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Here's How DraftKings CEO Jason Robins Views Competition and Collaboration Between Betting Companies

By Motley Fool Staff - Updated Jun 25, 2021 at 5:09PM

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The industry has reason to collaborate...for now.

We're still in the early days of online gambling, but industry leaders, including DraftKings (DKNG 10.14%), are already emerging. 

On this clip from Motley Fool Live's "Industry Focus," recorded May 19, DraftKings Co-Founder and CEO Jason Robins and "Industry Focus" host Nick Sciple talk about the competitive nature of the industry today and the collective interest by those involved to see the legalization wave continue. Robins also talks about how he sees the competitive landscape playing out over time, both nationally and in local markets.

Nick Sciple: Yeah, it's interesting. You're from Boston, Barstool is from Boston, kind of a history there. You look at IAC has made a relationship with MGM. You have history there with the DraftStreet acquisition. Do you feel like the competitive landscape is small to a certain extent, the players and the faces?

Jason Robins: It's a very tightly knit community, if you will. Everybody knows each other. Everybody is generally in contact with each other. The thing that's nice about it, yeah, there are some that don't agree with this, but the vast majority agree that right now, the most important thing is to make sure that the legislation, the regulations, and the expansion of the category state-by-state is done in the right way that allows for a healthy market to develop. I think there's such strong alignment among industry leaders on that now. Like I said, there's one or two or three that don't necessarily follow those types of views, but by far, the vast majority of the industry does, and that's really nice to see. I think it's a recognition that if we all see good legislation and good healthy markets being created state by state, that it's going to be good for everybody in the industry. Eventually, there will be a point in time at which people will turn more to how do I figure out how to get an edge on that competitor in a way that maybe creates less of a relationship that exists now. But right now, there's just such focus on making sure things are done right, that everybody's in communication, and everybody's collaborating very well on that front.

Sciple: That makes sense. You mentioned state by state several times. Do you think of this as 50 different markets or each different market is its own, or do you think of it nationally? How do you break things down within your own business?

Robins: That's a great question. I think it's both. There are definitely, in many ways you look at it, 50 different, well, let's see if there's 50, but each state is different. There's a little bit of a difference in the regulations in many states. Obviously, when we're in this earlier phase where there's mostly localized marketing, the local landscape for marketing, and how to reach customers and acquire customers is different state by state. You have different state-by-state rules of the road on the regulation side. In some states, there's ways that you can deduct certain types of promotions from taxes, and in other states, it's a different type of promotion. Being able to be very sophisticated, and I think we have a leg up in this area and that we have a very strong level of automation in what we do, I think is very helpful. In that regard, it's state by state, but really in the end, I think, it will be a national market and it's already starting to get there in terms of the customer and the marketing. Obviously, national marketing is less expensive on a per impression basis than local marketing. But in the early days, it makes sense to really primarily concentrate on local marketing because there's not enough of a footprint to make national make sense even though on a per impression basis, it's cheaper. But I think you're going to see that threshold crossed in the next 12 months or so, maybe sooner. I think as we get more and more states adopting sports betting, you'll see more and more of a national approach from companies like DraftKings, and I think that's a leg up that we and a small group of others will have, the fact that we are so present in so many states. We're in more states than any other online operator. Most of the industry are in one or two states, which I think is at this stage where there's so much local focus, isn't the biggest disadvantage. But I think as it gets to a point where there is that national scale and that national marketing efficiency to be gained, it will be a tremendous advantage to be in a lot of different states.

Sciple: You zoom out several years down the road and there are just fewer players in this industry. Is that accurate? If that is, how many players are in this industry five, 10 years down the line?

Robins: I think what you'll see is that, on a national basis, the majority of shares concentrated among a very small number of players, you can count on one hand number of players, and that there may be still a long tail. That might be because if you're a local casino, there's I think 30-plus casinos in Colorado, for example, you want something in market in Colorado. Do you necessarily have ambitions to expand all throughout the US? No. Are you going to capture a ton of share locally? Probably not. But you might as well have something. You have a license, you have customers that are visiting you on the brick-and-mortar side. I think that's going to be the structure of the market. You'll have that count-on-one-hand number where the vast majority of national market share is concentrated and then you'll have a long tail built up by some who are smaller players on a multi-state basis, but mostly one or two-state players or three-state players for casinos that are in one or two or three states and want to have some presence where their physical structures are.

Nick Sciple owns shares of IAC/InterActiveCorp. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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