DraftKings’ in-house game development team is on a roll. On Monday, the company announced the launch of the latest title developed by its in-house team.
DK Craps is exactly what it sounds like: a digital craps game featuring custom graphics and DraftKings branding. This is bigger news than it sounds like, because it fills a void in the US at the moment. As ubiquitous as craps tables are at brick-and-mortar casinos, online casino implementations are hard to find, especially in the legal market.
Such custom games are a big part of DraftKings’ strategy in the casino space. It has 33 of these deployed at the moment, with the focus very much on table games, particularly blackjack. At the moment, the breakdown is as follows:
16 blackjack titles
5 roulette titles
3 baccarat titles
3 miscellaneous games (keno, war, and now craps)
In its press release, DraftKings claims to have developed a total of 50 such games using its in-house team and technology. A DraftKings representative clarified to Online Poker Report that the discrepancy is due to limited time games like this spring’s March Mania Roulette, seasonal products like Christmas Blackjack, and regionally specific ones like Pistons Blackjack in Michigan.
DraftKings President of iGaming, Jason March, commented on the launch:
“As the most realistic craps game on the market, we are excited to offer a premier online experience within our top-rated Casino product,” said Jason March, DraftKings Vice President, iGaming. “Craps was a challenging game to develop given the seemingly endless paths players can take, so I could not be prouder of our internal teams taking on this game development to deliver an authentic experience.”
The new game is already live in New Jersey. DraftKings Casino will roll the game out in other legal online casino states (PA, WV and MI) once it receives regulatory approval.
DK Craps isn’t quite the only option for online craps. Only four of nearly 30 online casinos in NJ have it, though. According to PlayNJ’s online craps explainer, these are:
All four of those are unique to New Jersey. Moreover, all three are available only for in-browser play, not in those brands’ mobile casino apps.
Big, multi-state DraftKings competitors like BetRivers, FanDuel and BetMGM Casino do not offer craps at this time.
Therefore, once it launches, DK Craps will be the first such product available in Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia. To the best of our knowledge, it is also the first legal, real money craps product for mobile devices anywhere in the US.
Update: DraftKings has confirmed that although other craps products can be played on mobile using the browser, theirs is the first legal in-app real money craps product in the US.
At first glance, it seems strange that so few online casinos offer craps. The crowd of gamblers huddled around a craps table, cheering on the shooter is among the most iconic images associated with casinos in the public imagination.
There are three basic reasons few online casinos have implemented it:
The fun of craps stems in part from the energy of the crowd; compared to blackjack and roulette, it doesn’t hold up as well as a solitary activity
The player can’t walk away after any given roll, but must wait for a 7 or the point number to resolve their pass line bet
The betting options are numerous, and complicated; in a casino, new players rely on others at the table to show them the ropes
There’s nothing to be done about the first two, at least for a purely digital implementation. The launch of a live dealer craps option would help directly with the social aspect. It would help the second indirectly, since the pace of live dealer play is already more leisurely than most online games, so players’ expectations are different.
DraftKings has focused mostly on that last point in developing DK Craps, adding a tutorial, contextual help, and the ability to place combo bets like you would in a casino.
All online casino games have explanations of the rules available. However, these tend to be dry and not particularly easy to read, since they’re there mostly for regulatory reasons. DK Craps, on the other hand, pops up a basic tutorial on launch, with a button offering an advanced tutorial to explain the various side bets and betting combos.
In case the user forgets what they learned in the tutorial, a prominent ? button allows the player to get contextual help for any bet listed on the felt. This explains what rolls would cause such a bet to win or lose.
None of these give the exact payouts. However, the full pay table is available, just hidden away under the Options menu.
DK Craps also implements several options to help players place their bets efficiently. Players can choose whether they want their winning bets to be returned in full, or if they should be credited only their winnings, leaving the initial stake in play. Not only that, but they can set this option on a case-by-case basis for different types of bets, namely:
Pass Line/Don’t Pass
Place & Buy
Don’t Place & Lay
Finally, there are a few options for combination bets. These allow the player to execute a few common craps strategies with a single click:
Inside (5, 6, 8, 9)
Outside (4, 5, 9, 10)
Across (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10)
World (single-roll prop bet on 2, 3, 7, 11 and 12)
These also automatically choose the best odds for the player out of Place or Buy.