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Exchange Betting Platform Sporttrade Gains Market Access In Colorado

James Murphy
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  • Philadelphia based sports betting exchange platform Sporttrade has announced that they’ll be launching in Colorado in early 2022.
  • Sporttrade is planning to launch in New Jersey by the end of the year which will represent the first sports betting exchange regulated by a US state.
  • Sporttrade’s investors are primarily from the finance industry and include Nasdaq Ventures and NBC Comcast.

Colorado’s sports betting ecosystem continues to surpass even my most optimistic projections. On balance, there’s not a better state in the US for a betting enthusiast. As of this writing, the Colorado Division of Gaming website lists 22 individual companies actively offering mobile sports betting. Two more are poised to enter the market and listed as ‘Coming Soon’ (Barstool Sportsbook and 888 Sports). Several more should be launching by the end of the year including Betsson, Tipico, Bet365 and the forthcoming FuboTV branded sportsbook. There’s also two tribal casinos in the state, one of which currently offers a mobile sports betting app and the other in the process of launching one. All told by the end of the year there will likely be more than 30 companies offering mobile sports betting to Colorado residents and visitors. There’s also 17 retail sportsbooks in the mountain casino towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

You can also add what will be the state’s first sports betting exchange to the ‘coming soon’ list. Last week, Philadelphia based exchange wagering platform Sporttrade announced that they had acquired Denver, Colorado based Momentum Sports and Entertainment. In the process, they obtained a Sports Betting Operator License which in partnership with Central City based Easy Street Casino gives them Colorado market access. Sporttrade is set to launch in New Jersey by the end of the year–that will be the first state regulated sports betting exchange in the United States.

Sporttrade was founded in 2018 and in early July announced that they had landed another $36 million USD in investment capital from an interesting and eclectic group of financial backers:

The coalition of investors from both the financial and gaming industries include lead investor Jump Capital, Impression Ventures, Hudson River Trading, Tower Research Ventures, Jim Murren, former CEO of MGM Resorts International and Tom Wittman, former CEO of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. In addition, Sporttrade issued convertible debt to Nasdaq Ventures in connection with the transaction. Funding will be put towards customer acquisition, expansion into additional states, and continued investment in a diverse, talented team.

At the time of the $36 million USD raise, Sporttrade CEO Alex Kane gave this interesting take:

“Nasdaq has the same vision we do. They think sports betting looks like the stock market in the 1950s with huge room for improvement.”

He’s right, of course, but you don’t hear enough people articulate the fact. An article on the sports business news website Sportico described Sporttrade as something of a ‘Robinhood-Meets-DraftKings’ mashup. I’d probably go with a ‘Coinbase-Meets-DraftKings’ hybrid as in terms of US sports betting the transformational potential of exchange based wagering has more in common with a new paradigm like cryptocurrency than it does with more conventional equity markets.

Here’s Sporttrade CEO Kane’s quote about the Colorado market from the press release announcing the market access deal:

“We are pleased to announce launch plans in Colorado, a state that has been an early believer in the growth and potential of legalized sports betting with thriving fan bases across multiple professional and college sports teams. Our team looks forward to expanding our presence across the U.S., while continuing to refine our sports betting exchange to provide Sporttrade’s passionate user base with a secure, transparent and technologically advanced platform from which to wager.”

I’m sure most of the savvy types that predominate among the SportsInsider readership know all about exchange based wagering but just in case here’s the 411 from the Sporttrade press release:

Founded in 2018, Sporttrade was built to elevate the sports betting industry by utilizing proven exchange technology and processes to enhance and democratize the traditional betting experience. Sporttrade’s open betting marketplace allows participants to trade sporting events the same way they trade stocks, with tighter spreads, more liquidity, and unique features like “always on” in-play trading, and the ability to trade in and out of bets at any time.

One gripe with Sporttrade–from what I can gather they plan to launch with an Apple iOS app only. They need to take some of their $36 million in new investment capital and do an Android port ASAP if they want to attract the serious sports bettors, investment enthusiasts and tech geeks that will provide the initial interest in their product. Trust me on this, guys….

The company that Sporttrade purchased–Momentum Sports and Entertainment–was awarded a Sports Betting Operator License and an Internet Sports Betting Operator License at the August 27, 2020 meeting of the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission. They had planned to launch a sportsbook called ‘The Colorado Betting Company’ but their website never really got past this ‘coming soon’ graphic:

This is probably a good outcome for everyone–Momentum Sports and Entertainment pockets some money, Sporttrade gets Colorado access and the state of Colorado gets an innovative betting product. Dan Kelliher, Founder of Momentum Sports, also got a quote in the press release:

“Momentum Sports was founded to generate community-focused economic growth. With Sporttrade’s unique sports betting model, they are the only sports betting platform that provides a true capital market experience to their customers and we are proud to transition our gaming license to Sporttrade to serve Colorado’s growing sports betting community and to continue to evolve the industry.” 

So too did Roger Brown, General Manager & Director of Gaming Operations at GF Gaming aka the parent company of Easy Street Casino:

“Easy Street Casino is thrilled to partner with the Sporttrade team as they make their way into the growing Colorado sports betting market. Together, we will pave the way for eager sports fans in Colorado to participate in a new and exciting way to wager online,” .

Another in a long line of exciting developments in Colorado sports betting. The only concern I have is the need to educate the ‘recreational’ betting market about exchange based wagering but I’m sure they’re aware of this. They shouldn’t have any trouble attracting a market of ‘sharps’ as well as bettors with a background in finance. Kudos to Colorado gaming regulators for having the foresight to provide for exchange wagering when they were drafting the initial rules for sports betting in the state.

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