PlayUp Sportsbook Won’t Launch on Sunday in Ohio

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PlayUp Sportsbook won’t launch in Ohio’s online gambling marketplace on Sunday.

The Buckeye State is kicking off legal sports betting on New Year’s Day.

However, the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) told Bonus today that PlayUp Limited requested a 2023 hearing on the matter.

The commission notified PlayUp on Dec. 2 that OCCC will “deny PlayUp’s Mobile Management Services Provider License Application.” The redacted letter the commission emailed to Bonus today shows the issue is the PlayUp Slots+ product, which the commission characterizes as illegal. The product simulates slots through pari-mutuel horse racing betting data.

As Bonus wrote in August, the PlayUp Slots+ product that appears to be discontinued “exploits the same legal loophole as land-based historical horse racing (HHR) machines.”

Bonus found today that the app was no longer available in the App Store, its dedicated Facebook page is gone, and links to the product no longer function.

On Dec. 15, SBCAmericas reported PlayUp pulled PlayUp Slots+ in Ohio in order to comply with state law – at the commission’s request.

Meanwhile, PlayUp Sportsbook is live in Colorado and New Jersey. However, its New Jersey online casino that’s listed on its site hasn’t yet launched.

PlayUp Plans to Request Reconsideration

An Ohio PlayUp Sportsbook may not be a dead subject.

OCCC Communications Director Jessica Franks told Bonus today:

The Commission has notified PlayUp that it intends to deny its application for a mobile management services provider license. As part of a licensing suitability investigation, staff uncovered information regarding potential illegal gambling activity by PlayUp, a sports gaming mobile management services provider applicant. I have attached the notice that was sent to PlayUp.

Please note that PlayUp has the right to a hearing and due process. Ultimately, the Commission will vote on any action taken against PlayUp in a public meeting.

Bonus confirmed today that PlayUp requested a hearing. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 18.

However, PlayUp Sportsbook can’t launch until the hearing process is finished. The commission may also deny the site application.

PlayUp History Before Ohio PlayUp Sportsbook

If the PlayUp name sounds familiar, it’s probably because it’s had a troubled start.

On June 8, 2021, the operator announced its intention to enter the US online casino market. In its optimistic 2020 annual report, the company said its American expansion would include sports betting, daily fantasy sports, parimutuel horse racing, esports, and iGaming “on a state-by-state basis, throughout the USA.”

However, one of its first US business moves is still being discussed in courtrooms.

In August 2021, PlayUp entered into negotiations with cryptocurrency exchange FTX Limited, which was considering buying it for $450 million.

That’s when then PlayUp USA CEO Laila Mintas allegedly killed the deal.

During Q4 2021, FTX did invest $35 million in PlayUp. However, the cryptocurrency exchange didn’t pursue the acquisition.

So on Nov. 30, 2021, PlayUp sued Mintas for the claimed breach of contract. The case continues in the US District Court for the District of Nevada, where Mintas is countersuing for defamation.

Then last month, the PlayUp saga was outdone by FTX’s shutdown and bankruptcy filing. Federal prosecutors are pursuing fraud charges against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, and stockholders are suing him and the company, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Also in November, Mintas announced on LinkedIn that she’s now the co-founder and CEO of B2B sports betting and iGaming software provider PlayEngine.

Compared with its history, PlayUp Sportsbook not launching in Ohio on Sunday is a far smaller headline.

About the Author
Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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