Hours before the first puck drops at the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, New Jersey-based PointsBet unveiled a game day promotion Wednesday aimed at attracting sharp bettors who are limited in certain cases from placing large wagers.
Under the initiative, PointsBet will honor minimum bet-to-win amounts of $10,000 for customers on game day wagers involving every MLB matchup, all NHL and NBA playoff contests and the entire NFL season. The company will guarantee this “to win” amount on all spreadline and moneyline bets starting at 10 am ET each game day.
Founded in Australia, PointsBet U.S. debuted in New Jersey in January following a soft launch in the Garden State last December.
“We saw this as an opportunity for us as a company,” PointsBet U.S. CEO Johnny Aitken said in an interview. “Here in the U.S. we wanted to raise our awareness and prove that we’re a capable operator, that we have our own traders and risk managers here in New Jersey trading American sports.”
Sharps already taking notice
Shortly after announcing the promotion, the company booked two MLB games on Wednesday for $10,000 each from a bettor that Aitken described as one of the “sharpest bettors in the country.” PointsBet took one $10,000 bet from the client on the Arizona Diamondbacks in Wednesday night’s matchup against the Texas Rangers. The client also backed the Brewers in an interleague matchup with the Angels.
As of 3 p.m. ET, PointsBet did not accept any large wagers on Wednesday night’s action in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Aitken added.
The promotion comes on the heels of a well-publicized squabble between Dave Portnoy and offshore sports betting website MyBookie.ag. during the Men’s Division I national championship in college basketball. Portnoy, the founder of sports and pop culture blog Barstool Sports, aired his complaints on social media after MyBookie did not accept his $250,000 wager on Texas Tech in Monday’s title game.
“It was really one of those happy coincidences,” said Rick Martira, senior vice president of digital marketing at PointsBet. “With that said, I think it’s the culmination of a rising tide within the industry. There is a lot of conversation about bettors being frustrated in their limitations, I think the Barstool piece was a crest of a recent wave.”
Since the Supreme Court’s historic decision on sports betting last May, there are indications across the industry that several legal operators have limited bettors from placing significant wagers on major events. While commercial operators in the U.S. must abide by strict regulatory standards in many cases, offshore books can capitalize on a competitive advantage when legal sportsbooks refuse action on popular contests, Aitken noted.
“As an industry it is troubling to me that the legalized frontier is going to be known for banning or limiting action, while the offshore continues to run rampant,” Aitken said.
PointsBet plans to extend the game day promotion until the end of the NFL Season in 2020.
Since PointsBet’s U.S. launch in January, the company has received high marks from professional bettors such as Bill Krackomberger and Captain Jack Andrews for its affinity to allow bettors to place wagers without establishing comparative low limits. Krackomberger has recently been featured on Action, Showtime’s four-part series on sports betting.
“Their prices are the best, and they take on winners without banning accounts or limiting wagers to win $1 or $10, like I’ve seen from other sports betting operators,” Krackomberger said.