"We’re launching with a product that’s fully realized. It’s not about who’s first to market, but who actually delivers the best product, and with a product that has been designed for the Colorado bettor," says Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA.
PointsBet's app has entered a competitive sports-betting market that saw over $200 million in wagers placed in the state in September, when the NFL season started. Since legal betting began in Colorado in May, fifteen other sports-betting operators have launched mobile apps, adding to a dozen in-person retail books.
While there are plenty of options, PointsBet plans to differentiate itself from other apps by becoming the hometown sportsbook. The company, which has offices in New Jersey, Illinois, Australia and the Philippines, established its American headquarters in Denver in the fall of 2019.
Since then, PointsBet has announced exclusive partnerships with the University of Colorado, the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche and the Colorado Mammoth. It's also established relationships with Ball Arena, Altitude TV, and Altitude Sports Radio.
Why did PointsBet decide to call Denver home?
"We conducted an internal project to assess every city in the U.S.," explains Aitken, looking at "quality of life, pathway to legalization of sports betting, favorable employment tax, access to tech talent, and sports market. Denver, Colorado, stood out head and shoulders."
In November 2019, Colorado voters approved Proposition DD, which legalized sports betting and set a timeline for establishing the market, with most of the tax money generated from casino winnings earmarked for the Colorado Water Plan.
PointsBet has partnered with the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek, but doesn't yet have a schedule for opening an in-person sportsbook. Right now, the focus is on the app. "From a consumer perspective, by the very nature of this being our back yard, we simply feel that we are going to have the best advantage of what a bettor in Colorado wants," Aitken notes.
Aside from the hometown advantage, the app boasts some unique features, such as "Name-A-Bet," which gives users the chance to create a custom bet that can be created and quickly approved by staff at PointsBet. They can also engage in "PointsBetting," which allows overall returns or losses on a spread bet to be determined by how far or close a bet is to the actual spread. "It very much resonates with the person for whom it’s not just about being right, but about being really, really right," Aitken explains.
The app is available in Spanish, which works well with PointsBet's partnership with Telemundo. PointsBet has a deal with NBC Sports, too, so it also has an exclusive partnership with 9News.
And when it reopens for events, Ball Arena — formerly the Pepsi Center — will feature a PointsBet sports bar, complete with an outdoor patio, that will be open year-round. Next to the bar will be a VIP-branded PointsBet space designed for game days.
"We really want to make it fun and interactive," Aitken says.