British Bookmaker Betfred to Start US Sports Betting Operations in Iowa, Plans Locations Across the Country

Posted on: July 19, 2019, 04:51h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2019, 05:00h.

The US sports betting market is about to get a new competitor.

Betfred runs more than 1,600 locations in Great Britain, including this one in London’s Putney district. The company announced this week it will open its first US sportsbook in Iowa. (Image: Edwardx/Wikimedia)

Betfred has signed an agreement with Elite Casino Resorts to bring the British-based sportsbook brand to Iowa. Last week, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) approved Betfred as an out-of-state vendor.

According to a release, Betfred will serve as the exclusive sportsbook for Elite’s Grand Falls Casino Resort. The Larchwood venue is located on the South Dakota border in the northwest corner of the state.

Betfred started as a single shop 52 years ago by brothers Fred and Peter Done, who used their winnings from a bet placed on England to win the World Cup the year prior to create the company. According to the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission, Betfred’s 1,644 parlors make it Britain’s third-largest sportsbook market, trailing only William Hill and Ladbrokes.

The Betfred announcement comes a month after Elite received approval from the IGRC to bring on Bet.Works as a technology partner for its sportsbook operations at all three of the company’s Iowa casinos.

Stephen Crystal, the principal partner of SCCG Management, told on Friday that approval happened because the agreement between Elite and Betfred had not been finalized for the Grand Falls casino. Crystal said Bet.Works will now provide the technical platform for Elite’s other two casinos in the state.

Crystal’s group is representing BetFred in US markets.

A spokesperson for Bet.Works provided with this statement on Thursday, “If Elite has filed Bet.Works with the IRGC, then one can assume Bet.Works will be Elite Casinos technology provider but officially Bet.Works has no comment at this time.”

Attempts to reach Elite officials were unsuccessful.

Nationwide Plans

The deal with Elite comes less than three months after Betfred made its US debut at the Betting on Sports America 2019 Convention in New Jersey. At the Grand Falls Casino, Betfred will offer both a retail and online sportsbook.

While Betfred will open in Iowa first, it most certainly won’t serve as the company’s only shop in America.

We have active negotiations going on in approximately 30 states,” he said. “Suffice it to say, our intent is to build a nationwide company of a similar stature to what Betfred enjoys in the UK.”

As far as when the Iowa book opens, Crystal said that’s too soon to say. Work on the retail book continues, Crystal said.

State officials have said the goal is to get everything in place to start taking bets next month.

Sportsbooks Interested in Iowa

Betfred will be joining what looks to be a very competitive marketplace in Iowa. There are 22 casinos in the state, counting three operated by tribal communities.

Already William Hill has agreements with four casinos in the state. PointsBet also has plans to open its first brick-and-mortar sportsbook in the state as well.

In addition, the sports betting law allows for each casino to partner with up to two online sportsbooks.

The only restrictions on online sportsbooks will be that customers must register at the participating casino for an online account during the first 18 months. After the 18-month window expires, future customers can set up their accounts directly online.