Colorado sports betting regulators made final preparations for a May 1 start at Thursday’s meeting.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved more CO sports betting licensees and finalized budget arrangements in a teleconference meeting. Regulators made minor revisions to the list of wagers on offer but, otherwise, pushed forward despite the absence of sports during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dan Hartman, the director of the Colorado Divison of Gaming, surveyed operators about launching during the pause. He found enthusiasm despite the unusual circumstances, conceivably from potential customer acquisition opportunities before football season.
“We have some operators that are excited about getting started even though it’s a slow time for sports,” Hartman said.
The commission approved a lone change Thursday, removing markets for in-play wagering on NCAA games. Colorado’s voter-approved statute restricts those bets.
Colorado sports betting licenses approved
The commission gave the go-ahead to another handful of licenses Thursday, including SuperBook’s first foray outside Nevada. SuperBook will partner with The Lodge to dive into sports betting in Colorado.
The only other notable name on Thursday’s list is SBTech. Despite the company’s ongoing outages from a recent cyberattack, SBTech received unanimous approval among others in its category.
Hartman said 25 internet sports betting licensees and 19 retail licensees can launch on the May 1 start date. License fees in Colorado compare favorably to the rest of the country: $2,000 per master licensee and $1,200 for most others.
Licenses granted at Thursday’s meeting
First master licenses, including:
- Wildwood Casino at Cripple Creek
- The Famous Bonanza Casino Corp.
- Easy Street Casino
- Grand Z Casino
- Johnny Z Casino
- Z Casino Black Hawk
Temporary retail and internet sports betting operator licenses, including:
- Betfred Sports
Temporary vendor major licenses, including:
- Betbull Limited
- SBTech Malta Limited
What CO sports betting will look like
Colorado sets up as one of the most intriguing case studies in the young US sports betting market. International operators will face off with daily fantasy sports giants and legacy sportsbooks from Nevada.
Only three towns in the Rocky Mountains can offer in-person sports wagering. The reality furthers the perception that mobile sports betting in Colorado will account for the bulk of handle.
Hartman said Thursday that the state would operate on a presumption of 85% of handle coming via mobile and online. That benchmark squares with recent returns from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania became the first state to cross the 90% threshold for mobile share in its March report.
Like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Colorado sports betting features remote registration and funding of accounts. Combined with the state’s distributed population centers and volatile climate, mobile betting in Colorado could prove especially popular.