- The state of Colorado is still on track for a May 1 sports betting launch.
- All gaming properties in the state are currently closed through at least April 17.
- The Colorado Division of Gaming has released their initial catalog of approved sports, leagues and wagers.
We’ve been telling you for over a year now (well, at least close to a year now) that Colorado sports betting is going to be huge. As in ‘challenging Nevada for the title of sports betting capital of the United States’ huge. Earlier today, we ran down the 17 companies that already have betting apps in the works for Colorado and expected to come online by the end of the year. The 17 number is significant–it’s one more than New Jersey currently has in operation. While New Jersey’s regulation was written to benefit the incumbents in their legacy casino industry there’s more companies set to enter the fray in Colorado.
So by the end of 2020, Colorado will have more mobile betting apps and more independent line originators than any state in the country. That includes New Jersey and, yes, even the Silver State of Nevada. Incidentally, Nevada has 15 mobile apps counting (for now at least) CG Technologies which will likely end up being absorbed by William Hill once the state’s gaming industry starts to open up again. Nevada residents must still register and post up in person to use a property’s mobile app. That means if someone lives in Las Vegas and wants to use the Atlantis Race and Sports app they’ll be taking a trip to Reno. Colorado allows bettors to register and post up online from anywhere in the Centennial State.
The latest information to come out of Colorado is the initial list of sports, leagues and wagers approved for betting. With the exception of one silly regulatory misstep the state appears to have gotten this right as well. The misstep? Prop bets are prohibited on college sports. That’s why college football and basketball remains unapproved in this first document–the state’s gaming regulators are still working out the implications of this dubious dictum. Hopefully, it’ll get scrapped at some point–the sooner the better. If not, it’ll likely mean limited live betting options available on college sports in addition to no prop bets. This sucks, but given that Colorado has pretty much nailed everything else I can live with this (though I hope I won’t have to). If you want to follow along as we run through everything here’s the link to the full list–it’s an Excel spreadsheet so plan accordingly.
COLORADO APPROVED CATALOG OF EVENTS AND WAGERS 4-23-20 (.XLSX SPREADSHEET)
With the exception of the aforementioned college props issue it’s hard not to be happy with the list. There’s even a small (but I would assume soon to expand) selection of Esports including Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA2, League of Legends, NBA2K, Overwatch, Rainbow Six and even E-NASCAR. Fantasy sports type wagers (presumably excepting college sports) are also available.
The list of more traditional sports is pretty exhaustive. There’s plenty of European sports like darts, cricket even handball, floorball, pro field hockey, beach soccer and even pesapallo (it’s the national sport of Finland and described as a ‘combination of traditional ball-batting team games and American baseball’). There’s also all of the Olympic Sports (Summer and Winter) and the breakout betting hit of the Pandemic sports shutdown, table tennis. The list of leagues approved is also exhaustive or close to it. For example, there are 1246 different table tennis leagues, competitions and events specifically approved for betting. The Tajikistan 1. League table tennis competition might never become a huge event among Colorado’s betting public but it’s good to know that a sportsbook could offer it if they wanted to.
The menu of bets? Also well done. MMA, for example, has a list of 41 approved bet types including fighter weight props, fighter significant striking accuracy, rounds betting, most takedowns and even ‘fight of the night. The soccer betting options are as insane as any European facing sportsbooks with over 300 approved wagers, 224 governing bodies and 1676 leagues, competitions and events.
The point isn’t just to have thousands upon thousands of approved betting options. The important thing is that it allows bookmakers–and not bureaucrats or politicians–to decide what sort of wagering product mix is best for their client base. The Colorado Division of Gaming has made clear that they’re going to work with the sports betting professionals and not against them. This portents well for getting new events, leagues and bet types added to the board in timely fashion.
There’s still room for improvement to be sure. I’ll reserve judgement on the college sports betting menu until it is finalized. At some point, I’d like to see options for non-sport, novelty type bets including financials, entertainment and even politics. A couple of things not on the ‘approved’ list that should be poker and chess. Books would get plenty of interest in the World Series of Poker and with the World Chess Championship coming up next year that could be a ‘sleeper’ hit. Chess is a huge betting event internationally and on that basis alone should be on the betting board.
Based on what I’ve seen so far it doesn’t look like the Division of Gaming will be unreasonable about adding new sports wagering options. Expanding the betting ecosystem to include financial, political and entertainment events will obviously be a more cumbersome process. That said, Colorado has done a nice job at giving their nascent sports betting industry the ability to compete against the existing marketplace including offshore betting. Further expanding the wagering menu will enhance this competition friendly environment.
We’ll update the betting catalog over the next few weeks including any changes to the college sports menu. Stay tuned…