DraftKings takes new step into UK market; Vantiv CEO reveals reason behind DFS split

By David Cook
DraftKings has entered into its first sponsorship agreements in European football, after concluding deals with Barclays Premier League clubs Arsenal, Liverpool and reportedly Watford.

Marketing activities will be promoted through Arsenal and Liverpool’s digital and social media channels and DraftKings will be branded at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on domestic matchdays.

The daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator is licensed to operate in the UK, though its launch has been put back after receiving its licence from the UK Gambling Commission in August.

The launch was initially meant to occur in October, before being pushed back to December and then again to the early months of this year.

DraftKings’ competitor FanDuel is also aiming to launch in the UK but is yet to receive the relevant licensing.

While DraftKings already has a partnership in place with Major League Soccer in the US, it has also partnered with Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, NASCAR and Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel sponsor DFS lounges at several sporting arenas/stadiums in the US.
We have decided that it is prudent to suspend processing for transactions involving daily fantasy sports due to the increasing uncertain regulatory and judicial environment around these operations.Charles Drucker, Vantiv CEO


Meanwhile, Vantiv CEO Charles Drucker has given some explanation as to why the payment processor is to suspend operations with DFS operators.

The New York Times reported last week that that Vantiv sent a letter to its DFS clients claiming it would “suspend all processing for payment transaction” related to US DFS operations on February 29.

A number of US attorneys general have concluded that DFS constitutes illegal gambling, including in New York and Texas, and several states have either banned operators or are considering regulation.

Drucker said in an earnings call: “We have decided that it is prudent to suspend processing for transactions involving daily fantasy sports due to the increasing uncertain regulatory and judicial environment around these operations.

“Importantly, revenue from daily fantasy sports is not material to the overall business and will have no impact on the outlook as we discussed today. We may re-enter the space in the future, should conditions change.”

DraftKings’ council David Boies said on Friday: “To be clear, first, Vantiv has not told DraftKings that it plans to cease fulfilling its contractual obligations as of ‘Feb 29, 2016’ (or any other date). Second, Vantiv is under court order to continue to fulfil its contractual obligation to DraftKings."
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