PointsBet US CEO: Topgolf Deal Helps Us ‘Elevate’ The Sports Betting Experience

Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet US, talks about the Topgolf partnership, NJ sports betting, March Madness, and thinking outside the box in a crowded market.

PointsBet and Topgolf are hitting the links together. But instead of hitting eagles and birdies, this link is connected to NJ sports betting.

The partnership, announced on Wednesday, will bring “premium sports betting experiences to NJ locations.” The deal applies to the Edison and Mt. Laurel Topgolf locations, but not the one at Ocean Resort Casino.

According to the press release, Topgolf guests will be able to enjoy PointsBet-branded bar areas with in-venue media. Plans also call for a dedicated social campaign outreach that will “increase dynamic brand awareness across key demographics.”

Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet US, sees the partnership as fitting for both companies. He elaborated further on the partnership via an interview with NJ Gambling Sites.

“Well first off, Topgolf is widely recognized as a best-in-class brand, and rightfully so. It melds so many elements important to today’s consumer – sports, technology, fitness, camaraderie – and does so with a major focus on customer experience.

“Needless to say there’s a lot of overlap between PointsBet and Topgolf in terms of brand values. So our goal is to further elevate the greater sports and gaming experience for the customers of Topgolf.”

More about the PointsBet + Topgolf deal

Customers visiting the Edison or Mt. Laurel Topgolf locations will experience something beyond working on their follow-through, forward swings, and grip.

The rebranded sports bars will feature PointsBet logos and televisions displaying live odds. As a bonus, PointsBet will offer exclusive signup offers, promotions, and Topgolf rewards to its members, as well as anyone who signs up.

While there will be no on-site betting at Topgolf, that doesn’t mean bets won’t take place. Legal NJ online sports betting is prevalent throughout the state and PointsBet NJ has an app for that.

YuChiang Cheng, Topgolf media president, commented in the release:

“PointsBet is known for its guest-first and premium approach to sports betting, and we’re thrilled that Topgolf guests will be able to participate in this new venture that captures the spirit of competition and fun.

“Partnering with PointsBet aligns our shared purpose of connecting people in meaningful ways to provide year-round sports entertainment to the local community.”

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March Madness + The Masters

Two of the year’s biggest sports events, the NCAA Tournament and The Masters are right around the corner.

March Madness betting is considered one of the biggest events, if not the biggest, in terms of sports betting handle. Topgolf customers can place bets via the PointsBet app.

But in terms of March Madness promotions, both locations will be hosting a $25,000 hole-in-one challenge. Here’s how it will work:

  • On opening weekend of March Madness, all new PointsBet customers who sign up on the day of the event at either venue will have the chance to win $25,000 if they hit a hole-in-one from 150 yards.
  • Existing customers are eligible, too.
  • There will be other great prizes and swag during the weekend.
  • On Final Four Weekend, which doubles as the Saturday leading up to the start of The Masters, PointsBet will run back the $25,000 competition.

Combined, PointsBet via the two Topgolf facilities, could potentially give away as much as $100,000.

For avid golfers and golf fans, The Masters is considered the biggest event of the year. Yes, PointsBet will be offering plenty of odds on this one, too.

Futures on Tiger Woods winning the green jacket are at +900 (along with Jordan Spieth).

Aitken sees the event as a win-win for PointsBet and Topgolf.

“The cross section of sports gaming and golf is already significant, and it’s growing at a rapid pace. The Masters represents one of the crescendos of the US sporting calendar.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a sports fan who’s not either watching the tournament as a fan or watching it with a betting interest, so it’s really the perfect time to really ramp up the PointsBet-Topgolf union. The premier golf event of the year will serve as the perfect canvas for everything we’ll be doing together.”

NJ sports betting ‘exceeded our expectations’

The FanDuel Sportsbook has top billing when it comes to NJ sports betting at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

But PointsBet, along with FanDuel, both operate online skins under the Meadowlands license. Nevada-based CG Technology announced its partnership with the Meadowlands earlier this month. So, the North Jersey racetrack just a few steps away from New York City is full up on online sportsbooks.

PointsBet launched its NJ mobile sports betting products back on Dec. 11. And so far, Aitken said the results “have definitely exceeded our expectations.”

“We knew there was a strong appetite for legal sports betting in New Jersey and the States as a whole – that’s one of the primary reasons we made US sports a point of emphasis in Australia – but it’s nonetheless been remarkable to see it firsthand.”

In January, NJ sports betting handle was a record $385 million, and the bulk of that was from online sportsbooks. To Aitken, it just shows how big the support for sports and betting in New Jersey really is.

“This region has some of the most passionate and dedicated sports fans anywhere, so to be able to engage them with a product and an experience that resonates has been invigorating.”

Competition brings Good Karma

Of course, PointsBet is one of several late arrivals to the NJ sports betting game, but certainly not the last.

In the last month alone Hard Rock, Resorts Sportsbook, Golden Nugget  Sportsbook and BetAmerica have rolled out their respective mobile sports betting apps.

