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Tipico sportsbook has launched in Iowa, bringing another US state into the fold for the European sportsbook.

Wednesday’s Iowa launch is Tipco’s fourth in the US, following New Jersey, Colorado and Ohio. The operator also has plans to go live in Indiana later this year.

“We are thrilled to grow our footprint and give Iowa customers access to our propriety product and competitive offering,” said Adrian Vella, CEO of Tipico USA, in a statement.

Tipco features “cutting edge functionality in live betting” along with “wide coverage on player props” to go along with full and anytime cash out options, according to a release announcing the Iowa launch. Tipico also offers single-game parlays, an increasingly popular betting option that allows bettors to string together multiple bets from an individual game into a solitary wager.

Tipico looks for US breakthrough

Though it has doubled its US footprint in less than two weeks, Tipico still has a long road to gaining sizable market share in the US.

A leading European operator, particularly in Germany, Tipico is largely unknown to most US bettors. In New Jersey and Colorado, where it houses its tech operations and customer service center, respectively, Tipico has struggled to break single-digit market share. Both markets have more than 20 live operators apiece, including US market leaders FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars.

This months’ Ohio launch was Tipico’s first in which it started taking bets on the same date as most of its competitors. Sixteen Ohio sportsbooks started taking bets Jan. 1, including the aforementioned market leaders.

Tipico hopes to stand out in the Buckeye State through partnerships with a diverse range of organizations.

Tipico is the official sportsbook of MLS’ Columbus Crew and also has a first-of-its-kind deal with live entertainment organizer AEG presents. The sportsbook also has a media partnership with USA Today owner Gannet, which uses its odds within its publications.

The Iowa launch as well as the pending Indiana launch come through Tipico’s partnership with Caesars, which operates casinos in both states. Tipico hasn’t announced any further expansion plans, but an extended Caesars partnership could lead to similar market access deals in additional online sports betting markets such as Louisiana.

Iowa betting shift continues

In Iowa, Tipico joins one of the largest – and most dynamic – rosters of legal betting options.

One of the first states to legalize online sports betting, Iowa’s market structure and business-friendly tax rates have made it a target of most major US operators and a launching pad for upstart companies. Along with the quartet of US market leaders, other major brands including PointsBet, Barstool, Hard Rock and BetRivers have gone live in the Hawkeye State, some since as early as 2019.

As of January 2023, 18 licensed sportsbooks are still taking bets in Iowa. That no longer includes FUBO, which stopped taking bets nationally in October. MaximBet, which had an Iowa market access deal, also folded in 2022.

The TwinSpires mobile app also stopped taking sports bets in the state after parent company Churchill Downs closed its online sportsbook offerings early last year.

Along with most major national brands, Iowa also is one of just a handful of states with the Circa online sportsbook, which has been lauded by sports bettors for its high betting limits for “sharps.” Iowa has several additional national brands including Bally Bet, Betfred, Betway and SuperBook.

Iowa’s regulatory structure has provided an entry point for several smaller and regional brands. That includes ELITE, Q Sportsbook and ClutchBet, a subsidiary of Australia’s BlueBet sportsbook.

Tipico will partner with concert venue and event operator AEG Presents in a first-of-its-kind deal between a US sportsbook and a live entertainment company.

Tipico will become the exclusive sportsbook sponsor of multiple AEG Presents owned and operated music venues across Ohio and the surrounding area, according to a release from the two companies Tuesday. Tipico will also become a “presenting partner” of the “Best Bet Concert Series,” which includes 32 separate concerts that will take place annually at select venues.

“Our research revealed that our customers are almost as passionate about attending concerts and music festivals as they are about watching and betting on their favorite sports,” said Adrian Vella, CEO of Tipico North America, in a statement. “Our new customers can enjoy exclusive benefits at venues such as KEMBA Live! and Agora Theatre.”

This is the first such deal between a regulated US sportsbook and a live entertainment company.

AEG Presents manages major live music and arts events including Coachella as well as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It also promotes tours for major artists such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Taylor Swift and dozens of others.

“We are very excited to welcome Tipico as our exclusive sponsor in the sportsbook category at our music venues in Ohio,” said Andrew Klein, Managing Director, AEG Global Partnerships, in a statement. “Together, we look forward to continuing to bring unparalleled live music and entertainment experiences as well as unique on-site perks to the local residents we both serve across the Ohio region.”

Along with naming rights and sponsorships at certain concerts and entertainment venues, Tipico will work with AEG Presents for sports betting promotions in Ohio. Tipico is one of roughly 20 online sportsbooks set to start taking bets in Ohio when legal wagering begins Jan. 1, 2023.

The partnership with AEG Presents is the latest move for Tipico as it looks to market its mark in the US. It signed a deal with USA Today parent company Gannett last year in one of the most significant deals between a legal sportsbook and a major media company.

Tipico is also partnered with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew for an online sports betting license in the state.

The Malta-based sportsbook operator is the leading sportsbook in Germany. It has partnership deals with the German Bundesliga soccer league as well as some of its most high-profile teams.

Tipico is live now in Colorado, where it has a technology office, and New Jersey, where it has its US headquarters. Both states have more than 20 other operators live now.

Tipico expects to start taking bets in Indiana and Iowa as well as Ohio beginning next year.

Tipico’s deals come as the company has struggled to gain more than low single-digit market share in either live current market. One of the largest gaming brands in the world, Tipico is still relatively unknown to most Americans, especially compared to more prominent American brands such as DraftKings and FanDuel.

The partnership with AEG Presents will increase Tipico’s brand awareness among new fan bases in Ohio, while providing customers with exclusive access to music and live entertainment events and performances, according to the release.

Fanatics is edging closer to a US sports betting launch after CEO Michael Rubin sold his stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.

Rubin held an approximate 10% stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment – the parent company of both franchises – but is selling to avoid any conflict of interest or integrity.

For example, NBA rules prohibit team owners from operating gambling platforms.

Rubin said: “As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers.

“With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year – which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally – and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues.

“Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan,” he added.

A statement on the Fanatics official website said: “Michael spent more than a decade as a partner of the Philadelphia 76ers before selling his ownership stake in the team in June 2022 to focus his efforts on Fanatics’ expansion across the broader sports ecosystem.”

Thank you, @sixers fans ❤️ pic.twitter.com/46YX0Zoahm

— Michael Rubin (@michaelrubin) June 22, 2022

Fanatics is a sports merchandising company worth in excess of $25bn. It boasts an active user base of more than 80 million sports fans.

The company has filed a trademark for the BETFANATICS brand and assembled a high-profile executive team led by former FanDuel CEO Matt King.

The brand is expected to do battle with the likes of FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM in the US market, but has been looking for the appropriate technology and market access partner.

According to a CNBC exclusive, Fanatics may have found that partner in German betting operator Tipico.

Tipico already has a small presence in the US already via market access deals in New Jersey and Colorado and is the market leader for online sports betting in its domestic Germany.

We kind of like this. Tipico gets Fanatics U.S. market access, OSB + iGaming tech, and some European talent. Germany exposure, per @gamblinglamb, could also be upside-generative (rather than simply peeled off). h/t @astraffon for the article link: https://t.co/oT2UB3Uj32

— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) June 23, 2022

Crucially, the company is run on proprietary betting technology, which Fanatics is currently lacking.

CNBC said a deal has not yet been reached, with the two parties at an impasse over price.

Tipico is privately owned. Private equity giant CVC acquired a majority stake in the business in 2016, which valued the company at around €1.4bn.

Photo: Flickr/Kimberly White for TechCrunch