PlayUp Still Plans To Offer US iGaming

PlayUp Plans To Offer iGaming In 4 States, 2 Of Which Haven’t Yet Legalized It

PlayUp is taking its time entering the US iGaming market. However, the online gambling operator may not need to hurry. Two of the four states for which it’s got market access agreements don’t yet offer legal online casino marketplaces.

If it feels like it’s been a year since the Sydney-based online betting platform provider declared its intentions to enter the US online casino market, that’s because it has been that long.

Back in June 2021, PlayUp announced then that it partnered with Las Vegas-headquartered Caesars Corporation for that iGaming market access.

PlayUp hasn’t yet launched any of those online casinos, but it still plans to do so.

In a March 24 announcement about gaining market access in Indiana, PlayUp said it was “reaffirming its bullish view on the US iGaming sector.”

PlayUp lawsuit may be the holdup

The delay in entering the US iGaming space may, in part, be due to an ongoing lawsuit. On Nov. 30, 2021, the company sued former PlayUp USA CEO Laila Mintas for alleged breach of contract.

The lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Nevada contends that Mintas scuttled a $450 million sale of some PlayUp assets to Nassau-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX Limited. FTX wanted the assets in order to enter US online sports betting, reported Online Poker Report’s sister publication Legal Sports Report.

PlayUp alleges that Mintas threatened to damage PlayUp’s reputation in retaliation for not getting what she wanted during her November contract renewal negotiations.

Mintas is countersuing, mainly alleging defamation. On March 30, she asked the court to stop PlayUp from subpoenaing her previous employment records from Minneapolis-based Sportradar US. In that filing, Mintas cites a January court opinion – denying PlayUp a preliminary injunction against her – that says Mintas is “more likely” being “turned into the scapegoat” for the failed FTX acquisition.

PlayUp vs. Mintas continues, with the most recent docket items added on Thursday.

On Jan. 20, PlayUp announced FTX invested $35 million in the company during Q4 2021:

“This financing round will be used primarily to accelerate PlayUp’s US market access.”

PlayUp’s online casino plans continue

In December 2021, PlayUp appointed Dennis Drazin as its chairman of PlayUp USA.

On March 24, 2022, the company announced it had a market access deal with Caesars for iGaming in Indiana.

However, online casino and poker play aren’t yet legal in the Hoosier State, or in Iowa. (Earlier, PlayUp gained iGaming market access in the Hawkeye State through Caesars, too.)

Meanwhile, Indiana and Iowa legislators continue to talk about legalizing iGaming. Lawmakers in the Hoosier State introduced online casino legislation this year, which died in committee in January. The same happened in Iowa during February.

Although in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, PlayUp’s deal with Caesars means the operator can launch online casinos now. That’s pending regulator approval, of course.

PlayUp’s March announcement said:

“Global CEO Daniel Simic said part of PlayUp’s long-term strategy is to have a robust ‘one platform’ experience and product offering for sports betting, horse racing, iGaming, Daily Fantasy Sports and more.”

2 PlayUp Sportsbooks are live

Last year, PlayUp launched two online sportsbooks.

Its Colorado book went live in March 2021 and the New Jersey one did so in October 2021. PlayUp’s Colorado retail casino partner is Bull Durham Casino in Blackhawk. In New Jersey, the PlayUp Sportsbook runs through Freehold Raceway.

PlayUp says its arrangement with Caesars includes online sportsbook market access in Indiana and Iowa. Online sports betting is legal in both states.

- Heather Fletcher is the lead writer with OnlinePokerReport. She's a career journalist, with bylines in The New York Times, Adweek and other publications. Reach her at [email protected]
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