PlayUp Loses SPAC Partnership Ahead Of Key US Launches

Written By J.R. Duren on January 10, 2023 - Last Updated on January 13, 2023
New Australian-based sportsbook PlayUp loses key funding

PlayUp, an Australian sports betting platform that’s live in New Jersey and Colorado, has lost its special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) partner.

That partner, IG Acquisition Corp. (IGAC), revealed in an SEC filing this past weekend that it has terminated its relationship with PlayUp after announcing a nearly $400 million deal with the company in September.

IGAC will liquidate all the shares it has in PlayUp by the close of business tomorrow.

How SPACs work and what the loss means for PlayUp

Generally speaking, a SPAC (special acquisition company) is a shell company set up to raise funds to acquire up-and-coming businesses. In some ways, a SPAC is like a blank check for businesses they combine with.

For PlayUp, combining with a SPAC made sense when the company announced the IAGC deal last year. SPAC deals are becoming more common in the US sports betting industry. And, with plans to launch in new markets in the US, PlayUp needs cash to compete with big names like FanDuel and DraftKings.

Sometimes, however, SPAC partnerships don’t work out. And that was the case with IAGC and PlayUp. The deal was slated to close next month. However, IAGC wasn’t able to meet certain conditions of the deal. As a result, it had to withdraw.

What does this mean for PlayUp? When the deal originally went down, PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic said IAGC’s funding would help the company develop its proprietary technology.

So, the lost SPAC deal likely means the company won’t have as much money to develop its tech.

That being said, PlayUp may round up more funding this year considering its key market entries over the next to years. It has plans to launch sportsbooks in Iowa, Ohio, and Indiana this year.

In 2024, the company is looking to launch iGaming in Pennsylvania and sports betting in Arizona.

An overview of PlayUp’s market presence

PlayUp is live in three states so far. It’s got an online app up and running for Colorado sports betting and New Jersey sports betting, and a racebook (pari-mutuel sportsbook) live in North Dakota.

In addition to its 2023 and 2024 launches, the company wants to launch sportsbooks in the following states:

  • Texas (pending sports betting legalization)
  • Illinois
  • Louisana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • Maryland

Additionally, PlayUp wants to launch iGaming in the following states:

  • Louisana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • West Virginia
  • Maryland

The company’s main value proposition is that its online app offers gamblers all types of betting. From one account, a user can access:

  1. A sportsbook
  2. Daily fantasy sports
  3. Slots
  4. Horse racing

Those options aren’t available in every state that PlayUp operates in. However, the capability to quickly expand an app from just a sportsbook to an entire suite of betting options bodes well for future growth.

The company calls its multi-channel betting app “BEST,” or “Betting, Entertainment, and Sports Technology Platform.” In a statement last year, they said:

“PlayUp has developed BEST to be a highly scalable and robust online betting platform that provides an integrated product experience. The BEST platform will allow users to have a single account, single wallet and single app in the United States or Australia to make bets across all supported betting products.”

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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