Aussie Digital Sportsbook BlueBet Primed for US Market Entry via Iowa Deal

  • The company inked a skin agreement with the Dubuque Racing Association (DRA)
  • It will run its online sportsbook in connection with the DRA-operated Q Casino
  • Iowa is one of the five states identified by BlueBet as a priority for its US market entry
  • BlueBet will pay Dubuque out of net gaming revenues from its online sportsbook
  • The operator joins fellow Aussie PointsBet in an increasingly competitive Iowa market
flags of Australia and the US
Australian sports betting giant BlueBet is all set to make its US market debut in Iowa, after agreeing a five year deal with Q Casino operator the Dubuque Racing Association. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update August 10, 2021: BlueBet announced an exclusive partnership with the Colorado River Indian Tribes and BlueWater Resort & Casino in Arizona. Subject to license application approval, the sportsbook operator will be able to launch an online wagering offering in the state.

An agreement with the DRA

Australian sports gaming company BlueBet is primed to make its US market debut in Iowa after inking a deal with the Dubuque Racing Association (DRA).

The New South Wales-headquartered business announced its skin agreement with the operator of Q Casino on July 14 via LinkedIn:

Subject to regulatory approval and licensing from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC), BlueBet would operate via a mobile app and website in connection with Q Casino. The license agreement with Dubuque is for an initial term of five years, with an option for BlueBet to extend its sports gaming tie-up with Q Casino for another five years when the contract expires.

“staged approach” entry into the North American market

Iowa is one of the five US states identified by the Australian sportsbook as a priority for its “staged approach” entry into the North American market. Along with Colorado, Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia, BlueBet aims to access these key markets as a sports betting provider via a B2C offering.

According to its official release, the B2C entry strategy will enable BlueBet to “establish a footprint and optimise the team and products for the USA market.”

Iowa the number one priority

BlueBet chose Iowa as its first entry point into the US for a variety of strategic reasons. These include the state’s low capital expenditure requirements, attractive taxation and regulatory requirements, and “significant populations.”

Iowa has raked in over $1.5bn in wagers and $115.7m in revenue

Company CEO Bill Richmond said Iowa “perfectly fits our criteria,” illustrating the meteoric growth of the state’s sports wagering market upon launching across mobile and retail in 2019. Since then, Iowa has raked in over $1.5bn in wagers and $115.7m in revenue.

Adding that his firm looked forward to expanding its online sportsbook in partnership with Dubuque, Richmond said he expects BlueBet’s “mobile first online offering to resonate strongly with customers who have demonstrated a strong affinity for mobile wagering.”

Since its formation in 2015, BlueBet has become a major player in the mature Australian sports betting industry. Through its proprietary mobile-first sports wagering technology, it offers betting on 31 sports, with a menu that includes single-game parlays, exotics, and regular bet types.

BlueBet to take on Iowa’s big guns

Under the terms of the agreement with Dubuque, BlueBet will pay the organization out of net gaming revenues from its online sportsbook.

Established in 1985, the Dubuque Greyhound Park (now Q Casino) became America’s first non-profit greyhound track. The DRA, which is made up of a volunteer board of 21 directors, runs the facility, which is owned by the City of Dubuque.

As a signal of its confidence, BlueBet is entering an already competitive sports betting market in Iowa, sharing the space with fellow Australian giant PointsBet, which last month also gained access to Maryland’s sports wagering market. Also in the Iowa ring are big guns DraftKings and FanDuel, while ultra-bullish Bally’s Corporation launched its Bally Bet mobile sportsbook in the state on June 29.