Coronavirus won't stop DraftKings from going public: CEO Jason Robins

DraftKings is set to go public in the second quarter as part of a three-way merger deal.

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Sports betting firm DraftKings plans to proceed with its plans to go public despite the ongoing impact for the coronavirus outbreak, CEO Jason Robins said during an appearance on FOX Business Network on Thursday.

The deadly outbreak forced all major U.S. sports leagues to indefinitely suspend their seasons, erasing a key source of revenue for casino and sportsbooks on the eve of NCAA March Madness. Despite the unprecedented shutdown, Robins said DraftKings remains well-positioned to move forward.

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“On our end, I think the plans are the same,” Robins said. “We don’t have a big physical presence. Being a digital company, obviously not having sports reduces the amount of content we have. But the types our team is working on, the products we’re working on, nothing much has changed there.”

“Same story for us on the going-public side, where we’re proceeding with that as planned and really we’re trying to just continue with the same strategy and the same path we’ve been going down,” Robins added.

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DraftKings is set to go public as part of a three-way merger deal with Diamond Eagle Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company, and gaming platform SBTech. Once the merger is complete, DraftKings would begin trading as a public company.

Robins said he expects the deal to close in the second quarter of 2020.

“We just need to close that deal and nothing really has changed there for us,” he said.

All 465 of the United States’ commercial casinos have closed since the coronavirus outbreak began, according to data from the American Gaming Association. Brick-and-mortar locations were forced to close as U.S. sports came to a halt and local authorities enacted social distancing protocols.

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Robins acknowledged that DraftKings took a hit to revenue following the suspension of March Madness, which is considered the highest-volume sports betting event of the year. To make up for the financial setback, DraftKings turned to new offerings, running betting pools on offbeat topics such as HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and the weather.

“I think that’s a potential silver lining here is that we are introducing new people to new products,” Robins said. “We are getting people that maybe that wouldn’t have otherwise to come on to some of these pool products that we’re creating.”

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