Hard Rock Atlantic City opened its temporary retail sportsbook just in time for Super Bowl betting.

And the market still hasn’t reached full capacity.

Bet365 and Kindred (Unibet), both under the Hard Rock license, are expected to launch sometime in 2019.

But DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel, and William Hill NJ all launched their respective apps prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season. They are currently considered the top three when it comes to NJ sports betting revenue.

Instead of surrendering to the competition, PointsBet NJ sportsbook is taking an outside-the-box approach beyond the Topgolf partnership.

“With the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel and William Hill among the operators who were afforded a significant head start, outside-the-box thinking is critical to our success,” Aitken said.

The “industry-leading” offers and promotions include No Juice SpreadLines on NFL and college basketball games to early payouts on NHLNBA and soccer games.

Then there is the Good Karma Payouts in which a player receives a free bonus equal to your wager that is usually tied into an unexpected or unfortunate event.

This week, for example, PointsBet refunded any Duke or Zion Williamson-related wagers after the star player suffered an unfortunate knee injury against North Carolina. You may have heard about the exploding sneaker incident.

“So yes, thinking outside the box in order to provide unmatched value to our customers is certainly a rallying cry for us,” Aitken said.

Bring on Topgolf, then.

PointsBet CEO On NJ Sports Betting Launch: ‘Nobody Else Is Offering This’

PointsBet should be live in New Jersey before the end of the month. But can it compete with heavyweights DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook?

Johnny Aitken grew up in the sports betting business.

Even as a kid, he would venture with his father to the racetrack seemingly every weekend. He’d write down the odds of competitors and hand them to his father, serving something like a No. 2 to the patriarch. It seemed only natural for Aitken to delve deeper into the sports betting world.

Now, a year after leaving William Hill, the US CEO of Australian company PointsBet is ready to bring his world to the United States.

In New Jersey, that introduction to one of the more intriguing products in sports betting expects to occur in late November.

Coming over from Down Under

Now based in Jersey City at PointsBet’s new offices, Aitken has already seen his company make quick-yet-giant strides.

The company’s namesake gave PointsBet its niche. With points betting, also known as spread betting, offers patrons a high-risk, high-reward stakes.

Using traditional formats as the foundation, bettors can wager, for example, $10 on the over of an NBA game with an over/under of 225 points. With each point past that total comes another $10. So, if a game ends at 235 points, bettors win $100. On the flip side, a 215-point total results in a $100 loss.

Launched in Australia in early 2017, PointsBet entered what Aitken described as a “competitive” market, one that featured the likes of major bookmakers William Hill and Paddy Power. While the online market remained “pretty mature,” as Aitken put it, PointsBet found its footing.

After all, the CEO said, the company used Australia as a stepping stone, “for us to sort of fine-tune our capabilities to be ready to go live if and when America” repealed PASPA and allowed for state-sanctioned legalized sports betting.

“Our founders … they always had a dotted line into America,” Aitken said. “The Australian business was always sort of set up as a proof of concept for the American market.”

As the US Supreme Court deliberated over the fate of the federal sports betting ban last winter, Aitken was hopping on flights to various states in the US. He “got to know the right people and got ourselves out there ahead of time to build those relationships.” PointsBet anticipated a repeal by SCOTUS. As such, Aitken and his crew began laying the groundwork for US entry.

In July, two months after the strike-down of the ban and a month after New Jersey launched its industry, PointsBet had its partner.

PointsBet links with Meadowlands

Aitken called PointsBet “lucky enough to participate in the process” with Meadowlands Racetrack.

The CEO noted that his company competed with 30 or 40 “of the biggest bookmakers in the world, sort of the who’s who” before the East Rutherford racetrack selected PointsBet as its second skin. (FanDuel Sportsbook used the track’s first online skin.)

Using Meadowlands’ sports betting license, PointsBet had the entry it needed to operate its online sportsbook in the Garden State.

The NJ sports betting industry has already taken off. It has already begun paying dividends (though perhaps not as much as insiders initially expected). Yet while eight sportsbooks (and a ninth on the way) are operational, PointsBet will not be scrambling to play catch-up, Aitken said.

PointsBet will certainly have a crowded field of competitors, but the CEO does not appear concerned.

Offering what no other product can

No other product in New Jersey — or even the WORLD, per Aitken — boasts similar betting options as PointsBet.

No other sportsbook rewards bettors who decided the over/under total was way too low or way too high.

“In a crowded market, where you have potentially up to 15 to 20 competitors in year one, that (points betting) is a huge asset for us. We do see it having extreme cut-through here in the US market.”

Spread betting has been around for some time, Aitken assured, particularly in Europe. Yet the most popular sport there, soccer, does not necessarily lend itself as a prime spread betting sport, what with low-scoring matches.

In the US, however, the high-scoring nature of the NBA and NFL, even in sports like baseball and hockey, allows for spread betting to truly spread its wings.

