DraftKings Black Throne Studios Aids In-House Tech Stack Reign

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DraftKings Black Throne Studios (BTS) is the latest online casino game development service the Boston-based online gambling operator is creating.

Stephen Miraglia, DraftKings senior communications director, tells Bonus.com:

In terms of in-house game development, we’ve been doing that for a while now.

His comment on Tuesday comes after other industry publications speculated that BTS will be a studio providing other US online casino operators with DraftKings-created games. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

Instead, its application on June 8 to trademark Black Throne Studios may be another move toward bringing online casino game creation in-house.

While the operator has far more than BTS news, such as its Q2 2022 earnings call next week, Wall Street doesn’t seem excited about the studio.

On June 8, its stock (DKNG) sold for $14.33. Today, it closed at $13.68. That’s a 4.5% decline.

BTS May Add More Games to DraftKings Casino

DraftKings Casino began offering New Jersey gamblers homegrown games in 2019, with titles like Hallowe’en Roulette.

In 2021, the new titles were less esoteric. Here’s looking at you, blackjack variation Spanish 21.

However, the operator ramped up in-house online casino game creation during the past year.

Miraglia highlights the following points from the March DraftKings Investor Day presentation:

iGaming is a great example of how we have been able to differentiate from our competition when we own our technology platform

• 27 New titles from DK Studio in 2021; now 51 DK Games total

• 60% Handle From DK Home-Grown Games in 2021

• 90k+ Distinct Users Have Played DK Rocket

The presentation footnotes that DraftKings Rocket only launched in September 2021.

Miraglia adds in his response to Bonus.com:

In April, we launched our first DraftKings-developed slots games in New Jersey.

Then in May, iGaming-first gamblers benefitted from the company’s $1.56 billion acquisition of Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG).

When DraftKings released its Q1 2022 earnings report that month, it said:

In the first quarter, 43% of mobile sports betting users in our iGaming states also engaged with our iGaming product, and 54% of iGaming handle came from DraftKings-developed games.

Committed to Adding Online Casino Talent

Today on LinkedIn, the operator advertised for a Casino Game Design Manager, New Ventures:

We’re looking for a Casino Game Design Manager to join our iGaming team, which oversees one of our non-sports lines of business. This role will assist in creating and managing engaging content for our casino customers, focusing on adding new products to our games portfolio across multiple jurisdictions.

That role can either be filled by a remote worker or one based in Las Vegas.

The reason for that is DraftKings’ second-largest office is now in Sin City.

There, the company is the “primary sponsor” of the Center for Gaming Innovation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

In the October 2020 announcement about the UNLV sponsorship, DraftKings says:

The agreement with UNLV will create a pipeline to local talent and to innovations created at UNLV, which has a long-standing track record of success in commercializing gaming products, ranging from new games and software to Responsible Gaming technologies.

DraftKings Still Has Third-Party Providers

During a recent tour of Malta-based Evolution‘s live dealer studio in Philadelphia, a Bonus.com reporter noticed the DraftKings Casino-branded space.

Its seven dedicated gaming tables were placed in front of a wall filled with large-screen tablets. On them, athletes ran and jumped. At the tables, croupiers spoke to online casino players.

Evolution is the primary live dealer services provider for US online casino operators.

At this studio, which is one of Evolution’s largest US live dealer facilities, DraftKings is only outranked in its number of branded tables by FanDuel CasinoJacob Claesson tells Bonus.com.

Evolution’s head of North American operations says most online casino players prefer blackjack, which is available at branded and unbranded tables. The games played at this studio reach Pennsylvania and West Virginia online casino gamblers.

Other than the West Virginia live stream, Evolution has studios within the borders of US online casino states. The others are in Connecticut, Michigan, and New Jersey.

DraftKings uses Evolution for its live dealer games in all five states.

That means that so far, its in-house iGaming reign is incomplete.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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