In the past few years, DraftKings have proven to be one of the most disruptive forces in online gambling. Together with FanDuel, they’ve been responsible for the explosion in popularity of daily fantasy sports contests, which have brilliantly combined betting and fantasy. Both have also run extremely successful sportsbooks.
Now, DraftKings is making a big international play. In October 2020, they launched their first non-US sportsbook, which is specifically targeted at the Irish market. If this proves successful, they may well spread to Britain and beyond.
Despite being completely new, a sportsbook from a brand as big as DraftKings is a thrilling proposition. In this comprehensive review, we’ll find out exactly where it slots into the busy betting landscape, and whether it’s worthy of the prestigious DraftKings name.
DraftKings Sports Sign Up Offer
Seeing as the DraftKings sportsbook just launched, it’s no surprise to see that they also have a welcome offer in place, which they’ll hope will convince newcomers to sign up. While its name – ‘Welcome Offer’ – might be unimaginative, the lure of a €25 free bet is the first thing most people will focus on!
Before we investigate the details, here’s a basic guide on how to go about getting that free bet:
- Head to sportsbook.draftkings.ie
- Follow the registration process (explained later in this review)
- Deposit and bet at least €25 in eligible wagers (detailed below)
- €25 free bet token will be awarded
- Use the free bet token within 30 days of it being issued
Well, that’s just about as simple as free bet offers get! Let’s see if there’s anything to complicate matters within the terms and conditions:
- Each qualifying bet must be at least €1
- Total sum of qualifying bets must be at least €25
- Qualifying bets must be made at 1/2 (1.50) or greater
- Only straight singles and accumulator bets are eligible
- Qualifying bet requirement must be completed within 90 days of registration
- Free bet stake not returned with winnings
There’s nothing in the T’s & C’s that should scare you off, meaning that – in all – this is a very attractive welcome offer indeed! Betting €25 to get €25 as a free bet isn’t exceptional value, but it’s still fair. Most of all, we love the lack of restrictions involved in the offer. Many other bookies would make certain payment methods ineligible, for example, or certain sports. DraftKings do neither, and – even better – give you a whopping 90 days to complete your qualifying bets, then a generous 30 days to use the free bet.
DraftKings Ongoing Promotions
The Draftkings welcome offer serves as a perfect introduction to the brand, and should hold appeal for all different sorts of bettors. As always, of course, it’s keeping bettors around after they’ve signed up which is the real challenge! Ideally, your ongoing promotions should help a lot in this regard.
Unfortunately DraftKings disappoints here, particularly compared to the highs of the sign up offer. It’s not that the promotions they’ve got in place are bad. The problem is that… there are only two of them! We’ve analysed both offers below, but the very fact that there are so few is a major issue in itself, and one we’d expect to see addressed sooner rather than later.
Live Bet Club
Made famous by brands like Betway, the ‘Bet Club’ offer type has since proven to be one of the most reliably appealing around. DraftKings’ version, we’re pleased to say, is pretty darn good too.
To qualify for the club, you must place at least five live accumulator bets during a given week (midnight Monday to midnight Sunday). Your accas must be at odds of 1/2 or greater, and with stakes of at least €5. Fulfil these criteria, and you’ll be given a €5 free bet, which you’ll have seven days to use.
This deal is nice and straightforward, offers fair value, and – best of all – can be repeated each and every week!
Here we see DraftKings taking advantage of another absolutely classic promotion type! The ‘acca bonus’ offer has certainly stood the test of time, and – once again – DraftKings’ take on it is very good indeed.
Like all such promotions, DraftKings’ US Sports Acca Booster increases your winnings from accumulator bets. As the name suggests, it’s specifically an American-themed offer, with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL all being eligible, plus college football and basketball.
Stick down a multiples bet with at least three selections on one of those sports, and – if it wins – your profits will be boosted. That boost starts at 5% for a trebles, and increases to 10% for a 4-folds, 15% for a 5-folds, and so on, all the way up to 50% for a 12-folds or higher. Each selection must have odds of at least 1/2, with minimum combined odds of evens or higher.
