An established Australian sportsbook will arrive in Iowa “in the coming weeks.” Look for the name ClutchBet Sportsbook when it makes its US debut.
BlueBet Holdings is the company behind the planned ClutchBet Sportsbook Iowa launch. In Australia, they go with the “blue” in BlueBet Sportsbook to reflect “true blue” reliability.
They don’t want the US version of their app to be confused with politics, however. BlueBet CEO Bill Richmond explained the brand change to PlayIA in July 2021.
“Obviously, it’s become quite a divisive thing in the US — the blue and red state sort of thing.”
ClutchBet will enter the state through a sportsbook agreement with the Dubuque Racing Association, which operates Q Casino. The state regulates 19 casinos and each casino can carry up to three sportsbook company brands in Iowa.
Bettors don’t have to visit a brick-and-mortar site like Q Casino to sign up for their favorite sports betting apps. Remote registration became legal in Iowa at the start of 2021.
“We believe the US sports betting audience is unique, but raw,” Richmond said in a Wednesday announcement. “We want ClutchBet to grow with the market to connect with American bettors.”
Why ClutchBet Sportsbook chose Iowa first
When Richmond announced some US details last summer, the company also listed Virginia, Colorado, Tennessee and Maryland as “priority states.”
The landscape shifted slightly since then. ClutchBet Sportsbook secured access agreements with Colorado and Louisiana in addition to Iowa.
The Hawkeye state remains at the front of plans. Richmond likes that almost 90% of Iowa sports bets are placed through a mobile app over a casino visit.
ClutchBet chose Iowa as one of its initial target jurisdictions because of:
- Legalized statewide online mobile gaming
- Low capital expenditure requirements
- Acceptable taxation and regulatory requirements
- A significant population base
Iowa casinos have to pay a $45,000 licensing fee to open their first sportsbook. The casinos can carry up to three brands, called skins. They do not have to pay an additional licensing fee to add a second or third sportsbook.
Former Barstool exec to oversee US operations
We mentioned that Iowa, then Colorado and Louisiana will be first out of the gates for ClutchBet. They’ll base North American operations out of Denver.
Jake Francis tops the organizational charts at ClutchBet. He comes from Penn Interactive, the company behind Barstool Sportsbook. In comments Wednesday, Richmond said Francis played a “primary role” in developing Barstool’s wagering operations.
“A leader of Jake’s quality, who has launched major sportsbooks in the US, is a real coup for BlueBet. Jake brings expertise that will support our US expansion, as well as an incredibly deep knowledge of the sector and what bettors want. Jake knows what it takes to build a book that resonates with bettors. And, we’re excited to leverage his experience and scale our presence in the US.”
ClutchBet also named Sean Phinney Senior VP of Marketing for the Americas as part of Wednesday’s announcement.