FTX Invests $35m in PlayUp in a Bid to Strengthen US Presence

PlayUp, an Australian sports betting company, has plans to expand its current presence in the US gaming market after a substantial investment from FTX.

Although FTX decided not to purchase PlayUp, the company decided to show their interest in another way. FTX made the decision to invest in PlayUp in order to strengthen the company’s presence and future growth in the United States. FTX announced that it plans to invest $35 million in PlayUp, which should go a long way to increasing the company’s presence in the United States market. The agreement took place in the final quarter of 2021.

The Australian-based company, PlayUp, is an online gaming operator. FTX is a cryptocurrency derivatives exchange that facilitates buying and selling cryptocurrencies for traders and for the layperson.

PlayUp already has a US presence in both Colorado and in New Jersey with licenses to offer sports betting in both locations. In Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, PlayUp has market access agreements for its sports betting offering. Along with this, the company has internet gaming rights in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Iowa.

PlayUp Starts Off with a Good Presence in New Jersey
In a recent announcement, Head of product at FTX, Ramnik Arora, affirmed that they had invested a generous figure of $35 million in PlayUp in the last quarter of 2021. This was a bold but sensible move for both companies, since many casinos are accepting BTC and Altcoin payment methods. What’s more, many providers also offer various special promotions – including the no deposit variety to their players.

Ultimately, the number of users or players that make use of a service is how we judge a company such as PlayUp. In October last year, data from Eilers & Krecjik showed PlayUp had a market share of .6% in New Jersey. These statistics were only for the company’s first month of operations in the New Jersey market which is an excellent start. In fact, it put PlayUp solidly in the top 10 New Jersey sportsbooks for October 2021.

Daniel Simic, the CEO of PlayUp Global, commented on the company’s entrance into the US market. He said: “We are very happy with the progress of our US market entry. The recent investment by FTX will assist PlayUp in accelerating its US market opportunities and grow our global sports betting and wagering presence.”

PlayUp has plans for expansion and has potential deals underway. The company is likely to announce these deals in the not too distant future. With a strong vision to incorporate various platforms into one, there is much potential for the sports betting company. PlayUp has a clear vision in which the company plans to create one platform that covers sports betting, eSports, iGaming, daily fantasy sports and fixed-odds racing.

Dennis Drazin and Art Hamilton Join US PlayUp Team
After the original negotiations for FTX’s takeover of PlayUp fell apart, Dennis Drazin was named as the US chairman of PlayUp. This announcement took place after Dr. Laila Mintas’ employment contract ended. In addition to being the US Chairman of the board for PlayUp, Drazin is also the CEO and chairman of Monmouth Park, a New Jersey racetrack.

FTX’s choice to invest in, rather than purchase PlayUp, may have been affected by Dr. Laila Mintas, the former US CEO for PlayUp. Mintas, accused of trying to derail the acquisition deal with FTX was taken to court over her role in the broken acquisition deal. The former CEO countersued, and the court case is still ongoing. Mintas claims it was not her but rather the company’s Glocal CEO, Daniel Simic, who derailed the deal. She claims that he attempted to increase the company’s price by an additional $170 million on top of the $450 million that had been agreed upon.

On the day that Mintas’ employment contract ended, PlayUp filed a federal suit against her claiming that she broke her contract with the company because of talks she had with representatives from FTX. PlayUp tried to get a restraining order against her, however the federal court did not grant it. PlayUp then turned to the US circuit court and also filed a suit against Mintas in Australia.

In January, PlayUp announced the appointment of its new United States CFO. Art Hamilton, who has much experience, has taken on the position. His background is in business development, strategic planning, growth management, project management, analytics, budgeting, and also mergers and acquisitions. Hamilton also worked with Matt Davey at NYX Gaming Group. Davey is a PlayUp shareholder.

Despite the issues surrounding the failed takeover, the lawsuits, and the changing top US personnel, PlayUp continued to thrive in the US market. The choice to invest in PlayUp’s US division, rather than buy out the company, appears to have been a good one.



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