- Sports betting in Colorado launched on May 1, 2020.
- With all gaming properties in the state closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic sports betting in Colorado is ‘mobile only’ at this point.
- Over 20 different sports betting companies have or will launch a mobile app in Colorado during 2020.
We’ve been well aware that Colorado is going to be a huge sports betting market ever since Governor Jared Polis signed it into law last year. Unlike many states that have started their sports betting regulatory journey with lofty ambitions only to see everything ‘dumbed down’ by politicians and bureaucrats, Colorado has done the opposite. I’ve been bullish on Colorado all along but today–even with the major obstacle of the COVID-19 pandemic–the future of the state’s sports betting industry looks stronger than I ever anticipated.
Earlier this week, Colorado’s 7th mobile sports betting app went live as FoxBet–the partnership between the Stars Group and media giant Fox–joined the party. Colorado is the third state for FoxBet following New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is expected to be one of the biggest at least in terms of the mainstream sports fans and recreational players. They’ve got a lot going for them–the Stars Group knows betting and Fox brings brand familiarity and well known personalities like former Denver Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe. Not surprisingly, the media savvy and affable Sharpe has been front and center in all of FoxBet’s promotional efforts in Colorado. The fact that he’s remained genuinely popular and well liked among Broncos faithful since his retirement only helps FoxBet’s promotional efforts.
The seven mobile betting apps now live in Colorado:
- Monarch Casino Blackhawk
- Sky Ute Casino
Note that you won’t find Sky Ute Casino on the state gaming regulator’s list of licensed sports books and operators. They are able to offer sports betting under their existing Class III gaming compact with the state and are not directly subject to licensing oversight by Colorado’s Division of Gaming. The Sky Ute operation is run by Vic Salerno’s US Bookmaking which has positioned itself as the specialist in sports betting for tribal casinos. The Sky Ute app is still very much a ‘work in progress’ but as of earlier this week it was taking action on NASCAR, NFL futures and the breakout sports betting hit of the Coronavirus pandemic, table tennis.
The fact that Colorado’s sports betting industry is operational at this point is borderline amazing. I’m not usually one to heap praise on state gaming regulators but Colorado’s Division of Gaming has done a hell of a job to get sports betting up and running on time by May 1. They did much of the licensing as well as finalizing regulations and the sports betting catalog remotely. That they’re more effective under challenging circumstances than the majority of state gaming regulators are in the best of times is yet another positive sign for Colorado’s nascent bookmaking industry.
BET365 THE LATEST MAJOR SPORTSBOOK HEADED TO COLORADO
The latest entrant into Colorado’s sports betting market is a big one. UK powerhouse bet365 has been rumored to be getting involved with the Colorado market ever since the beginning and earlier this week they finally made it official. bet365 will partner with New York listed gaming company Century Casinos which operates an eponymously branded property in both Central City and Cripple Creek. The plan is to offer a mobile app under the bet365 brand. Internationally, bet365 is huge–with 45 million customers and 4,300 employees globally. By many metrics, they’re the biggest online betting company in the world with annual sports betting revenues close to $4 billion (US). bet365 will need to be licensed in Colorado and there’s no reason to think that won’t happen. Colorado will be the second US state for bet365 mobile after New Jersey. Don’t be surprised to see bet365 open up a Denver office.
Also announced this week–International Gaming Technology (IGT) will provide the sports betting technology infrastructure for privately held Ed & Shirley’s, owners of the Wild Card Saloon and Sasquatch Casino in Black Hawk. IGT will power retail and mobile betting through its PlaySports platforms along with kiosks and other mobile technology. IGT PlaySports previously announced a partnership with Las Vegas based Circa Sports for their Colorado mobile offering. They’re also powering the FanDuel app.
Here’s the ‘dueling quotes’ from the IGT press release announcing the deal. First, Ed & Shirley’s President Ed Smith:
“Offering omni-channel sports betting via the IGT PlaySports solution will introduce an exciting new dimension of gaming to Wild Card Saloon and Sasquatch Casino that sports fans throughout Colorado are ready to embrace. We’ve leveraged IGT’s expertise and trusted technology to create a sports betting program that gives players choice and convenience for wagering on their favorite teams.”
“Colorado is shaping up to be one of the most compelling sports betting markets in the U.S., and a region where IGT is clearly demonstrating the power, versatility and scalability of our PlaySports solution. Wild Card Saloon and Sasquatch Casino will leverage the same, proven PlaySports platform and retail technology that is powering many of the most successful sportsbooks in the U.S., positioning them to provide outstanding user experiences that drive growth.”
Presumably, IGT will power a Sasquatch Casino/Wild Card Saloon branded mobile product using lines from a third party provider like Kambi. No mention of that detail was made in the press release.