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Colorado’s Sky Ute Casino Launches Sports Betting App

James Murphy
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Sports betting launched in Colorado on May 1, 2020.
  • With all gaming properties in the state currently closed sports betting is ‘mobile only’ for the time being.
  • Colorado’s tribal casinos are allowed to offer sports betting under their compact with the state.

Colorado’s Sky Ute Casino Resort has launched a branded sports betting app in partnership with Nevada based US Bookmaking. Like the rest of the state’s gaming properties the Sky Ute Casino is currently closed though they will eventually be offering a retail sports book. The Sky Ute Casino is located in Ignacio, Colorado which is just over the Colorado/New Mexico border three and a half hours North of Albuquerque.

US Bookmaking is a Las Vegas based company launched in 2016 following the repeal of PASPA. To this point, they’ve focused on the native American tribal casino market and bill themselves as the ‘only native American owned sportsbook company in the US.’ The company has a very impressive team led by Vic Salerno, a name well known to anyone familiar with Nevada sports betting. Salerno is probably best known for his time as Chairman of American Wagering, the parent company of Leroy’s Sports Books. Prior to their purchase by William Hill, Leroy’s was the numerical champion of Nevada sports betting with 130 locations.

While at American Wagering, Salerno launched the first computerized sportsbook platform and launched the now commonplace practice of the ‘network hub’ which centrally controlled the betting lines and risk management for the entire Leroy’s chain. American Wagering also pioneered a couple of other technologies–they were the first Nevada betting company to use self service wagering kiosks and in 2010 launched the first mobile betting application in the United States.

Another name at US Bookmaking very familiar to the Nevada betting community is Robert Walker who serves as the company’s Director of Sports Book Operations. Walker ran several prominent Las Vegas sportsbooks for Boyd Gaming (Fremont, Sam’s Town, Stardust) and MGM Resorts (Mirage, Bellagio, MGM Grand Mandalay Bay). The entire team is rooted in the Nevada sports betting business at some level.


US Bookmaking launched the first sportsbook at a tribal gaming property in March 2019 at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel in Bernalillo, NM just outside of Albuquerque. New Mexico became the sixth state in the US to offer sports betting but to date it exists only at the tribal casinos. The state government has yet to create a regulatory framework of their own but the New Mexico gaming properties are able to offer sports betting due to their existing Class III compact agreement. US Bookmaking now operates the sports betting at three New Mexico properties–the Santa Ana Star, Isleta Resort Casino and Santa Claran Hotel Casino. The US Bookmaking website list a couple of tribal properties outside of New Mexico as ‘coming soon’: Iowa’s Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel and Michigan’s Odawa Casino properties. Technically, the Sky Ute Resort is also in ‘coming soon’ status–the app is operational but when I looked at it today it had only ‘sample data’ with no bettable games offered.

The Sky Ute Casino Resort is in a similar situation as the Santa Ana Star. They haven’t been licensed by the state of Colorado but can offer sports betting under their Class III agreement. There are only two tribal gaming properties in Colorado–the other is the Ute Mountain Casino located about 90 minutes West of the Sky Ute property in Towaoc, Colorado. The Ute Mountain Casino has also announced plans to open a sportsbook though it looks as if the COVID-19 shutdown has slowed their progress.

The Colorado sports betting marketplace is off to a slow start due to the COVID-19 pandemic but there are four apps already operational: FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers are up and running and the BetMonarch Race & Sports app along with the offering from Smarkets fixed odds sportsbook brand SBK due anytime now.

As soon as the COVID-19 issues are dealt with the Colorado sports betting marketplace is going to be insane. With the addition of US Bookmaking there are now 20 different sports betting companies in the process of launching an app by the end of the year. Also of interest–Don Best has added the first two Colorado sportsbooks to their live odds screen with the Monarch (under the abbreviation ‘Monarch BH’) and the Sky Ute set to go once their wagering launches.

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