DraftKings Markets & Betting Options
Just about everybody would know that the two biggest betting markets are football and horse racing. Focusing only on those sports, however, simply isn’t enough for a sportsbook nowadays. With an audience which tends to be informed about – and watch – several sports with regularity, the modern bookie must also cater to a wide range of interests.
For the most part, DraftKings do a pretty good job with this. They have 18 different sports on offer right now, which – while it’s nowhere near what you’d get from the very biggest bookies – still encompasses most of the major bases. The likes of football, tennis, golf, boxing, rugby, and motor racing – for example – are all present and correct, as are the ‘big four’ American sports, plus a smattering of niche markets.
Unfortunately, there are also a few pretty major absences. Cricket and eSports are certainly notable examples, but none are bigger than horse racing. The ‘sport of kings’ is either the first or second most popular online betting market around, depending on which source you believe, making it a serious omission. With that said, it can take time to secure the licenses needed to provide horse racing betting, particularly for UK and Irish courses, so we’re hopeful that this will be corrected sooner rather than later.
With horse racing MIA on the platform, football should become a pretty obvious focus. This certainly seems to be the approach DraftKings have taken, and – to their credit – they have managed to produce a very impressive football section indeed.
In terms of the sheer volume of betting markets, the selection here is faultless. All the top competitions across England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany are represented, as you might expect, but there’s plenty of lower league fare to bet on too. Contests from further afield are also included, from South America through to Eastern Europe, with pretty impressive depth throughout.
There’s no drop-off when it comes to the bet types on offer either. Here are just a few ways in which you can wager on each game:
- Match Result
- Over/Under Goals
- Both Teams to Score
- Double Chance
- Draw No Bet
- Handicap/Asian Handicap
There are plenty of riskier opportunities too, such as Correct Score, 1st Goal Period, and so on. If you prefer to take a longer-term view, you’ll also find plenty of outright markets for larger competitions like the Premier League, FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League.
With horse racing off the menu, tennis – easily one of the most popular secondary sports – becomes an even more important market than usual. While certainly not as extensive as the football section, there are still plenty of wagering opportunities here too.
All four of the slams are supported, as you might expect, with both outright and match-by-match markets available. Backing these up nicely are a full range of both ATP and WTA tour events, which stretch across the tennis calendar and ensure you never have to wait long for your next bet!
Rather than worrying about what’s not included, we believe it’s far more useful to focus on what you can bet on with DraftKings. Pleasingly, this covers the vast majority of the most popular European betting markets, including golf, boxing, MMA, motor racing, and rugby. Fans of American sports will be pleased to see the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL all featured too, with outright markets mixed in with pre-match ones for most of those. Finally, this respectable offering is nicely rounded out by sports like darts, Aussie Rules, and cycling.
Live betting has become such an integral part of the modern betting experience, that it’s likely one of the first things a newcomer will look at when checking out a sportsbook. In the case of DraftKings, that newcomer will be very impressed with what they find.
‘Live Sports’ is one of the three distinct sections of the website, along with ‘Sportsbook’ and ‘Daily Fantasy’, clearly showing how important they are to DraftKings. This section is just as neatly arranged as the rest, allowing you to take in plenty of information at a glance, and navigate effortlessly between markets.
Most of the aforementioned sports come with live markets for ongoing games – with football and tennis being especially strong – and odds update with pleasing regularity. While there’s no live streaming, both a visualisation tool and live stats are provided, both of which work perfectly.
DraftKings Mobile Betting And Sports App
Their mobile-heavy focus has been a key part of DraftKings’ daily fantasy success in the USA. It’s a little surprising, therefore, to find their new sportsbook lacking in this department.
