New Jersey Regulators Revoke PlayUp's Ability To Take Sports Bets

July 21, 2023
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The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has issued an order “revoking the transactional waivers” granted to PlayUp that allow the company to conduct sports wagering in the state.

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The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has issued an order “revoking the transactional waivers” granted to PlayUp that allow the company to conduct sports wagering in the state.

The confirmation from the DGE comes after PlayUp announced Thursday (July 20) that its site was no longer accepting wagers from New Jersey customers.

In a three-page revocation letter addressed to PlayUp CEO Daniel Simic issued on Wednesday (July 19), the DGE informed him of the revocation of the company’s transactional waivers with Freehold Raceway and Amelco.

According to the letter signed by DGE director David Rebuck, the company also had a license for iGaming in the state, although it had not launched in partnership with Harrah’s Atlantic City, owned by Caesars Entertainment.

A transactional waiver allows the company to operate in New Jersey for an initial period of up to six months and may be renewed during the consideration of a license application. PlayUp’s transactional waivers with Freehold and Amelco were due to expire on December 23, 2023.

Its transactional waiver to conduct iGaming was set to expire on August 15.

“PlayUp is not permitted to transact any new internet gaming or sports wagering related business with any New Jersey casino or racetrack,” Rebuck wrote.

Patrons will be able to access to their funds and can withdraw them from the site.

Additionally, PlayUp is obligated to pay out any pending wagers, while no new wagers can be accepted, a DGE spokeswoman told VIXIO GamblingCompliance in an email Thursday.

Further, the DGE said it will not consider any unilateral void of any pending wagers.

PlayUp on Thursday contacted the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming, requesting to place its licensed PlayUp sportsbook application and website platforms into a maintenance mode, where active betting and customer funded deposits are suspended.

"Meaning no more betting will be processed going forward, but players can, and are encouraged to, withdraw their funds from the sportsbook platform," the Division of Gaming said in statement.

"[We] will continue to work with PlayUp throughout this process to ensure compliance and for the protection of the Colorado citizens that utilized their sportsbook."

Besides operating in the U.S., the Australian-based company holds online betting licenses in Australia, New Zealand, and India. The Financial Review reported on Sunday (July 16) that the company was searching for investors in an effort to raise $10m after a failed effort to list on the Nasdaq in January.

PlayUp also was negotiating a sale to Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX before the cryptocurrency exchange collapsed in November. The Financial Review reported FTX planned to invest $35m in PlayUp.

Simic was unavailable for comment.

The issues with PlayUp began on June 29, when the DGE requested financial information from the company that included payroll and payroll tax information, as well as bank statements from between January and June 2023, during which time it was reported that PlayUp missed an employee payroll.

The DGE sent the request to Glenn MacPherson, who they believed to be the company’s chief financial officer, with a deadline of July 6. After no response was received, DGE staff had a phone conversation with Simic and a company lawyer.

“You indicated on the call that Glenn MacPherson was no longer the company’s chief financial officer, and you requested the information be sent to your attention,” Rebuck wrote. “This request included a return date of July 14, 2023.”

On July 14, with no response having been received, the DGE sent a final request for information with a warning that failure to comply by the deadline “may result in a finding of non cooperation against PlayUp.”

Such a finding can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including revocation of a transactional waiver and denial of a license, according to the DGE.

After the close of business on July 14, PlayUp provided a payroll summary and payroll statements for January 2023 only, as well as a quarterly tax filing dated March 2023. No bank statements were provided and no information for the months of February through June was included.

Rebuck notified PlayUp on July 17 that its “response was not responsive” and they needed to provide the additional information.

“This information has not been provided to date,” the letter reads.

The DGE’s notice also highlights several other issues related to non-compliance with state statutes and regulations. Those include outstanding invoices owed to the DGE, claims of investigating a potential fraud charge for a patron in March that was never notified to the division and no explanation for the delay in finalizing the investigation.

In a note to its customers posted Thursday on its New Jersey website, PlayUp expressed its “sincerest gratitude for your unwavering loyalty and support through our journey.”

“In our relentless pursuit of enhancing and improving our services, the difficult decision to pause our operations temporarily has been made. As a result, we will no longer accept any new deposits and wagers on our current platform.”

The company assured customers that it will honor all pending wagers. It also thanked the DGE for the support and collaboration it received, describing its decision to cease accepting wagers as a “transitional period.”

The letter did note that PlayUp could reapply for a transactional waiver and license in the future.

“Prior to any re-authorization, PlayUp must resubmit its entire platform to the division for testing and satisfy a technical and licensing compliance review, as well as satisfy all outstanding inquiries including monies owed to the state.”

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