FanDuel, having completed the final steps of testing for change control to the approval of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, became an official player in the state’s DFS market on Tuesday.
Already operating sportsbooks in Iowa at the Diamond Jo casinos in Dubuque and Northwood, FanDuel announced its official DFS entrance into the state on Twitter.
𝙎𝙪𝙥, 𝙄𝙤𝙬𝙖? 👋
We're excited to announce that Iowans can now enter paid fantasy sports contests on #FanDuel
Play now ➡️ https://t.co/e0rSLXJ8Lk pic.twitter.com/fUHghagZBo
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) November 19, 2019
“We’re thrilled to be offering Daily Fantasy Sports in Iowa,” said Cory Fox, Counsel for FanDuel, who noted the process was “one of the more difficult ones” in terms of getting approved on a state-by-state basis. “It’s a huge step forward for us and sports fans in Iowa.”
Both FanDuel and DraftKings underwent an intensive testing process with the IRGC.
“Some of the issues for both companies for Iowa dealt with the system’s mobile platforms, the system that conducts contests tested by independent lab for Iowa,” explained IRGC administrator Brian Ohorliko. “The companies were not interested in the two labs for Iowa, so the commission went to a third lab familiar with DFS technology, and the process of authorizing lab took longer.”
Ohorliko also noted that when the third lab — RubinBrown — was accepted by all parties involved and authorized by IRGC, having previously done audits for both FanDuel and DraftKings, gap testing needed to be performed. The issue of change control, which covers conducting and operating contests as well as verifying players are of legal age and geolocation, was the last sizable hurdle.
“It was getting to the point where the commission and DFS companies were comfortable with processes in place,” Ohorliko said. “(The) operator proposes, commission approves. There are certain changes with no notification, platform changes that require a log, changes to notify the commission, some that require resubmission to the testing lab.
“There was lengthy discussion for what is appropriate, what isn’t. Two things that took longer than everyone hoped for.”
Tuesday’s entrance marked the end of a five-year bid to enter the Iowa market for FanDuel.
Iowa sports betting
In July, Iowa’s gaming commission passed rules for sports betting and fantasy sports ahead of an Aug. 15 date to begin accepting sports bets, but neither titan entered the market for daily fantasy contests until DraftKings received approval Oct. 25.
Although FanDuel did make an entrance into the state’s sports betting market, the sportsbook’s reach is limited. Until Jan. 1, 2021 when the requirement sunsets, patrons have to register in-person before being able to place mobile sportsbooks in the state. Such a physical registration is required to access each of the sportsbooks operating online across the state, all of them in conjunction with a physical casino. The Diamond Jo properties are located in north and northeaster Iowa, near Minnesota and Wisconsin.
FanDuel has been a dominant player in the growing number sports betting markets nationwide, generating $113.9 mm in total wagers in Pennsylvania in October and helping account for more than half of New Jersey’s $46.4 mm in revenue for the same month.