For starters, while there are both Android and iOS apps for DraftKings’ daily fantasy (available in the UK as well as Ireland), there’s no app available for the sportsbook. We continue to find it frustrating when this is the case with a fresh bookie. However new they are, surely it would make sense to have an app ready before launching to the public.
Regardless, without an app in place, you’re entirely reliant on the mobile website. Unfortunately, there’s a noticeable decline in quality between this and the desktop version. The navigation in particular is much weaker, with the menu system being pretty unintuitive, and lagging behind what you’d find from a premium bookie’s mobile site.
That being said, the mobile site isn’t a disaster by any means. It loads quickly enough, and – with time – you’ll learn to find your way around it. Most importantly, you’re still perfectly able to do the most important jobs of all – manage your account, and place bets – reliably enough.
DraftKings Bookmaker Features
Let’s not beat around the bush here. When it comes to special features, you’ll find some pretty slim pickings at the DraftKings sportsbook. There’s no live streaming at the time of writing, for example… although this was recently added to the US version of the site, so we’d hope to see it reach Europe soon. Elsewhere, while there’s technically a bet builder in place – called ‘Create Your Bet’ – it once again lags behind what you’d find from most premium bookies.
Of course, DraftKings users do get access to one enormously popular and innovative feature which customers of other sportsbooks don’t: daily fantasy.
In short, as the name suggests, you’re not building a team for a whole season here. Instead, you’re literally just putting together a lineup for a single day, or at most for one round of matches. To do so, you’ll be given a total ‘salary’ to spend on your team. Each player will cost a certain amount of that salary, with the better players naturally costing more. You need to fill out a full lineup, though, meaning you must strategically balance your budget between stars and role players.
A whole range of popular sports can be played via daily fantasy, including football, American Football, basketball, eSports, and more. Whatever your chosen market, you’ll join a league with other players and compete against them for winnings in the jackpot. If you come up short with one of your teams… don’t worry, you can simply go again the next day! With stake prices for each contest starting at just $1, the barrier for entry isn’t exactly expensive!
If you’ve got any interest whatsoever in normal fantasy sports, you simply must try this variant. It’s very quick and extremely fun, with DraftKings’ version arguably the best around right now.
DraftKings Banking Options
Generally speaking, we’ve been pretty positive thus far in our DraftKings review. When it comes to banking options, however, the situation is a little less clear-cut.
Visa and Mastercard are definitely ways in which you can make a deposit, as is Neteller. DraftKings also list PayPal and Skrill as options… but these seemed to be completely absent during our testing. Even if they are installed shortly, that’s still not a very wide range of payment methods, with bank transfer being the clearest omission.
The minimum amount for both deposits and withdrawals is €10, with euros being the only currency currently supported. Like many bookies, DraftKings operate a ‘closed-loop’ policy, meaning that withdrawals must be made to the same account used for your original deposit.
DraftKings Sign Up Process
Signing up for a new account with a bookie used to be something of a pain. We’re pleased to say that those days – for the most part – are behind us now, and DraftKings certainly have a nice, modern, streamlined system in place. It’s divided clearly into three main parts, with each requiring minimal time and effort to complete.
At the first stage – ‘Personal Information’ – you’ll input the most basic personal details: your name, date of birth, and email address. Once you’ve done so, hit the big green button at the bottom to proceed to the second page, ‘Contact Information’. You simply need to enter a couple more details here – namely your address and mobile phone number – before progressing once more.
The third and final stage – ‘Account Information’ – is also the largest. Most importantly, this is the point at which you create a username and password for your account. You can decide your preferences for currency, odds style, and marketing materials too, and place deposit limits on your account if you so desire. Once you’re happy with everything, simply accept the T’s & C’s and click the ‘Create My Account’ button.
An email will now be sent to the address you provided. Just click the link within to verify your account, and you’re ready to deposit and start betting!
DraftKings ID Verification Process
There are a whole lot of fun parts to sports betting, which is why so many casual bettors love to do it! One of the less fun parts, though, is definitely verifying your ID. Unfortunately, it’s a security measure which bookies are required to take… so it’s just something you have to put up with!
