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Dish teams up with DraftKings for Boost Mobile partnership

Fantasy sports and sports betting are coming to Boost Mobile's wireless plans.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Wireless plans often come with perks: AT&T offers HBO Max. Verizon has a bevy of options including Disney Plus. T-Mobile offers Netflix. For its new addition, Dish-owned Boost Mobile isn't going with a traditional streaming video service; on Wednesday it announced a new deal with sports betting and fantasy sports provider DraftKings.

As part of the deal, Boost Mobile customers will be able to sign up for contests on the DraftKings platform, described as exclusive. With the NBA Playoffs underway, an early promotion exclusive for Boost Mobile users will let them play in an NBA Finals contest to guess the total number of points scored over the course of the series for a chance to win $100,000 (with the pot shared among the winners in the event of a tie). The contest opens on June 11, with entries due by the start of the Finals on July 8. 

In states where DraftKings' sports betting is legalized, the wireless provider will be offering a free $50 Sportsbook bet to new users with a deposit of $5 and placement of their first bet. The carrier is also offering new DraftKings daily fantasy sports players a free $3 "ticket" to a DraftKings contest when they deposit $5 and enter a paid contest. 

Both of these promotions will require a promo code that will be available in its stores. In states like New Jersey where DraftKings offers a Sportsbook and daily fantasy app, only the promotion for the Sportsbook will be available. 

"We try to go where the big carriers are too conservative to go," Stephen Stokols, executive vice president of Boost Mobile, tells CNET. "I don't think you'll see Verizon doing something in a betting space," and suggests that his company's wireless rival may be beholden to a "corporate sort of, like, political correctness." 

He adds that his company is thinking of incorporating additional ways to get Boost Mobile users DraftKings credit, such as offering bonuses for doing tasks like paying a wireless bill on time or referring a friend to switch to the carrier. 

"We're trying to make the wireless experience a little more fun," Stokols says. "It's called sports entertainment ... we're trying to make it more entertaining, kind of really give an extension of the wireless service into that space."

Although there is a commercial deal between the two companies, Stokols says that Boost will not be getting a cut of what its customers spend on DraftKings. 

Beyond the exclusive contests and site credits, Boost Mobile will also be turning "many thousands" of its branded stores across the country into locations where DraftKings users -- regardless of if they also have the carrier's service-- can deposit cash in person as opposed to having to transfer funds into the app electronically through a debit or credit card. 

While DraftKings players won't be able to cash out winnings at Boost stores today, Stokols says that adding that feature is "on the road map." 

The move is the latest as Dish continues to develop into a wireless provider after it acquired Boost Mobile and other wireless assets from T-Mobile as part of the T-Mobile/Sprint merger. Boost Mobile currently runs on T-Mobile's cellular network. Dish is expected to start turning on its own 5G offering later this year. 

Las Vegas will be the company's first city when it goes live in the third quarter of the year, with Stokols teasing that "multiple" additional cities will come online in the fourth quarter. He would not, however, say which cities those will be.