DraftKings Introduces Parlay Option Similar to Fantasy Sports Pick’em Contests

DraftKings Introduces Parlay Option Similar to Fantasy Sports Pick’em Contests
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

DraftKings has unveiled its newest sports betting product to the public, and it may look somewhat familiar to people who have played single-player fantasy pick ’em games.

CEO Jason Robins made the announcement for Progressive Parlays during DraftKings investor day online presentation Tuesday morning — the company operates DraftKings Sportsbook Arizona in the state. In an accompanying video, the company said its parlay product allows a bettor to create a parlay with at least three legs and no more than 12. While traditional parlays require the bettor to be correct on each leg to win the bet, a Progressive Parlay will allow the bettor to miss on some picks and still have a chance to win something.

Robins touted it as a “win-win” opportunity for bettors and the Boston-based sports betting operator. He added that it will be “great for the economy” as the game distributes winnings “a little bit better” to bettors.

“As you can see, we’re excited about our Progressive Parlay offering and its potential to generate higher parlay mix and leg count, and thus higher hold percentage, as well as being a great win with customers who will be able to win money on their parlays even if they don’t hit every leg of their bet,” he said.

DraftKings did not say when it would begin offering Progressive Parlays, only saying it would start soon. However, the timing of it was certainly curious. The announcement came on the same day PENN Entertainment officially changed its Barstool Sportsbook to ESPN BET Arizona, a move it hopes will make its online sports betting app more competitive against DraftKings and FanDuel.

Product Similar to Some Fantasy Contests

DraftKings’ Progressive Parlays will allow Arizona betting apps customers to choose whether an athlete will go or stay under a certain statistical benchmark, such as points for a basketball player or passing yards for a quarterback in football. Odds were not announced, but the video stated the app will “dynamically inform” bettors of their potential payouts when they make each selection.

As bettors add more legs to their parlay, they will have more chances to win. The video said a seven-leg Progressive Parlay would pay out if as few as five legs hit.

That is, in essence, what fantasy sports operators like PrizePicks and Underdog offer through their single-player pick ’em contests. However, several states, including Arizona, have started taking action against fantasy sports operators that offer such games. Earlier this month, the state’s Department of Gaming — which oversees Arizona sports betting, fantasy sports, horse racing and boxing — wrote to the 10 approved operators and informed them that pick ’em contests were not allowed.

Among the operators active in Arizona are PrizePicks, Underdog and DraftKings. Critics of the fantasy pick ’em contests say the games are tantamount to sports betting parlays. Both DraftKings and FanDuel, companies with origins in the daily fantasy sports space, have been especially critical of their competitors in the field. In DraftKings presentation, the company says its Progressive Parlays would be “regulated as sports betting.”

Hard Rock Also Offers a Flexible Parlay

Robins said during the presentation he was not aware of any other sports betting operator offering a product like Progressive Parlays. Technically, that’s correct, but earlier this year, another U.S. sports betting operator announced a parlay product that would pay out even if picks missed.

In July, Hard Rock Bet, which is available in the state at Hard Rock Bet Arizona, debuted its Flex Parlays. It allows bettors to pick up to 10 legs, and according to a video on the Hard Rock Digital website, bettors can include moneylines and spreads in their parlay. If they wish, they can take a lesser option, such as three or more legs winning in a five-leg parlay. In that instance, the bettor would receive a lower payout because of the higher probability of the bet winning.

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Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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