Roe v Wade: DraftKings responds with $10,000 reimbursement initiative to support employees

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DraftKings has pledged to expand its employee benefits coverage after the US Supreme Court voted to overturn the constitutional right to have an abortion.

On Sunday, thousands of US citizens took to the streets in Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta and Austin to protest after the constitutional guarantee of a right to abortion was struck down for the first time since 1973.

Protests were also heard over the weekend at the UK’s biggest music festival – Glastonbury – where artists including Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen used their time on stage to criticise the five Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn the Roe v Wade ruling: Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Justice Neil Gorsuch and Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Indeed, LA rapper Kendrick Lamar – who closed the five-day festival with his headline set on Sunday night – concluded his performance with the words: “They judge you, they judged Christ, Godspeed for women’s rights.”

DraftKings also responded to the ruling over the weekend. The US sports betting operator has promised to reimburse travel expenses for US staff and their dependents up to $10,000 as part of an enhanced benefits plan.

The company said employees would now be covered for both medical and behaviour services where access is limited due to state legislative action. Each state must now decide whether to ban abortion. In Utah, the ban was already in effect as of Friday 24 June.

Services reimbursed by DraftKings will include abortion, gender affirmation and fertility treatment.

The company said on LinkedIn: “At DraftKings, the health and well-being of our employees and their families is our top priority.

“In response to the US Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v Wade, reversing the constitutional right to abortion, DraftKings is committed to supporting our employees and families in states which have already – or might in the future – ban abortion or other critical health and medical services.”

The company is also delivering an employee assistance programme at no extra cost, including business resource groups (BRGs) to provide office hours and an open discussion forum on the topic.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy: “I feel like I have to speak on this issue. To me, this is just pure insanity. We are going backwards in time.”

Elsewhere, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has gone viral in a video criticising the overturning of Roe v Wade. Portnoy is a controversial character and was the subject of several sexual misconduct allegations in February.

Penn National Gaming holds a 36% stake in Barstool Sports. Its US sportsbook strategy is being led by the Barstool Sportsbook brand and has used Portnoy’s public profile and social media following to acquire customers at relatively low costs.

Taking to Twitter, Portnoy called an “emergency press conference” on 24 June and spoke in a personal capacity during a video which has so far amassed more than 3.5 million views and 18,000 retweets.

He said: “I feel like I have to speak on this issue. To me, this is just pure insanity. We are going backwards in time. It makes no sense how anybody thinks it is their right to tell a woman what to do with her body.”

About the author

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Jake Evans

Jake Evans is an NCTJ-accredited journalist and editor who has covered the online gaming and sports betting industry since 2017. He is the managing editor of iGaming NEXT and has previously worked in both content and data for EGR, Stats Perform and Football Radar.

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