With the sports betting industry growing fast in Colorado, PointsBet, a company founded in Australia, is going all in on the market here.
In a little over a month, the company has announced exclusive partnerships with the University of Colorado as well as the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth. And next month, PointsBet will move into its new headquarters in downtown Denver, equidistant from the Pepsi Center and Coors Field.
"The team made a very conscious decision last fall to plant our flag here and call this home," says Eric Foote, chief commercial officer for PointsBet, who has lived in Colorado since 2013 and currently resides in Boulder.
Why invest so heavily in Denver and Colorado?
"The market itself and the opportunity to attract top-notch employees, specifically as you think of product and development," Foote says. "We are one of very few that own our technology from front to back. We think that sets us apart." He refers to the Denver area, including Boulder, as a "mini Silicon Valley"; PointsBet also has offices in New Jersey, Illinois, Australia and the Philippines.
Foote, who previously worked as a vice president at CBS Sports Digital, also lists "market access" and "legislation" as key reasons that the company decided to put its base in Denver. Sports betting operators generally consider Colorado to have a friendly sports betting framework that allows for robust competition among various companies.
"As you think of the growth of sports betting in the West, we felt we were very well-positioned to be in the hotbed of [it]," Foote adds.
Colorado has had a legal sports betting market since May, following the passage of Proposition DD in November 2019. That ballot initiative created the legal sports betting framework as well as a tax on casino winnings, with the majority of that revenue earmarked for the Colorado Water Plan. Since the start of sports betting here, over a dozen mobile apps have launched, and retail sportsbooks have popped up at various casinos in Colorado's three gaming towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.
As PointsBet worked to position itself in the market, Foote and his colleagues struck the deal with Kroenke Sports Entertainment for exclusive partnerships with the Avalanche, Nuggets, Mammoth and Altitude TV. As a result, PointsBet will have three in-person venues inside the Pepsi Center that fans can visit during games. The Pepsi Center recently upgraded its wi-fi, which will help PointsBet since it's the "fastest sports betting app in the U.S.," according to Foote.
The company also worked out an exclusive partnership with CU, the first of its kind in the country. Foote says that marketing efforts will be geared toward alumni and season ticket holders rather than students, since the law requires that you be at least 21 to place a sports bet in Colorado.
"We were thoughtful in doing the partnership," says Foote, who notes that the company worked with CU's athletic director, chancellor and even university president to strike this deal. "A key component is education and responsible gaming, and also having these conversations with student-athletes on the leadership and career development program," he says.
The exclusive partnership will also help PointsBet tap into business and engineering students for possible recruitment.
PointsBet hasn't actually launched its online betting app in Colorado. That's coming "soon," says Foote, who adds that the company will definitely launch the app sometime during the NFL season.
"We’re sensitive to get the product up and running and working properly," says Foote. "That first impression is extremely important. We’re very excited about being live here in Colorado and having the hometown sportsbook here in Denver and Colorado."