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DraftKings delays UK launch

Daily fantasy sports gaming operator DraftKings has been forced to delay the launch of its UK service.

DraftKings earlier this year secured a license to operate in the UK and in August announced plans to open an office in London, England. The operator’s chief international operator Jeffrey Haas remains confident that the service will be up and running early next year and claims that only minor problems have prevented its launch, which had been scheduled for this month.

“We have been testing our product with focus groups, and the response has been positive,” Haas told the Boston Globe newspaper. “But we think we can do better and need to make some improvements before we go to a full launch. Once these minor issues are resolved, we will be ready to launch. There is nothing else standing in our way.”

DraftKings last month entered into a partnership with UK-headquartered sports data provider Opta, which has agreed to supply the operator with statistical data for use in its English Premier League, Uefa Champions League and Major League Soccer games.

Although DraftKings did not give an explicit reason for the delay, the company has been involved in ongoing legal disputes in the US. DraftKings, along with rival operator FanDuel, has come under fire from lawmakers in its homeland who have questioned the integrity of the service it provides. Some feel that DFS is a form of sports betting, which is illegal in all but the four states of Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sought to ban both DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state. His request for the closing down of the operators in New York was last week granted by a state judge. The order has however been put on hold by a higher court.

DraftKings is the exclusive DFS partner of Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, stock-car racing series Nascar and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It has plans to further develop its service next year, with Haas leading expansion plans that include additional offices in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. FanDuel is also in the process of applying for the same UK license secured by DraftKings.