Sports betting and daily fantasy sports company DraftKings is close to a marketing deal with Buffalo Wild Wings. Sources near the deal confirmed that negotiations were proceeding between the two companies.
The scope and depth of the deal remain unclear.
As strange as it may seem to have those two companies in the same sentence, there is a certain amount of sense to it. Both have made notable overtures in the sports betting world in the last few weeks.
Sports betting at Buffalo Wild Wings isn’t actually that crazy…
Sports betting at a Buffalo Wild Wings may seem like one of the more unlikelier scenarios, but it’s actually based in some measure of reality. This week, Gaming Today reported the restaurant is interested in expanding into sports betting.
Regardless of how ridiculous that sounds, the chain’s ties to sports are undeniable. As a Buffalo Wild Wings spokesperson told ESPN:
“As the largest sports bar in America, we believe Buffalo Wild Wings is uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests. We are actively exploring opportunities, including potential partners, as we evaluate the next steps for our brand.”
Now, belief and reality are two separate things. The hot wing chain has a long road of regulatory and practical hurdles to clear before it begins accepting wagers on the games it shows.
However, a partnership with DraftKings may allow B-Dubs to jump some of those obstacles.
DraftKings + Buffalo Wild Wings = William Hill, but everywhere?
DraftKings amazingly managed to be first to market with an online sportsbook in New Jersey this week. In fact, its advertising for the DraftKings Sportsbook debuted before another online book has even appeared on the scene.
Its experience with negotiating the New Jersey gaming regulations would be invaluable to a partner like Buffalo Wild Wings. The company could piggyback off DraftKings through the application processes in the various states with sports betting.
In return, DraftKings could begin to occupy a space similar to European gaming giant William Hill. William Hill has managed to become the sportsbook with the most locations in Nevada, of all places. Many of these locations are inside the tavern chains PTs.
A DraftKings sports betting booth or kiosk in every Buffalo Wild Wings would place DK in a similar spot. The only difference would be that the company could be in several states instead of just one. DraftKings could even soft-launch the concept by facilitating daily fantasy sports in Buffalo Wild Wings where DFS is legal.
Pennsylvania and West Virginia have already legalized the practice, but will likely open their books this year – both are finalizing their regulations. Rhode Island and New York also have sports betting laws in effect, but neither are active as of now.
These states are just the beginning. Gaming industry experts predict that 32 states will have legal sports betting by 2023.
Most states already have Buffalo Wild Wings.