Online Gambling Operator PlayUp Sees House of Cards Fall, Starting With New Jersey Shutdown

Online gamblers interested in placing sports bets on PlayUp were out of luck on July 21. That’s because, on July 19, New Jersey regulators revoked PlayUp Sportsbook‘s ability to do business in the state, as well as follow through on its PlayUp Casino plans. Plus, on July 21, the operator’s house of cards continued falling as Colorado regulators announced PlayUp Sportsbook wouldn’t be allowed to accept bets or deposits.

So anyone trying to bet there tonight found an apology letter on the New Jersey site and a stalled app in Colorado.

This may be happening because the Australian online gambling operator appears to lack enough money to continue its US operations right now. Both regulators cited money woes.

On July 19, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) sent a letter to PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic revoking the company’s online gambling permits.

In the “emergency” action, DGE Director David L. Rebuck explained the choice about PlayUp:

  • It owed DGE money
  • The operator had no employees in New Jersey, which is required
  • It failed to update DGE about the status of a bettor’s unmet March 2023 withdrawal request

Bonus checked the list of online sports betting operators “currently operating in Colorado” today on the Colorado Gaming Division (CGD) site. PlayUp wasn’t on it.

That makes sense because Legal Sports Report published this today:

Simic asked Colorado sports betting regulators to put the state’s sportsbook into maintenance mode.

LSR said Simic made the request late Thursday night” to stop bets and deposits. LSR also reported on CGD documents alleging PlayUp had unpaid payroll taxes. LSR and Bonus are Catena Media publications.

UPDATE: 07/28/2023

PlayUp’s Colorado site had the same apology note on it today as the shut-down New Jersey app did last week. The Colorado site is closed now, as well.

More Money Woes

Today, a Twitter user joked that the US PlayUp should be called BellyUp.

While Bonus isn’t saying that, it’s clear the operator does have money woes in its US operation.

In addition to the problems the Colorado and New Jersey regulators found, The Australian Financial Review reported today that PlayUp didn’t pay US workers on the pay dates of June 16 and June 30.

Aaron Weinman and Max Mason wrote for AFR today:

It also delayed paying healthcare benefits last month.

Bonus noticed today that the PlayUp USA page on Facebook saw its last update on April 5. The Twitter account, PlayUp_US, sent its last tweet on June 30.

AFR reporting seems to offer an explanation:

It was not until June 28 that Simic told US staff he was chasing a capital injection, adding that he would respond to the queries from employees.

Even as AFR cites Simic saying the operator no longer has US staff, Simic almost lost his lawyers recently in a case he filed on Nov. 30, 2021. PlayUp Inc. vs. Mintas is still going in the US District Court, District of Nevada. 

However, on March 1, 2023, Simic’s attorneys tried to quit working for Simic and PlayUp on the case against former PlayUp USA CEO Laila Mintas.

On Wednesday, the court ordered both parties to submit a new case schedule by July 27, 2023. The order said Simic’s lawyers delayed the case by two months because Simic hadn’t paid them.

The Operator’s Troubled US History

Simic’s lawsuit against Mintas alleges that she killed a $450 million deal PlayUp was negotiating in August 2021 with the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX Limited.

After that, the bad news about PlayUp continued:

Meanwhile, Rebuck’s DGE letter to Simic says the operator can reapply to offer online gambling in New Jersey without “prejudice.”

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is Lead Writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She specializes in breaking news, legislative coverage, and gambling marketing strategy overviews. To reach Heather with a news tip, email [email protected].
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