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GNOG founder Winter exits DraftKings role

| By Robert Fletcher
Thomas Winter is stepping down from his role at DraftKings 18 months after it acquired the Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG) business he founded.
GNOG Thomas Winter DraftKings

Winter was appointed general manager for igaming in North America at DraftKings following its acquisition of GNOG in May 2022. He previously led GNOG as president after launching the business in September 2013.

Before his time with GNOG, Winter was CEO and director of Betclic and Expekt within the Betclic Group. He also had spells with French online sports publishing business Media365 and global luxury group Kering.

Writing in a LinkedIn post, Winter says he will now be leaving the business. He is now listed as being on sabbatical.

“Ten years after founding GNOG, three years after taking it public and two years after its acquisition by the almighty DraftKings, time has come for me to close this extraordinary chapter of my life and open a new one, this time focused on the latter part of work-life balance,” Winter said.

“Although I’ll miss the action, I can’t wait to see what the amazing DK/GNOG casino team will deliver to stay atop the US igaming world for years to come.”

DraftKings’ journey to acquire GNOG

While DraftKings closed its acquisition of GNOG last summer, the initial deal was agreed in August 2021.

DraftKings agreed to pay 0.365 newly issued shares for each common share of GNOG. This meant the entire value of the deal stood at $1.56bn (£1.28bn/€1.48bn).

GNOG was spun-off from Golden Nugget’s land-based business in June 2020. This took place through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger. At the time, the deal valued GNOG at approximately $745m.

The GNOG business, which operated as the online division of Golden Nugget, had already established itself as among the market leaders in several states prior to being acquired by DraftKings.

Now operating as part of DraftKings, the combined business remains among the front-runners in many key markets.

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