DraftKings Becomes First Operator in Iowa To Gain Licence

Daily sports fantasy contests has finally come to Iowa as DraftKings becomes the first company in the state to obtain a permit. Administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Brian Ohorilko said Thursday that DraftKings is the first operator of daily fantasy sports contests to be licensed in the state.

“They can turn the lights on right away if they so choose,” Ohorilko told Des Moines Register, adding that sometimes these final mobile technology trials and reviews can often be performed in 24- or 36-hour periods.

DraftKings representatives would not comment immediately on a launch schedule, but common sense would indicate that entering the market as soon as possible is in the best interest of the company as the first licensed provider of the government. If the system is not ready for this weekend, if the delay lasts any longer, it would be a big disappointment.

“We are happy to confirm we have received our license to offer daily fantasy sports in Iowa after working collaboratively with the IRGC on this process and look forward to sports fans in the Hawkeye State experiencing our industry-leading fantasy products soon,” said Timothy Dent, DraftKings’ chief financial and compliance officer.

The state commission has been talking about starting licensed games for weeks with DraftKings and FanDuel, the U.S. two largest suppliers of daily fantasy sports contests. Sports wagering has been legal in Iowa since mid-August, but because of some disagreements with the rules of the state, the daily companies had not joined the multimillion-dollar fray.

The differences revolved around specific technological requirements that prevented operators from meeting the compliance standards of Iowa, which apply to all mobile betting forms in Iowa.

One of them, called change control, was designed to make sure all the equipment is safe and working. On that front, the operators argued that unlike some types of sports gambling, where betting lines and other wagering figures that change even during matches, daily fantasy contests are by definition more static.

The contests are often the result of users drawing up their own participant roster under predetermined conditions. They involve performance and scoring for short-term periods. Regardless of the activity, participants watch the results unfold once it’s game time.

Ohroilko said the commission and FanDuel are still negotiating licensing their software. “There is some relief. The commission staff and the daily fantasy companies were frustrated, and nobody wanted that at all,” Ohorilko said. “I think going into this … both sides didn’t understand enough about what the respective companies do.”

But now there’s an appreciation of each other. And while half of the current NFL season is in the books, for Iowa bettors it’s a better case late than ever.

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