PointsBet not all about points betting

Aitken wanted to emphasize that PointsBet is not just spread betting. Featuring over 1,000 markets for NBA games, for example, PointsBet has the variety to satisfy any bettor. (That said, Aitken pointed out, “500 of those (thousand markets) no other product is offering in the world.”)

“We still offer the normal sportsbook’s experience, and that’s also very important. I’m hopeful that even if you just want to come to have one points bet a month, you still have to come to have it with us, because nobody else is offering this.

But also, if you want to have your normal parlay or your normal spread-line bet, you can have that with us, as well.”

The traditional parlays will exist, though points betting remains a singles market, Aitken said.

And with spread betting, users can prevent big losses but customizing a “stop loss” option. So for an over/under of 225, risk-averting bettors can set a 10-point safeguard; if the under falls at 214, rather than losing $110, the bettors only loses $100. (This also affects the maximum win; a 226 total nets $100 rather than $110.)

Success in NJ, starting soon

Aitken is not focused on the week-to-week wins/losses of PointsBet. Most of the company’s competitors will. Rather, the CEO said, PointsBet will maintain a long-term expectation.

“We want to win, obviously, but it’s going to be over a 12-month period. What you’ll see is a lot of our competitors, a lot of people are publicly held.

There’s a need to drive profit every week. If they get 95 percent of action for one team, they’ll try to lay off that bet or they’ll bring the odds in so they won’t take any more action on that or they’ll try to balance the books. … We have the confidence in the long term that we’ll win.”

Because of PointsBet’s connection with Meadowlands and its owner, Jeff Gural, the company also has a tie to Tioga Downs in New York. So if the Empire State ever launches legalized sports betting, PointsBet will have an entry point.

As for other states, Aitken said PointsBet maintains “active conversations” to expand.

In New Jersey, PointsBet nears its NJ sports betting debut. Aitken said the product is “in the final stages” of the platform being tested by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. And late November remains as the target launch.

But the Garden State, Aitken said, is only the beginning for PointsBet.

“We want to have a national footprint. That’s our intention.”

PointsBet Ready To Make Its Mark In The Crowded NJ Sports Betting Online Market

The crowded NJ sports betting market will expand by one in November. If all goes to plan, PointsBet will launch thanks to a partnership with Meadowlands.

After more than a month of serenity, the New Jersey mobile sports betting market will soon, yet again, expand.

PointsBet, an Australian online bookmaker, announced Oct. 8 that it will soon debut an American product out of the Garden State. Courtesy of a partnership with Meadowlands Racetrack, PointsBet anticipates rolling out a mobile NJ sports betting product in November.

To help the company do so, PointsBet has brought in “The Answer” it needed, as NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson will help introduce the product to the sports betting market.

More about the NJ sports betting product

Through PointsBet, wagering will be available 24/7, according to the release, on different sports all over the world, including the major four leagues in the US.

Per the release: “PointsBet separates themselves by rewarding accuracy; the more accurate your bet, the more you can win.”

As for Iverson, PointsBet labeled him as “the perfect ambassador” because of his “fearless approach on the court and his ability to challenge the opposition.”

“We’re over-the-moon to work with an athlete of Allen’s caliber — when people think of AI, they think of a renegade and cultural phenomenon that was known for his flash and style on and off the court. For those reasons, we saw the partnership with Al as a perfect fit to represent the PointsBet brand,” said PointsBet US CEO Johnny Aitken. “Our forthcoming commercials show that Allen is ‘The Answer’ for more than just basketball.”

The Answer already had his first assignment.

The $1 million challenge

While the wait for a mobile sports betting platform continues, Iverson introduced what PointsBet called a “free-to-enter $1 Million NBA Sweepstakes.”

Started Oct. 8, this contest requires users to select the top eight seeds in both the Western and Eastern conferences. Select accurately, and in the correct order, and the seven-figure payday is won.

The contest, available only to residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey through Oct. 16, can be accessed via the PointsBet website.

PointsBet + Meadowlands

The Australian bookmaker announced in July its intention to enter the US legal sports betting market via a skin deal with both Meadowlands and Tioga Downs in New York.

At the time of the announcement, PointsBet wanted to launch an edgy sports betting product, which, we can assume, would make up for a late entry into the mobile industry. After all, eight online products already exist in New Jersey. And the market is on a hot streak in terms of revenue and handle.

Launched in 2017, PointsBet reaches its long-established goal of stepping onto American soil.

“It was all about America,” PointsBet CEO Sam Swanell told Legal Sports Report in July. “Australia was very much proof-of-concept for us. We always had one eye on America.”

The product, Swanell shared, would offer traditional sports betting offerings as well as the company’s signature product: Points Betting.

This feature is a high-risk, high-reward offering, as a bettor’s profit or loss depends on how close the final number is to the spread. For example, if a user bets $10 on the over, and the total ends 10 points over, that nets users $100. If the total lands 10 points under, users lose $100.