DraftKings has bought Tel Aviv-based BlueRibbon Software, a company with expertise in creating jackpot promotions and gamification. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Micro and macro goals
Daily fantasy sports and sports betting leader DraftKings has announced that it acquired BlueRibbon Software, a jackpot and “gamification” marketing company. DraftKings intends to use BlueRibbon’s tools both on a wide scale, creating jackpots that span multiple products, and on the individual customer level, creating promotions for each player.
Paul Liberman, DraftKings co-founder and president of global technology and product, said in Monday’s news release that bringing BlueRibbon’s technology onboard will “enable DraftKings to create dynamic incentives for our users as they engage with our products.”
BlueRibbon is a young company, founded in 2017 by Amir Askarov and Dan Fischer in Tel Aviv, Israel. Both previously worked at online gambling software developer Playtech before leaving to start their own firm.
we created BlueRibbon to give companies the ability to differentiate themselves”
Askarov, the CEO of BlueRibbon, said of the deal: “We created BlueRibbon to give companies the ability to differentiate themselves within the highly competitive sports betting and iGaming industries with unique and innovative marketing platform.”
Neither company has released terms of the purchase. DraftKings will bring BlueRibbon’s employees onboard and even plans to up its hiring at the Tel Aviv office.
Turning everything into a game
In online gambling, “jackpot” is fairly self-explanatory, but the term “gamification” might not be. It sounds like corporate-speak, like “synergies” and “interfacing,” but it has actually become an important concept for many B2C companies.
Gamification is applying game principles to non-gaming businesses or activities. In other words, it is turning something into a game. What this does is gives customers extra motivation to continue to use the product or service frequently, as the gamification gives them some sort of goal to achieve.
It is all designed to keep people playing.
Some online poker sites have incorporated gamification to encourage customers to keep playing. They might award points that fill a progress bar, leading to “leveling up” and rewards. They might award badges that players can display to show everyone what they have accomplished. And as we see all the time, poker rooms often have leader boards for weekly and/or special tournament events. It is all designed to keep people playing.
DraftKings already does have some gamification, such as daily missions and rewards on the DFS side, but the acquisition of BlueRibbon indicates that the company wants to improve that area and give players more motivation to participate.
DraftKings wheeling and dealing
DraftKings has made a flurry of deals already this year, including partnerships and other acquisitions. The most recent was the company’s purchase of sports betting content and broadcasting company Vegas Sports Information Network Inc. (VSiN), based out of Las Vegas.
Last weeks’ VSiN deal and today’s announcement regarding BlueRibbon point to a clear strategy at DraftKings, that of vertical expansion. By integrating the two companies that trade in businesses that complement its core sports betting and daily fantasy sports products while at the same time not actually being businesses that take bets, DraftKings is showing that it would prefer to control and further develop these types of verticals itself, rather than managing partnerships with different companies.
That said, DraftKings is still entering into new partnerships seemingly every other day, though they tend to be mostly on the marketing side. Most recently, DraftKings became an official gaming partner of the WWE and the exclusive sportsbook and daily fantasy partner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The company also expanded its partnership with ESPN into Canada and struck a deal to integrate its products into DISH Network’s service.