- Australia’s PlayUp Sportsbook has obtained sports betting and iGaming market access in Iowa.
- Iowa is the third US state for PlayUp–they launched in Colorado in March 2021 and in New Jersey earlier this month.
- PlayUp also operates in Australia, New Zealand and India.
One of the more interesting entries into the US sports betting market is Australian based PlayUp. The company is still trying to build their brand in North America but is well known in their native market where they are leaders not only in sports betting but also horse racing and daily fantasy sports. Their US subsidiary is headed up by Dr. Laila Mintas who has extensive gaming experience and considered a rising star among industry executives. She previously worked with sports betting technology provider Bet.Works (acquired by Bally’s Corporation in November 2020), sports betting data provider Sportradar US and soccer organizing bodies CONCACAF and FIFA. In addition, Mintas has run her own consulting firm, practiced law and worked in academics. Articulate, poised and with strong comprehensive knowledge of the sports betting ecosystem she’s a perfect thought leader for the US market.
PlayUp currently operates in Australia, New Zealand and India and has launched in two US states–Colorado (March 2021) and New Jersey (October 2021). They’re about to add a third as part of a market access agreement with Caesars Entertainment. PlayUp is currently in the licensing process for Iowa which will make them the 19th company offering mobile and/or retail sports betting in the state. More recently, they’ve signed a deal with Wild Rose Entertainment for iGaming in Iowa which is ‘pending legislative and regulatory approval’. They are also in the process of launching iGaming in New Jersey as part of the aforementioned deal with Caesars.
Here’s what PlayUp USA CEO Mintas said about the potential of iGaming in Iowa and how it fits into her companies diversified portfolio:
“At our core we are a daily fantasy sports operator. We are proud of these roots and that we are Australia’s number one DFS operator and offer some of the world’s largest DFS prizes. We also view a diverse product portfolio as key to our long term growth and stability. iGaming is central in that diversification and we are aggressively getting market access in all states that are offering it, or will be offering it in the future.”
Tom Timmons, President and COO of Wild Rose Entertainment, is happy to be partnering with PlayUp:
“The gaming market and consumer demands are always changing. We are proud to have a great partner like PlayUp in our corner to maximize our potential with iGaming should it come to Iowa.”
Wild Rose Entertainment owns three casinos located in Clinton, Emmetsburg and Jefferson. Their properties offer retail sports betting in partnership with DraftKings and they’ve also signed mobile sports betting deals with DraftKings, BetRivers and Circa Sports.
Here’s another interesting blurb from the press release announcing the PlayUp/Wild Rose partnership:
She said the company will take an active role in helping to shape the regulations and provide input to state legislators and regulators if the opportunity presents itself.
For the longterm good of the US sports betting ecosystem this is something that *every* company should be making a priority. The fact that there are so few US states where the sports betting regulatory framework isn’t a complete disaster makes that obvious. One problem is the arrogance and hubris of state governments and the politicians within it. Iowa made the smart decision to rely heavily on the knowledge of the sports betting industry as they set up the regulatory foundation for their state. Sadly, that makes them the exception rather than the rule. You’d think that states would value the expertise of people and companies who actually know what they’re doing as they implement sports betting but you’d be wrong. Until the environment is transformed significantly the US will continue to have a handful of states that offer sports bettors a vibrant and competitive marketplace while the rest of the company remains in the ‘dark ages’.
Next up for PlayUp will likely be sports betting in Indiana where they have already gained market access via the partnership with Caesars. One place they won’t be launching anytime soon is Arizona where the only sportsbooks that get market access are a) juiced in politically or in a partnership with a politically powerful entity (eg: pro sports team, tribal gaming property or b) a financial benefactor of the governor or partnered with one. They applied for licensing in Arizona but were rejected along with two other Australian based books (PointsBet and BlueBet).