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BlueBet’s First US Facing Online Sportsbook Now Live In Iowa

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Australian bookmaker BlueBet has launched their first US facing online sportsbook in Iowa.
  • BlueBet will operate in the US under the B2C brand name ‘ClutchBet’. They also have market access in Louisiana, Colorado, and Indiana.
  • BlueBet has opened a US office in Denver and plans to offer a white label platform to third parties as a SAAS solution.

Australian bookmaker BlueBet has *finally* been able to launch their online sports betting platform in a US market. They will operate in the US under the brand name ‘ClutchBet’. On August 29, they announced that they had received licensing in Iowa and a launch would be forthcoming. ClutchBet’s launch in Iowa is in partnership with the Q Casino and its owner, the Dubuque Racing Association. The sports bar at the Q Casino will be rebranded as a ClutchBet Lounge in the coming weeks.

BlueBet now has market access in three other US states and I bet you can guess which ones they are: Colorado, Indiana, and Louisiana. They’ve also made a smart move by opening an office in the Denver area–probably the only place in North America other than Toronto where I’d consider setting up shop. Not sure why they decided to go with a different brand name in the US. The BlueBet brand is well known in Australia with similar branding in professional sports stadiums as you see here in the US. Here’s the press release they dropped when the brand name was announced earlier this year:

BlueBet is also planning to launch a ‘B2B white labeled ‘sportsbook as a solution’ offering as a secondary phase of entering the US market as well as expanding the ClutchBet brand. After Iowa, they’re looking at Colorado and Louisiana in Q2 of fiscal year 2023 and Indiana in the second half of the 2023 fiscal year. Note that the BlueBet fiscal year is different from the calendar year–they’re currently in Q4 of the 2022 fiscal year which means Colorado and Louisiana could launch later this year with Indiana coming in early calendar year 2023.

BlueBet’s experience underscores everything wrong about the US sports betting regulatory environment. They’re a successful and experienced company that should be welcome in any jurisdiction in the world. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions the regulatory framework in the US states is designed specifically to a) protect the status quo b) protect ‘legacy’ gaming businesses, no matter how incompetent and c) enrich political cronies and financial benefactors. Creating an environment that fosters innovation, competition and economic development is not in the cards in most states.

Even the states that have done what is on balance a good job have some type of ‘tethering’ requirement whereby sportsbooks are required to ‘partner’ with retail gaming outfits for ‘market access’–meaning that 15% to 20% of revenues go out the window with little to show for it. This is akin to making Starbucks ‘partner’ with Waffle House or Dunkin’ Donuts when they enter a new market. Big surprise that the United States is down to #25 in the World Index of Economic Freedom and dropping like a stone year after year.

Glad to see that things are looking up for BlueBet relative to their US expansion. We’d like to welcome them to the US and wish them the best. The United States isn’t entirely a xenophobic, cronyist, corrupt hellhole–just most of it.

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