DraftKings Sportsbook today announced the debut of a new game format in New Jersey sports betting — Pools.
Pools is a gambling product which draws on elements of daily fantasy sports to create what amounts to a betting contest. The game seems to advance DraftKings' ongoing efforts to cater to casual customers across both DFS and sports betting platforms.
As part of the press, DraftKings Sportsbook also announced that customers everywhere can now roam around on the app — “an unfettered view” as they say. It is still somewhat fettered, of course. Betting remains restricted to customers physically located in New Jersey.
DraftKings Sportsbook Pools are live on Android and iOS platforms at the time of writing. Press release here.
What are DraftKings Sportsbook Pools?
Pools are parlay competitions in which bettors choose sides from a set menu of outcomes.
This weekend's inaugural contest, for example, covers all the NFL games across Sunday and Monday. Bettors pick each game against the same spread, and entries are pooled — hence the clever name. Once the games are settled, winners are determined by the number of correct picks on their card.
Prizes are split into three tiers and shared by any player(s) who fall into that tier:
- 13 correct – 50 percent
- 12 correct – 30 percent
- 11 correct – 20 percent
The debut contest carries a $20 entry and pays out at least $200,000. And unlike their DFS counterparts, sports betting contests don't require fixed field sizes or payouts.
Making a handful of correct picks is far easier said than done, it should be mentioned — let alone picking all 13 to run the board. But DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a share of a hundred grand to anyone who can do it this weekend in NJ.
DK Sportsbook taking a familiar tack
Here’s co-founder Matt Kalish in the press release:
“Millions of Americans have been playing in sports pools for years with their friends and coworkers, and now one of the most popular ways that fans can get ‘skin in the game’ is live on DraftKings Sportsbook.
“DraftKings Sportsbook Pools features simple predictions, such as picking the winner of each NFL game weekly, combined with the potential to win jackpot-style prizes. This product will unquestionably make every game more exciting for DraftKings Sportsbook players of all levels.”
DraftKings Sportsbook's focus on recreational customers was apparent from day one, and it reappears in Kalish's comments regarding friends and coworkers. The words “casual” and “easier” also appear early on in the press release.
This same focus is evident in the DraftKings DFS operations, too.
Pools can trace at least some of its roots to Pigskin Pick'em, one of DraftKings' first forays into novel DFS formats in 2017. Pick'em removed the salary cap to create a more casual game, reducing the effort needed to field a competitive lineup.
Pools extends that concept in some ways, bridging the gap between fantasy contests and sports betting. Where Pick'em borrows the parlay/prop concepts from betting, Pools draws on the peer-to-peer competition that defines DFS. It's DSB, if you will. And it's more familiar to the way folks speculate on games around the water cooler.
Despite the focus elsewhere, DraftKings Sportsbook isn't totally ignoring the serious bettor. This Pools launch follows closely behind the creation of the Sports Betting National Championship, a new live event to be held in January. That one costs $10,000 to enter.
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