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CU Buffs sports gambling partner, PointsBet, launches in Colorado


The only sports book operator with major headquarters in Colorado is now taking bets.

PointsBet, which has recently entered into exclusive partnerships with the University of Colorado and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), went live Wednesday with its online and mobile app platforms.

“Colorado people … are very proud of their state and I hope they view PointsBet as the true hometown sports book,” PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken said. “We’re the only operator that’s based here, that’s investing in the sports community, creating jobs for people to stay and be based here in Colorado. We’re hoping for great reception this week when we start taking bets in.”

An Australian company, PointsBet recently opened headquarters in downtown Denver and is putting much of its focus on local teams now that sports gambling is legal in the state, as of May 1.

In August, a partnership with KSE was announced, making PointsBet the exclusive betting partner of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth and Altitude TV.

In September, CU and PointBet announced a five-year sponsorship deal, which begins July 1, 2021. Over the course of the deal, which runs from 2021-26, CU will receive at least $1.625 million. In addition to that, CU can get a $30 referral fee for each PointsBet customer who signs up using a CU-specific promotional code.

As of Wednesday, those customers can now sign up and begin placing bets at or on Apple and Android mobile apps, which have been “truly customized for the needs of a Colorado bettor,” Aitken said.

Although PointsBet is focusing mainly online, Aitken the company will have an outdoor sports patio, indoor PointsBet sports bar and a VIP club within Ball Arena in Denver (formerly the Pepsi Center).

Aitken said PointsBet took its time to gear the product toward its Colorado customers. Because of the partnership with KSE, it was also important to launch before the upcoming NBA and NHL seasons.

“When people download the app and start playing with it, they’ll say it’s the fastest place to place a bet in market and also the app that offers the most markets in the world for NFL, NBA MLB and NHL,” Aitken said, adding that PointsBet will offer over 1,000 different ways to bet on a single NFL game.

With college football and basketball, customers will be able to wager on the money lines and spread lines, but not player prop bets that are available in other sports. The NCAA has recently expressed concerns over prop bets, which can be found on unlicensed offshore gambling sites. For now, PointsBet, will steer clear of player prop bets.

“We want to make sure, as part of the legal wave, that we’re winning back that money and winning back those clients that are betting offshore and making sure they’re betting in legal environments that are properly taxed and states are seeing the benefits of that,” Aitken said.

PointsBet controls its entire technological operation, which Aitken said allows them to optimize the platform for each market. By early 2021, PointsBet will have about 200 employees on staff, with  many working in technology. Partnering with CU enhances PointsBet’s opportunities to hire recent CU graduates.

“Being based here in Denver, Colorado, we need to access the brightest minds and most of those brightest minds attend CU-Boulder,” Aitken said. “That really was the focus behind our discussions with the school.”

While the CU and PointsBet partnership won’t begin paying off for either side until next year, Wednesday’s product launch was an important step for both.

“We’re going to be building excellence around the Colorado sports that people here are obsessed about,” Aitken said. “We’re really excited to get going this week.”

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