US market breakthrough for PointsBet

25 July 2018

PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken is confident the sportsbook provider is “tuned up” for the US after undergoing a “proof of concept” process in Australia ahead of securing long-term deals in New Jersey and New York.

PointsBet has sealed an agreement with Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and will launch via the venue in the final quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval. Pending legislative authorisation, PointsBet will also work with Tioga Downs casino in the state of New York. Both deals will include online and mobile sports betting.

For Melbourne-based PointsBet, the Meadowlands deal represents a first international step for a company that a stated aim of offering more markets across the four traditional US major leagues – American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL and Major League Baseball – than “any other sports bookmaker in the world”.

Aitken told iGamingBusiness.com: “Our focus from day one has always been on the US, with Australia very much a proof of concept for us to get our Points Betting and sportsbook capabilities tuned up to execute at an optimal level when the market here finally opened.”

Australia is a major international market for the North American major leagues, representing the biggest market outside the US for NBA merchandise sales and the NBA League Pass digital-streaming service.

“The NBA and NFL represent just under 30% of our handle with our trading team experts in all US sports,” Aitken said. “We have also invested heavily in building a high-performance quantitative analytics department, which powers us to offer hundreds of betting options and player propositions not available anywhere else in the world for the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.”

Aitken added that the company’s Points Betting product offers a “distinct point of difference”, which he hopes will allow the company to stand out from the pack in the US.

“Points Betting is like spread betting in the UK, but the scoring mechanics are far more suited to US and Australian sports than it is in the UK with soccer,” he added.

“If you have a normal fixed-odds bet, you could very well know at half time whether you will win or lose, whereas if you have a points bet, you are watching the match until the very last second as each play and score can impact your bet.”

Aitken added that the company is now looking to hire staff in the US, with “a big emphasis on recruiting the best local talent available”.

He added: “Applying the mindset of ‘what works in the UK or Australia will work here’ is an approach we think will backfire for those entering the US market. We will be ensuring we continuously improve the client experience across each touchpoint, building innovative and engaging products to deliver what a US client is demanding – not what we think they want.”