Crikey, a new sportsbook operator from down under has secured a deal to for Iowa online sports betting.

BlueBet, an Australian online sports betting operator, has reached a 5-year deal with Dubuque Racing Association Ltd, the operator of Q Casino, to offer online betting in the state, according to a press release.

Q Casino is a full-service casino located near the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa. It is licensed by the Iowa Gaming Association and has been in operation since 1985.

BlueBets entry into Iowa online sports betting

The agreement, pending regulatory approval, is the first American agreement the Australian company has reached. The deal will initially be for 5 years with the Iowa casino operator, and BlueBet will have the opportunity to renew for another 5 years at its conclusion. The agreement is a “skin” agreement, as BlueBet will operate the company’s online sports betting efforts.

BlueBet CEO Bill Richmond noted that Iowa’s sports betting market has “huge potential” for the company.

“This is a significant milestone in BlueBet’s entry to the USA market. We are taking a very considered, staged approach to market entry in the USA, and we are tremendously excited to be announcing this agreement with the Dubuque Racing Association. We are initially launching a B2C (business-to-consumer) business to demonstrate both the capability of our technology and our team, both of which have been honed by years of successful operation in Australia, ahead of moving to our Sportsbook-as-a-solution offering in the USA. This strategy allows us to access the tremendous USA opportunity without large ongoing capital expenditure,” he said in a release.

Iowa’s impressive sports betting market

Richmond said Iowa’s online sports betting market has grown to a $1 billion market in fiscal year 2021. Iowa sports betting has been legal since 2019, but in 2020 the state did away with a requirement for customers to register online sports betting accounts in person at participating casinos.

The company is also awaiting a decision on a pending license application in Virginia.

“Iowa is a large wagering market with huge potential, and it perfectly fits our criteria. Since sports betting was approved by the Iowa legislature in August 2019 it has grown rapidly to a $1 billion market in fiscal year 2021, 85% of which is now placed through mobile or online. We look forward to growing our online sports book in partnership with Dubuque and expect our mobile first online offering to resonate strongly with customers who have demonstrated a strong affinity for mobile wagering,” he said.