Analysis

Play Up raises cash for betting push

An Australian fantasy sports and sports-betting start-up has raised $25m from investors to fund launches into the ultra-competitive New Jersey and Colorado market.

Play-Up announced the over-subscribed fund-raise this week.

The company is the number-one DFS provider in Australia with over 300,000 players. It says it has achieved revenues of over $193m annually.

The company has hired industry veteran Laila Mintas as CEO of the US operations. Mintas was previously Deputy President of globally renowned Sportradar.

CEO Daniel Simic said the money raise demonstrated the “enormous potential” of Play Up’s US ambitions.

New entrants boost the gaming friendliness of each state by making it more competitive, even though incrementally.

Accordingly, as a new entrant adding Play Up to both New Jersey and Colorado will add a point to each tally.

Tough competition

“This raise allows us to build on an already established footprint,” Simic added.

“We have made great progress in the US,” added Mintas. “The market is being legalized state-by-state and PlayUp will be one of the first movers.”

There can be no doubting the size of the task ahead of the Play Up team suggests Chris Miller, partner at consultancy group ic3.

“Play Up has raised money and now we will have to wait and see how they put it to use,” he said.

“Both New Jersey and Colorado are competitive in the extreme,” he added. “The amounts of money that are now being expended in these markets to entice customers is only going to increase.”

“That makes it tough for any new entrant. But I’m sure Play Up has some interesting plans.”

Mo’ money, mo’ problems

There can be no doubt that the $25m will soon be spent.

All the major competitors have raised extra money this year. That includes DraftKings which recently raised an extra $1bn from a share sale.

BetMGM’s joint owners GVC and MGM Resorts International also committed to a further $250m investment in the summer.

“The money that has been raised in recent months by various big names shows just much will be spent in the various states,” says Miller. “It’s immense and very exciting.”

Play Up already has licenses in Colorado and New Jersey.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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