The last-minute holiday scramble for gifts for sports fans can be hectic. The Game On gift card has positioned itself as one option. Blackhawk Network, the company that sells Game On sports betting gift cards, saw an opportunity to latch itself to the rapidly growing sports betting industry.
Game On cards are gift cards for participating sportsbook brands. While DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, BetRivers, Parx Casino, and Hard Rock Casino are the only partners now, more sportsbooks will likely be included in these cards in the months ahead. With plans for rapid expansion plans, these gift cards will become increasingly available for the 2022 holiday season.
Gaming Today spoke with Blackhawk Network’s Head of Lottery and Sports Betting, Richard Gotlieb, to understand who these cards were for and what bettors can expect from Game On going forward.
Why Sports Bettors Wanted A Gift Card
The Game On card addresses three concerns bettors had when sports betting became legal. In a survey that Blackhawk Network conducted, 89% of bettors had at least one of these concerns about funding sportsbook accounts:
- ~66% had concerns about security.
- 57% wanted a cash deposit option.
- 39% wanted a more private deposit method.
Gotlieb notes “gifting is roughly a $650 billion a year opportunity.” So, the Game On card alleviated bettor concerns and hitched the gift card company to sports betting’s growth. These two trends have helped Game On grow quickly.
“Game On sales on an average weekly store basis — so same-store sales — have grown 90% [as of] two weeks ago,” Gotlieb said.
What About Other Sports Betting Gift Cards?
Game On is one of several cards bettors can use for making deposits, so bettors shouldn’t confuse it with other types of cards on the market. For example, DraftKings offers its own gift card can be used to deposit at DraftKings only. The Game On card’s versatility means a big advantage for gift shoppers.
“If you’re buying it for your brother who you know is a big sports fan, you might know that he’s a sports bettor, but you don’t know which sportsbook he bets with,” Gotlieb said.
The Game On card can be used at any participating sportsbook, while the DraftKings gift card can only be used at DraftKings. Shoppers and bettors should keep that in mind if they look for gift cards.
There are other cards besides gift cards in the sports betting industry, too. The Play+ Card and the Play Card are good examples. The Play+ Card is a Discover card that can be used to make gambling deposits and withdrawals. The Play Card is a new card that hit the market in July 2021. It’s a MasterCard that bettors can pre-load and use to make online gambling deposits and withdrawals. Both cards can be used for non-gambling transactions wherever Discover or MasterCard is accepted.
The Play+ and Play Cards give bettors convenient debit card deposit options, which are great for bettors whose banks’ cards won’t allow online gambling deposits. In contrast, the Game On card is a one-time deposit method. It’s designed to be a gift, while Play+ and Play Cards are viable long-term card options.
The Future Of Game On Cards
Blackhawk Network is planning to expand on Game On’s early successes. The first plan includes Game On’s retail selling in new states.
“We started in two states: New Jersey and Pennsylvania in late 2020,” Gotlieb said. “We’ve launched another two in Colorado and Indiana, so we’re now in four states. By May , we’ll be in five. And towards the end in October, we’ll be [in] between 13 and 17 states.”
Blackhawk Network is developing a new cash withdrawal method, too. Gotlieb admits Blackhawk Network deployed the Game On card without fully “understanding how clunky it was to get money out [of sportsbooks.]” So, it’s unsurprising to see Blackhawk Network pouncing on a newly discovered opportunity in withdrawals. Gotlieb wouldn’t elaborate on that new withdrawal solution. However, bettors can watch for this new withdrawal method “at the end of 22.”
Blackhawk Network has developed a deposit method that makes a great gift. After all, gifting forms the core of Blackhawk Network’s products. However, as the sports betting industry grows, Blackhawk Network’s interest in that segment may grow as well.
“Our view is the more ways that you offer a player to get money in and get money out, that just makes people feel better about the category overall and that drives the category for everyone,” Gotlieb said.