A year-long partnership between the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and PlayUp — an Australian-owned, online sports betting, entertainment and technology group — last week brought a 1,200-square-foot Playup Sports Lounge to the main concourse at the team’s Prudential Center home.
A ribbon-cutting took place on Friday, when the Devils kicked off their regular season with a 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks. A five-game homestand to open the season concludes with contests in Newark on Thursday, Saturday, and Tuesday.
In January, the partners announced a multi-year agreement that made PlayUp “the presenting partner” of the Devils’ newly redesigned PlayUp Studio, the Season Preview Show, and the Pre-Game Live Show prior to all Devils home games. PlayUp also has a “TV-visible” dasherboard, a corner in-ice logo, and virtual signage within the arena.
The Devils are PlayUp’s first professional sports team partner in the U.S., and New Jersey is the second state — following Colorado — where PlayUp offers mobile sports betting. It is one of almost two dozen such sites in the Garden State.
“Engaging New Jersey sports fans is extremely important for us,” said PlayUp US CEO Dr. Laila Mintas in a statement.
“This is a huge milestone for our business. New Jersey doesn’t just represent the largest market in terms of revenue for any operator, but it also is an indicator showing the market — both consumers and investors — that we have cleared the most stringent regulatory standards in the world. We have aggressive growth plans for our jurisdictional footprint in 2022 and going into other states, with New Jersey approval in our back pocket as a positive sign for other regulators.”
Devils/Prudential Center executive Adam Cross said that the past off-season produced “record digital and social engagement by Devils fans,” adding that “we were thrilled to find a partner whose marketing efforts were driven by engagement that amplified the fan experience. We look forward to continuing our league-leading digital consumption by bringing innovative and high-quality hockey-centric sports betting content to fans this season.”
Devils, PlayUp continue to expand in gaming space
The Devils were an NHL pioneer in developing gaming partnerships following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2018 striking down a 26-year-old law that had effectively granted Nevada a national monopoly on sports betting.
William Hill, FanDuel, and Caesars Entertainment all came aboard with the Devils during the 2018-19 season. In fact, the new PlayUp Lounge replaces the William Hill-branded location that opened 2 1/2 years ago.
Mintas said PlayUp is seeking regulatory approval for an online casino product that would be similar to those of the state’s largest mobile sports betting operators, who have found success attracting sports bettors to online casino as well.
“We are looking for more local partnerships in every market we enter — our goal is to enter every market that allows online sports betting and/or iGaming, as we are an online-only brand,” Mintas told NJ Online Gambling.
Iowa and Indiana appear to be the next states targeted by PlayUp for regulatory approval, but Mintas said “we have a long list” of other possibilities.
High-end customers are targeted
Mintas also explained how PlayUp expects to gain traction in a market like New Jersey, with so many competitors for market share.
“We go for a different audience than the other brands in the market,” Mintas said. “We target the mid-to-high-end customers. We do that by offering the best odds in the market.
“If you bet higher amounts, you look for the best pricing, and you will find PlayUp on the top rank. That’s true for Colorado and New Jersey. Most of the other sportsbooks have the same pricing, and they exclude customers that want to bet high amounts.
“That’s a great opportunity for us to get those customers on board, and we see great traction already even though we just launched. We had a customer that wanted to deposit 1 million dollars. We obviously also accept customers that want to bet one time a year, $5 at the Super Bowl, but that’s not our target audience.”
PlayUp’s interest in fixed-odds horse racing — which Monmouth Park intends to offer at its racetrack next year — is evident from its placement of that track’s operator, Dennis Drazin, on its company board.
PlayUp globally offers fixed odds on sports betting and on horse racing and greyhound racing as well as betting on eSports and daily fantasy sports. The company also operates in Australia, New Zealand, and India.
PlayUp and GeoComply also have deal
On Wednesday, GeoComply — a company that verifies the near-exact location of would-be sports bettors to determine if they are customers seeking to bet legitimately in a particular state — announced a deal with PlayUp for additional verifications.
The state Department of Gaming Enforcement requires data verification and a secondary form of authentication — whether knowledge-based authentication or digital identity authentication — in order to validate an account. “IDComply” supports both of these secondary forms of authentication.
“As a technology-first company, we wanted to ensure our regulatory approval in New Jersey included the latest offerings from our tech partners,” and leveraging GeoComply’s IDComply product was central to that process, Mintas said.
“With some of the most stringent requirements and rigorous testing of any state, achieving this milestone in New Jersey has positioned PlayUp for continued success as we expand into additional U.S. states.”
Said Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming for GeoComply: “The DGE really sets the standard for compliance in the U.S., so getting IDComply licensed in New Jersey is a real achievement for our company.”
Photo provided by PlayUp