- Sports betting launched in Colorado on May 1, 2020
- Colorado’s sports betting industry is off to a solid start despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Ameristar Casino Black Hawk sportsbook is the fifth retail betting outlet in Colorado.
Less than a week after the Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek opened their sportsbook to become the fourth retail betting outlet in Colorado we’ve already got number five. The Ameristar Casino Black Hawk opened their retail sports betting operation on Tuesday becoming the fourth ‘brick and mortar’ sportsbook in Black Hawk.
The Ameristar Casino Black Hawk is owned by Penn National Gaming and like the company’s other sportsbooks nationwide features the simple name ‘Sportsbook at Ameristar Black Hawk’. The sportsbook is operating in a temporary facility on the second floor of the property while they complete a permanent space described as a ‘spectacular space in the main rotunda.’ The sportsbook currently has five sports wagering terminals supplemented by twenty 24/7 betting kiosks throughout the property. The sportsbook is powered by technology from Kambi which signed an exclusive deal with Penn National just under a year ago.
There’s a decent chance that the sportsbook could end up using the ‘Barstool Sports’ brand. Penn National took a 36% stake in the popular Internet sports/lifestyle website in late January 2020. At the time, it was reported that Penn National would ‘utilize the Barstool brand for its online and retail products.’ Most of the talk since then, however, has focused on the mobile app which will definitely carry the Barstool name. Penn National CEO Jay Snowden spoke of the Barstool app during the last earnings call (May 7, 2020):
We are also in the process of making meaningful upgrades to expand the reach of our industry-leading mychoice loyalty program as we covered in the release. In addition, we have been able to continue the development of our Barstool Sports book app while the live sports world has been on an extended hiatus. We anticipate this will allow us to launch on schedule in the third quarter of 2020 on a more level playing field as sports are likely to be ramping back up around that time. We believe the Barstool brand and marketing engine should help drive meaningful market share as the product is introduced across our database of 20 million casino customers and Barstool’s audience of over 66 million and growing fans.
The business media has made much of a budding rivalry for online/mobile sports betting between Penn National/Barstool, DraftKings and FanDuel:
Some analysts think Penn is the better bet. “The market is still overlooking the power of the Barstool brand. Barstool is the fastest-growing, highest-engaging, sports lifestyle and comedy brand on the internet,” said John DeCree of Union Gaming, in a report. DeCree conceded that DraftKings and rival betting app FanDuel, owned by Irish-based gambling company Flutter, have a leg up now. But he thinks “much of the [US] is still untapped” — and that loyal Barstool followers now using other betting apps may migrate to its app once it launches.
You have to think that Penn National’s retail sports betting outlets will eventually adopt the Barstool name. There’s no use owning a popular brand if you don’t use it and the innocuous ‘Sportsbook at Ameristar Black Hawk’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. That being said, the focus of Penn National’s comments on the Barstool brand as well as media coverage has been decidedly focused on the online/mobile component.