NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fantasy sports provider DraftKings Inc on Wednesday became the first company to roll out mobile sports betting in New Jersey, an important milestone as legal sports wagers slowly spread through the United States.
The company’s new app, called DraftKings Sportsbook, begins with an invite-only period to let users place sports wagers anywhere within state boundaries. Interested customers can register on the company’s website.
As technology and data companies, casino operators, bookmakers and professional sport leagues look to make money off the new U.S. market, many are pushing for the broadest possible access with the fewest barriers to consumers.
The companies also say illegal betting will not be curtailed unless legal wagers are easy to make - on a smartphone, for example.
New Jersey took its attempts to legalize sports betting to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in May sided with the state and allowed others to also regulate and tax the activity.
Not all states have opened their arms so widely to the new market. Rhode Island, for instance, legalized it in June but is not expected to go live until at least October and included no provisions - yet - for mobile or online wagers.
Outside of New Jersey and Nevada, where sports betting has been legal for decades, only West Virginia is poised to offer statewide mobile sports bets any time soon.
New Jersey’s new regulations, passed in June, require mobile providers to operate through casinos and racetracks in the state that already have land-based sports book operations.
For DraftKings, that partner is Atlantic City’s Resorts Casino Hotel, owned by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment. The state’s Department of Gaming Enforcement authorized DraftKings’ soft-launch period as one of the final regulatory steps to certification before full-scale launch, DraftKings said.
Users can log-in with the same account they have for the company’s other products, according to a preview of the app seen by Reuters.
The app automatically calculates a player’s possible winnings at certain odds before the wager is actually placed with the click of a button.
It translates opaque bookie jargon, such as “Money Line,” into understandable language, in this case “Who will win?”
The app offers different kinds of betting, including live in-game bets, and it will allow players to exit a wager, or “Cash Out,” if they change their minds.
DraftKings rival FanDuel Inc, which recently merged with Irish bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair PLC, has a sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey, but no online product yet.
Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Marguerita Choy