PlayUp Plans Colorado Sportsbook Shutdown Amid Restructuring

PlayUp Plans Colorado Sportsbook Shutdown Amid Restructuring
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

PlayUp’s Colorado sportsbook remained online Thursday morning, hours after the operator’s New Jersey site went offline. However, the company’s top executive tells BetColorado.com he’s also seeking approval in the Centennial State to take the site down there.

In an email to BetColorado on Thursday morning, Global CEO Daniel Simic said the Colorado sports betting site would go into “maintenance mode.”

Sources have told BetColorado account holders are waiting on withdrawals to be processed, and current and former employees have not been paid for more than a month.

In a follow-up email, Simic denied any problems with player accounts.

“We have to report daily on player funds so there can never be any shortfall,” he said, adding he’d have a more thorough response later to claims against the company.

A spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Gaming, which oversees Colorado sportsbooks, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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PlayUp Plans To Be Back

While sources tell BetColorado that New Jersey gaming officials forced PlayUp’s shutdown in that state, Simic, in his first email, had a different explanation.

“We are restructuring, resizing and will be back with a new look and feel, platform and strategy,” he said. “Given we are on the verge of a transaction, and no doubt you will be speaking with people, I would appreciate the opportunity to provide clarity and truth in your journalism.”

Simic offered no timetable for when the New Jersey site — or its online sports betting app in Colorado operation if it’s taken down — would resume operations.

PlayUp’s Troubles Date Back Two Years

The New Jersey shutdown is the latest chapter in what has been a rocky saga for PlayUp as it has tried to establish a beachhead in the U.S. for the last couple of years.

Several employees were reportedly let go at the end of last month, and sources tell BetColorado that PlayUp workers were last paid more than a month ago. Some reportedly were offered equity in the company if they agreed to stay on without payment.

In late 2021, a proposed sale to FTX for $450 million fell apart. That led to PlayUp suing its former U.S. CEO, Dr. Laila Mintas. Mintas then filed a countersuit.

In January 2022, FTX agreed to invest $35 million in PlayUp to help it grow its U.S. operations. FTX has since made headlines as the crypto exchange has filed for bankruptcy, and its founder faces federal charges after that company collapsed.

Earlier this year, a special-purchase acquisition company backed out of a $350 million deal that would have made PlayUp a publicly traded company after PlayUp officials failed to provide requested documents on a timely basis.

In April, PlayUp agreed to pay Ohio regulators $120,000 and not to seek licensure there for four years after the company pulled its application for a sports betting license in the state. The Ohio Casino Control Commission said it would have denied the application because staff members determined PlayUp had offered illegal gaming in the state since June 2021.

Besides offering sports betting in New Jersey and Colorado, PlayUp also operates an advanced-deposit wagering site for horse racing that’s available in 27 states.

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Author

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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