Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko said Thursday that DraftKings is the first operator of daily fantasy sports contests to receive its license in the state.
"They can turn the lights on right away" if they so choose, Ohorilko told Des Moines Register, noting that at times such final tests and checks on mobile technology can often be done in 24- or 36-hour windows.
Representatives from DraftKings would not immediately comment on a timetable for launch, but common sense would suggest it is in the company's best interest to enter the market as soon as possible as the state's first approved provider. If the technology isn't available for this weekend, it would be a significant surprise if the wait extends much longer.
"We are happy to confirm we have received our license to offer daily fantasy sports in Iowa after working collaboratively with the IRGC on this process and look forward to sports fans in the Hawkeye State experiencing our industry-leading fantasy products soon," said Timothy Dent, DraftKings' chief financial and compliance officer.
For weeks, the state commission has been in conversations with DraftKings and FanDuel, the U.S.' two primary providers of daily fantasy sports contests, about starting legalized games. Sports wagering has been legal in Iowa since mid-August, but the daily companies had not joined the multimillion-dollar fray because of some disagreements with the state's rules.
The differences revolved around specific technological requirements that have stopped the operators from meeting Iowa's compliance standards, which apply to all forms of mobile betting in Iowa.
One of them, called change control, is designed to ensure that all the technology is secure and working. On that front, the operators contended that unlike some forms of sports gambling, where betting lines and other wagering figures can shift even during games, daily fantasy contests are more static by nature.
Often, the contests stem from users drafting their own roster of participants under predetermined conditions. They involve short-term periods of performance and scoring. No matter the activity, once it's game time, participants watch the results unfold.
Ohroilko said the commission and FanDuel continue to have ongoing discussions about licensing of their technology
"There is some relief. The commission staff and the daily fantasy companies were frustrated, and nobody wanted that at all," Ohorilko said. "I think going into this … both sides didn’t understand enough about what the respective companies do."
But there's a mutual understanding now. And although half of the current NFL season is in the books, it's a case of better late than never for Iowa bettors.