UPDATE 3-Draftkings shares fall as short-seller Hindenburg bets against firm

(adds Draftkings comment, details from Hindenburg’s report)

June 15 (Reuters) - Short-seller Hindenburg Research said on Tuesday it has taken a short position on Draftkings Inc , sending the online gaming firm’s shares down more than 7% in early trading.

"We think Draftkings has systematically skirted the law and taken elaborate steps to obfuscate its black market operations from the investing public," Hindenburg said. (

The sports betting operator is the latest target in Hindenburg’s recent string of attacks against companies that went public through mergers with blank-check firms, with EV maker Lordstown Motors and Nikola Corp also getting caught in the short-seller’s crosshairs.

“This report is written by someone who is short on Draftkings stock with an incentive to drive down the share price,” said Draftkings, the official betting operator of golf tour organizer PGA Tour and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Draftkings, which allows users to enter daily and weekly fantasy sports-related contests, faces varying regulations on online gambling across regions. In the United States, it has live betting operations in states including Colorado, Illinois and Indiana.

Its shares have more than doubled in value since the company went public in April last year in a three-way merger with its SPAC sponsor and a Bulgaria-based gaming technology firm SBTech.

Based on its analysis, Hindenburg said SBTech has a long and ongoing record of operating in black markets, exposing Draftkings to such dealings.

Draftkings said when it completed the merger with SBTech, it carried out a review of their business practices and was comfortable with the findings.

The boom in the SPAC market over the last year is seen to be deflating as these companies face increased regulatory scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Reporting by Nilanjana Basu and Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Devika Syamnath