Executives at Tipico, one of Europe’s largest online sports betting platforms, called metro Denver the leading contender for a new technology hub as the company looks to expand its U.S. operations.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday morning approved up to $7.5 million in job growth incentive tax credits for the company, which is based in Malta, if it brings 441 jobs over the next eight years to the state. The jobs, which skew heavily toward software and data positions, are expected to come with an average annual wage of $96,315.
“We believe Denver is the right long-term home for our project. We believe it is a place where we can locate people,” said Adrian Vella, who is overseeing the U.S. expansion for the sportsbook, which is currently licensed to operate in New Jersey and Colorado.
The online sports betting platform, Germany’s largest, started its search with more than 100 U.S. metro areas and whittled the field down to Denver, Atlanta and Dallas, John Wellendorf, Tipico’s director of compliance in the U.S., told members of the commission.
The availability of local technology talent, the quality education provided at surrounding universities, and Colorado’s time zone made metro Denver a front-runner, the two executives said.
Michelle Hadwiger, deputy director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, said another advantage the state has was its early approval of online-only sports betting. Colorado voters in November 2019 narrowly approved a ballot measure after online-only sports betting became legal on the federal level. Colorado is one of only 10 states to regulate and tax the emerging industry, Hadwiger said.
“Tax policy and regulation do have a significant effect on company’s entering markets,” she told commissioners.
The company’s board, which has the final say, wanted evidence that choosing metro Denver would be the most financially prudent decision, something the incentives will help with, Wellendorf said.
The commission approved three other incentive awards on Thursday, including $4.5 million in job growth incentive tax credits for a California bioscience company focused on genomic sequencing that could bring 241 jobs to the state.
Project Gold, the codename given to the company, is looking at site locations in Denver or Jefferson counties, as well as in California or Massachusetts, for a new research and manufacturing facility. The jobs in chemistry, biology, engineering and administration will carry an average annual wage of $111,369.
The commission approved an additional $75,000 grant if the company hires 15 of the new workers remotely in rural areas.
Colorado also continues to gain traction with space logistics firms. Project Aardvark, a San Francisco-based company focused on servicing in-orbit satellites, is looking to relocate its headquarters and engineering teams to a city with a more favorable business climate.
It is considering metro Denver, as well as locations in Texas and Florida. The commission approved $4.6 million in job growth incentive tax credits in return for the creation of 196 jobs, primarily in aerospace and software engineering. The jobs come with an average annual wage of $95,867.
A metro Denver robotics firm received approval for $1.1 million in job growth incentive tax credits for the creation of 163 jobs at an average annual wage of $77,298. The company, codenamed Project Robotico, needs more room after growing from 30 employees to 50 in the past three years. It is looking at Arapahoe County and locations in Texas for its expansion.