewards.

While FanDuel doubles down on its operations in the United States, it deals with a more competitive but proven market. DraftKings’ international strategy bypasses the competition present in the United States at the cost of operating in largely unproven markets. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the future and how far DraftKings will take its international expansion.

As far as DraftKings is concerned, they sound optimistic regarding the site’s performance in the UK and Germany so far. The DraftKings press release noted that this latest move comes on the heels of significant growth in other international markets. According to the press release, DraftKings saw year-over-year growth last month of 51% in entry fees and 31% in new customer accounts in the UK and 46% in registered customers in Germany.