Daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings has hired a new ‘Head of Sportsbook,’ further undermining the façade that the company is most definitely not in the business of gambling.
On Monday, DraftKings issued a statement hailing the hiring of Sean Hurley to “help build, launch and drive the sports betting vertical at DraftKings.” Hurley will be based out of DraftKings’ newly opened office in Hoboken, New Jersey, and will report to co-founder and chief revenue officer Matt Kalish.
Kalish said Hurley, who joined DraftKings following a year-plus stint as head of commercial for UK B2B sports betting technology supplier Amelco and three years with boutique online sportsbook and casino provider Whale Global, “brings a wealth of gaming experience to DraftKings and furthers our ability to be a leader in the sports betting market.”
DraftKings has long maintained the fiction that its DFS activities aren’t gambling in the strictest legal sense, but while that stance may have kept its owners out of jail, it also hasn’t allowed the company to get into activities that might actually allow DraftKings to turn a profit.
Earlier this month, DraftKings CEO Jason Robins confirmed growing rumors that the company was prepping a new sports betting product in the increasingly likely event that the US Supreme Court overturns the 1992 federal prohibition on sports betting. Monday’s statement further hyped the possibilities of this “potential new line of business.”
DraftKings’ decision to house its new hire in New Jersey comes just one week after the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) invited would-be betting operators to begin the process of applying for service provider licenses. As the state that has led the charge to overturn the federal betting ban, New Jersey is expected to be first out of the gate with a state-level legal betting offering following a favorable Supreme Court verdict, which could be announced within weeks.
In January, DraftKings announced that it was hiring hundreds of new staff to fill out an expanded Boston headquarters, despite the DFS industry showing little to no signs of growth in the past couple years. While the company claimed many of these staffers would be involved in media production, it’s now clear that the company is placing a very big bet on the Supreme Court coming down on the side of legal sports betting.