Now that Carousel Group has a New Jersey market access deal with Caesars Entertainment, what happens next?
Well, there is that little matter of getting licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Figuring out the right ways to roll out the SportsBetting.com brand in an established market with 19 apps and counting, is a pretty important step, too.
So is the technology. But the Carousel Group team, the company behind SportsBetting.com, is targeting a 2021 Garden State launch. The exact date is to be determined.
Outside of Colorado, where the brand made its U.S. debut last year, the company is still a relative unknown on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Expect that to change later this year as Carousel Group sees bigger things ahead, with launching an NJ sportsbook app ranking pretty high on the list.
As far as what the future holds, Play NJ spoke exclusively with Daniel Graetzer, founder and CEO of Carousel Group.
Play NJ: Why will New Jersey be one of the first US markets (but not the first) for the SportsBetting.com app?
Daniel Graetzer: New Jersey is the birthplace of online casino and online sports betting and it has proven to be a fantastic market. We feel there is still plenty of room for a differentiated product and that is what we are building for New Jersey and the US market in general.
New Jersey has always been right at the top of our list but our deal in Colorado was the right fit for us to soft launch with last year. Now we are expanding to three more great states [New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa].
Play NJ: Carousel Group has been rumored for the NJ market for a while. Can you elaborate on the path leading up to the Caesars’ deal?
Daniel Graetzer: We have been talking to a lot of casinos about market access in New Jersey and across the US, so I guess the rumors stem from that. It took us some time to find the right partner and the right deal but eventually, we worked out a multi-state deal with Caesars and we are super excited about the future.
Play NJ: How are things going in the Colorado market?
Colorado is a booming market that has outperformed all the initial forecasts.
This state is a great example of what it means to be a progressive regulator. They have made great efforts to collaborate with the industry, to create a healthy balance of freedom for the operator and protective measures for the player.
… This market was a brilliant soft launch for us, and now we are getting ready to scale up and expand across the US.
Play NJ: New Jersey is setting sports betting records on almost a monthly basis. Are you surprised by the results?
Daniel Graetzer: No, I am not surprised at all by these results. I think all US states are doing exceptionally well and we could not be more excited about it.
Even though it will be tough to gain a strong market share, we are confident our strategy will be effective long-term.
Play NJ: The NJ sports betting market currently includes 19 apps. How will your product be different from the others?
Daniel Graetzer: We have watched the market closely and we admire and respect a lot of our competitors for a variety of reasons including their product, marketing, and financial acumen.
To be successful long-term, we feel it is important to have a high-quality and differentiated user experience. We also feel that it is extremely important to architect software for a multi-state world, to enable continuous and efficient updates to the technology. These are some of the reasons why we decided on in-house tech and operations. While our apps are getting more and more competitive with every software release, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to compete with the tier 1 operators, but the foundation for our success is there.
On the marketing and finance side of the business, we are hiring great people and working extremely hard, and we are excited for the challenge to compete against the world’s greatest operators.
Play NJ: What sports will you offer?
Daniel Graetzer: Currently, we have 14 of the most popular US sports on our platform and we are starting to increase our offering with more fringe sports. We also offer a lot of props for teams and players, great in-game offerings, and tons of booster and parlay promos. We have a growing in-house trading team that enables us to offer 24/7 sports trading.
[Carousel Group] is super focused on providing the best pricing and responding quickly to market demands.
Play NJ: What are some of the ways you plan on introducing the product prior to launch?
Now that we signed our market access deal with Caesars, we are currently building out the infrastructure and going through the licensing process in New Jersey, Indiana, and Iowa.
We have big campaigns and promotions coming, which you will hear more about as we get closer to launch and we are currently looking for the right media deals to help us really get the brand in front of consumers in a meaningful way.
Play NJ: Do you think you will be live in NJ for the 2021 NFL season?
Daniel Graetzer: Our original goal was to be live in all our new states for NFL season, but it is possible one of them might take a bit longer and launch in Q4.
Play NJ: What are the plans as far as eventually rolling out an NJ online casino offering?
Daniel Graetzer: We are extremely excited to enter the US online casino market and we will be submitting our new casino to the DGE in a few months, and plan to offer both sports and casino [products] to our bettors on day one. The NJ online casino market grew 100% year over year, and it is a big focus for us.
Play NJ: What still needs to be done before you go live in New Jersey?
Daniel Graetzer: We are going through the licensing process for our company and for our software.
It is no small task to get everything submitted, approved, and licensed. We have been adapting our platform and app to make sure it is compliant with New Jersey’s specific regulations and we have been working hard on that for many months. We plan to get our application submitted soon and our tech submitted to the DGE test lab by summer.