Meet BlueBet, The Australian Sportsbook With Eyes on Virginia

Posted on July 19, 2021 - Last Updated on July 20, 2021

Although BlueBet Sportsbook plans to make its US debut in Iowa, the Australian sports betting operator also has its eyes on Virginia.

In fact, BlueBet hopes to know its fate in Old Dominion by the end of the summer.

This past week, BlueBet inked a casino agreement with Dubuque Racing Association, which operates Q Casino in Dubuque, Iowa.

BlueBet CEO Bill Richmond recently told PlayIA.com the company chose Iowa for a few reasons. They include the state’s embrace of mobile wagering, as well as its fair tax rate and population base.

Sound familiar, Virginians? It’s one reason BlueBet wants to become a future Virginia sportsbook.

BlueBet waiting on Virginia Lottery’s decision

In addition to Virginia, BlueBet has its sights set on other regional markets. They include Tennessee and Maryland, as well as Colorado farther out west.

As Richmond told PlayVirginia:

“We’ve launched a license application in Virginia. So it’s the other state we sort of progressed a bit more with. … We’ve launched an application with the Virginia State Lottery. As I understand it, there are probably a lot of applications.”

Richmond said the company hopes to get an answer on its application by “by late August or early September.” Then, if successful, BlueBet could launch in VA in the first part of 2022.

So, why go after states in and around the DMV like Virginia and Tennessee? And also in Maryland, which hopes to launch a robust sports betting market in time for the fall football season? If BlueBet can get a footing in those mid-Atlantic markets, it bodes well for future big markets. That could include California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

“When we get to these states like Virginia, Colorado, etc., it’s really about showing what we can do in the US market and what our experience will allow us to do,” he said.

Dropping the BlueBet name in US

With seven sportsbooks operational and three more expected to launch soon, the Virginia sports betting market is strong. In fact, it was the first state to reach $1 billion in wagers.

Richmond thinks BlueBet can get some market share in the commonwealth. However, don’t expect it to come under the BlueBet name.

The moniker is a good fit Down Under, where “True Blue” means someone is genuinely Australian. However, it can have different connotations in the US. And Richmond wants to ensure that any future American bettors don’t associate “BlueBet” with politics.

As Richmond said:

“We’re probably not going to use the ‘BlueBet’ brand in the US market. Obviously, it’s become quite a divisive thing in the US — the blue and red state sort of thing.”

But can BlueBet (or whatever its name will be here stateside) make an impact? While an Australian company may not seem the best fit for American sports, Richmond said that’s not the case. In fact, Australian bettors have quite the taste for our sports offerings.

“We’ve got great experience betting on US sports, and US sports are super popular in Australia, which might be something that isn’t necessarily understood,” he said.

As for its US debut, Richmond said BlueBet hopes to start taking wagers in Iowa in early 2022. But expect a new brand name, as well as a possible Virginia launch, to bet part of that US arrival, too.

(PlayIA.com’s Russ Mitchell contributed to this report.)

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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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