Smarkets coming to Indiana and Colorado
Smarkets is coming to Indiana and Colorado in what is a landmark deal for the European sports betting operator.
The operator, which has offices in London, Malta and Los Angeles, has signed a multi-million dollar deal with casino developer and operator Full House Resorts to offer sports wagering in the two states.
What’s the story behind Smarkets?
Smarkets was founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Jason Trost and his business partner Hunter Morris. Both decided to ditch their careers in the US to move to London and build a betting exchange to rival that of Betfair.
Since officially launching in 2010, the state-of-the-art exchange has, according to the official website, handled £10 billion worth of trades and is capable of handling thousands of trades per second.
Smarkets and its exchange prices are regularly featured in top-tier publications, including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg and WIRED.
The company recently entered the sportsbook market with the launch of its SBK app on August 9 and this product is what bettors will see first in Indiana, Colorado and potentially any other states that it gains access to.
“As an American myself, I’m thrilled to bring our world-leading technology to Indiana and Colorado, as well as more states across the country,” Smarkets CEO and founder Jason Trost, said. “I truly believe that an agile company like ours can make a huge impact against some of the bigger players thanks to our superior technology and focus on providing the best prices.”
Why Full House?
The Las Vegas-based casino operator have four facilities across four states: the Rising Star Casino Resort in Rising Sun, Indiana; Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek Colorado; and one casino in each of Mississippi and Nevada.
The latter two states are not part of the deal – at least for now.
In the majority of states where sports betting is legal, the licenses are held by a brick-and-mortar property, usually a casino, which can then partner up with an existing sportsbook operator to provide the technology required to open a sportsbook and run it.
The US sports betting market is on the cusp of a boom and early indications are that mobile betting, either via a website or app, is going to be the primary driver.
That’s clearly not been lost on Alex Stolyar, Full House Resorts’ SVP & Chief Development Officer, who said: “This is a very exciting time for sports betting in Indiana and Colorado and we are delighted to partner with Smarkets.“
“The SBK sportsbook platform brings many new innovations to the industry, including a unique social network to heighten the customer experience.“
Launch dates yet to be confirmed
Sports betting is already underway in Indiana, having been passed into law in May by Governor Eric Holcomb, and the first bets were placed in-person on September 1 at three casinos. Mobile betting is expected to begin fairly soon.
However, Smarkets won’t be part of that initial launch and it has said that its SBK app will be available to download on iOS and Android devices in late 2019.
Gambling on sports is not yet legal in Colorado but residents in the state will vote to ratify a sports betting bill in November and, if approved, wagering could begin in the spring of 2020. You can read our guide to all legalized gambling in the US
A betting exchange in the US?
Whilst the concept of a betting exchange, which allows bettors to wager against each other rather than a book, is foreign to most US bettors, it’s an intriguing prospect.
Betfair, the most famous exchange, has revolutionized the way bettors approach sports betting in the UK and beyond – and for good reason as odds are consistently bigger than at a traditional book.
The potential problem for any operator looking to open an exchange in the US is that individual states are ring-fenced for betting purposes. So Indiana bettors can only trade with other Indiana bettors and so on.
The bigger the available population the better as there is likely to be more ‘liquidity‘, which is the amount of money available for bettors to either back or lay at the corresponding odds on the corresponding selection.
For that reason it may only truly work in the more populous states such as California, Texas and Florida – none of which are projected to legalize until 2021
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