Launch Scrubbed? Golden Nugget Online Acquired by DraftKings Ahead Of Iowa Plans

Written By Russ Mitchell on August 13, 2021 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022

When Golden Nugget president Thomas Winter gave investors an earnings update on May 17, he mentioned plans to launch a Golden Nugget sportsbook in Iowa “early next year.”

Now that timeline matches the closing window for DraftKings’ acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming. DraftKings wanted Golden Nugget’s brand, iGaming product experience and a database of 5 million customers.

The merger will be called “New DraftKings” for now. Then New DraftKings will transition to “DraftKings Inc.” when the all-stock transaction closes. It has an implied equity value of about $1.56 billion, according to a Monday announcement about the merger from DK.

Golden Nugget iGaming isn’t available in Iowa

Golden Nugget’s “iGaming” — or online casino gaming — isn’t legal in Iowa, but DraftKings sees benefits for other states in the meantime.

Jason Robins, DraftKings’ CEO and chairman of the board, said the Golden Nugget acquisition “will enhance our ability to instantly reach a broader consumer base, including Golden Nugget’s loyal ‘iGaming-first’ customers.”

It’s not clear whether New DraftKings will still launch a Golden Nugget Sportsbook in Iowa as an alternate brand. PlayIA checked in with DraftKings senior communications associate Remington Parker. She said:

“Unfortunately we cannot provide additional context outside of the investor presentation at this time, including market access on either end.”

Parkers said DraftKings will be happy to circle back when more updates are available.

Golden Nugget had an access agreement with the Wild Rose group in Iowa. It has casinos in ClintonEmmetsburg and Jefferson. Iowa code allows each location to offer up to three individually-branded online sportsbooks — or “skins.”

Since customers can register for a sports betting account online in Iowa, they wouldn’t have to initially visit a Wild Rose casino to sign up for the sportsbook.

In Iowa, online wagering accounted for 87.6% of all sports betting in July. DraftKings collected $23.5 million in the online handle for the month. That was good for 30.1% of the state’s online market share.

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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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