- Sports betting launched in Colorado on May 1 as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Over 20 different sports betting companies have or will launch a mobile app in Colorado during 2020.
- The latest to enter the market is Australia based PlayUp.
Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic there is plenty of activity in the red hot Colorado sports betting market. While many jurisdictions have seen their regulatory bodies enter complete ‘shutdown mode’ during the coronavirus pandemic that hasn’t been the case in Colorado. The state was able to launch as scheduled on May 1 despite most outside observers suggesting that it was impossible given the unprecedented circumstances. This was the result of some impressive work by the Colorado Division of Gaming–their offices were closed on March 17 and despite having to conduct business remotely they were able to process license applications and finalize the catalog of betting sports to keep the timeline on track.
The first month of revenue reporting gave a preview of what is to come in Colorado. For the month of May, the state handled $25.6 million in wagering action in the face of monumental challenges. The state’s retail gaming industry was closed at the time so the entire handle was done via mobile apps. There were only four mobile apps online during the first month and they were able to sign up a client base sufficient to generate this handle despite the state being locked down. As if these challenges didn’t provide sufficient headwind there was also the biggest issue that the entire industry was facing–very few sports to bet on. Colorado’s top betting sports for May were the same as in Nevada–table tennis followed by UFC and Korean baseball.
In the press release that accompanied the May revenue numbers Colorado’s gaming regulators indicate that they have awarded a total of 25 internet based operator licenses (online/mobile) and 19 retail sportsbook operator licenses. These totals don’t include the most recent company that has announced plans to establish a presence in the Centennial State. Australian sports betting company PlayUp has announced a partnership with the Bull Durham Casino in Black Hawk for Colorado market access rights.
PLAYUP IS PLANNING A BIG US PRESENCE STARTING IN COLORADO
PlayUp has confirmed that they’ve secured market access rights in ‘multiple jurisdictions’ across the United States. The company established an office in Nevada earlier this year and has hired a new CEO to head up their US division. Dr. Laila Mintas has previously served in a number of sports gaming leadership roles including sports data powerhouse Sportradar where she oversaw all US operations. She’s excited about entering the Colorado market:
“We selected Colorado as the first US state to enter as we believe it has great potential, with a population of almost 6 million people that traditionally love sports. The Sports Betting market in Colorado has a potential market size of $300 million USD. As we are an online–only brand, our products are very scalable, also in times of social distancing.”
PlayUp is partnering with the Bull Durham Casino in Black Hawk. The Bull Durham property is housed inside a historic building that dates back to the 1800’s. Bull Durham was one of the early entrants into the Colorado gaming market dating back to 1993 and has 2500 feet of gaming space with slots and video poker. Casino GM Doug James had this to say about his property’s partnership with PlayUp:
“I am proud to announce that Bull Durham Casino will partner with Australian owned sports betting company PlayUp. We are eager to partner with PlayUp to offer online sports betting as well as other innovative online products, to our players at Bull Durham Casino and all Coloradans interested in using the newest technology available in sports betting.”
PlayUp is hoping to launch in time for NFL football season. They use a proprietary betting platform and have an in-house risk and trading team. The PlayUp website describes their technology as follows:
PlayUp’s all-in-one sports and racebook solution is custom built to be a highly flexible, scalable and robust enough to cope with the needs of our multi-territory operation and the demands of today’s players. PlayUp can handle any type of sport or event plus any type of bet across fixed-odds and pari-mutuel bet types. All managed by our highly experienced trading team who have a 360-degree view of their liability and risk centrally across all channels.
The platform covers more than 28 sports as well as international horse racing and offers over 250,000 wagering events per year. The branding on their Australia facing betting website boasts that they are ‘Proudly Australian’ and they offer a mix of native sports like NRL rugby and Aussie rules football along with international sports like soccer and table tennis and all of the big US sports.
PlayUp’s announcement is the latest in a busy week for Colorado sports betting. Late last week, William Hill entered the state with kiosks at Black Hawk’s two Caesars Entertainment owned properties and they have a mobile app in the works. The Ameristar Casino opened the fourth ‘brick and mortar’ sportsbook in Black Hawk. In addition, Iowa based Elite Sportsbook and Stockholm based Betsson announced their plans to enter Colorado’s booming sports betting ecosystem.