With DraftKings, at least, the verification process is smooth, straightforward, and very clearly explained. Here’s a quick and easy step-by-step guide on exactly how to complete it.
- Head to sportsbook.draftkings.ie, and log in to your account
- Click the name of your account in the top-right to open a menu
- Select ‘Documents Upload’
- You will now see a detailed list of the documents you must upload. Briefly, these are photo ID (e.g. a passport), a recent utility bill, and proof of financial account ownership (e.g. a bank statement)
- Use the dropdown menu towards the bottom of the screen to select the document you’re uploading, click ‘Upload Files’, and attach the relevant file from your device
- Repeat for each piece of ID
- You should be notified shortly afterwards confirming your ID has been verified
For more detailed information on the process, including the required standards for each document you upload, head to DraftKings’ FAQ section.
From the very beginning, DraftKings feels like a premium sportsbook. Visually, it looks fantastic, with a cool, modern black and grey colour scheme. It’s not the most spectacular appearance in the world, with very few graphics to liven things up, but it still looks highly professional and modern.
More important than that, of course, is how the platform actually handles. Once again, we were extremely impressed in this regard too. Beginners won’t have any trouble getting started here, but betting veterans will also be thankful for just how easy it is to move around the most important sections of the website. Many of these are housed in a couple of extremely handy top menus. These allow you – with the single click of a button – to access the deposit section, account management menu, live chat, promotions page, and more.
Navigating between the actual markets is equally easy. The search function is the quickest way to do so, but you can also browse through the full list of available sports down the left-hand side, and each sport’s individual markets in the main area. Odds for each game are clearly displayed, and adding selections to your betslip, setting stakes, and so on are all a cinch.
While we’re all for new brands attempting to break onto the scene, there are certain indisputable benefits to going with a large, proven brand. One of those is exemplary customer service, and that’s exactly what you get from DraftKings. While there’s no phone support, you are able to get in touch via email or post for a slower response, and – crucially – live chat for an instant reply.
Elsewhere, while there’s not a full ‘help centre’, DraftKings do have an FAQ in place. This is passable, covering most of the major issues you’re likely to have, but is hardly the most comprehensive such section we’ve seen.
More On The Bookmaker
DraftKings aren’t the oldest brand around, having launched in 2012, but they’ve made a massive impact in that time. Most notably this has come via the rise of daily fantasy sports, with FanDuel their only major competitor in the space. The two companies actually almost merged in 2016, before the move was blocked by the US government.
Nowadays, DraftKings has spread across the US with its online sports betting platform, and is making in-roads in Europe too. Having launched daily fantasy in Ireland 2017, they actually opened a Dublin office in early 2020, along with a new sportsbook, which looks like a very strong statement of intent.
DraftKings Bottom Line
Naturally, when a company as famous as DraftKings launch a completely fresh product, to a brand-new audience, it’s going to generate a lot of excitement in the betting community. Their daily fantasy may have been available to British and Irish customers for some time, but a fully-fledged sportsbook is a different matter entirely.
How does it stand up, when you look past the hype? Well, considering how new it is… actually pretty well! The welcome offer obviously gets things off to a great start, and a solid – if not spectacular – range of betting markets backs this first impression up nicely. The registration and ID verification processes are both nicely streamlined, allowing you to get started with minimal effort, and the customer support is very good indeed.
That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t still some serious areas for improvement here. While what’s in place is generally good… there are some pretty important pieces which are missing entirely, with a mobile app and horse racing markets the two biggest examples.
All told, though, we’re impressed with how far along DraftKings’ sportsbook already is. Add in the ease with which you can also dabble in their brilliant daily fantasy, and signing up for an account – then taking advantage of the excellent Welcome Offer with its €25 free bet – becomes a very appealing proposition indeed.
Place €25 in bets and receive a €25 Free Bet!