- Colorado is poised to become one of the major markets in US sports betting
- Live sports betting launches in Colorado on May 1.
- This is the Westgate SuperBook’s first location outside of Nevada
For the past year we’ve been telling everyone that will listen that sports betting in Colorado will be huge. Like huge in terms of revenue *and* huge in terms of influence. Within the next year Colorado will already be in the top five of ‘Best States for Sports Betting’. If everything works out like I think it will it won’t be long before they’re taking aim at Nevada for the sports betting center of the USA.
So are you listening *now*? The iconic SuperBook brand is about to grow beyond the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. They’ve opened a new business entity called SBOpco, LLC and will be looking for opportunities in markets outside of the Silver State. And the first SuperBook location outside of Nevada will be in Colorado. More specifically, the retail sportsbook at the Lodge Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. They’ll also be available via mobile and online wagering statewide.
Jacobs Entertainment is a Golden, Colorado based gaming management company that also owns The Gilpin Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado along with the Sands Regency in Reno and the Gold Dust West in Elko (IMO one of the true hidden gems in the Nevada casino scene). The also own the Cash Magic Truck Plaza & Casino in Louisiana which is where the bizarre (but no doubt lucrative) mini-trend of video poker in truck stops began over a decade ago. Incidentally, the Gilpin Casino has partnered with theScore for a mobile sportsbook app.
THE SUPERBOOK HAS BEEN ONE OF NEVADA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL BRANDS FOR DECADES
The SuperBook located at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino has ranked among Nevada’s most influential sportsbook for decades. Although the Westgate began life in 1969 as the International Hotel the sportsbook was opened in 1986 after the property had rebranded to the Las Vegas Hilton. The property (then owned by Colony Capital) was hit hard in the economic implosion in Nevada circa 2009 to 2011. The property lost the Hilton franchise agreement during that time due to a decline in quality standards. They then rebranded as the LVH in 2012 and rebranded again in 2014 when Westgate Resorts took over as owner.
The SuperBook bills itself as the largest sportsbook in the world and they operate what is easily the most prestigious contest in the industry (the SuperContest). The Executive VP of Race & Sports Operations is Jay Kornegay who is one of the most highly regarded sportsbook executives in the business. He did a great job with the Imperial Palace Sportsbook which ranked among the best shops in town in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In 2004, he took over the LVH SuperBook and has been there ever since. Interestingly, he’s a Colorado native and graduate of Colorado State University. Here’s what Kornegay said about bringing the SuperBook brand to the Rocky Mountain State:
We believe The Lodge is a perfect fit for our initial expansion opportunities outside Las Vegas. We have maintained the highest levels of technology and service in a highly-regulated industry. We have written the playbook on sports betting in the United States, and now we will put it in action in Colorado.
Obviously, with the entire Colorado gaming industry shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic there’s no timetable for when the SuperBook will launch their retail and mobile operations in the state. They’re in the process of getting licensed in Colorado and that should take place at the 4/16/20 remote meeting of the Limited Gaming Commission. I’m going to try to get a link to watch the proceedings and will report back. I can’t see any reason why their license approval wouldn’t be a slam dunk.
Incidentally, there’s an interview with Kornegay in the Denver arts and entertainment paper Westworld talking about how he sees things going in Las Vegas post pandemic shutdown.
SO IS THIS A BIG DEAL?
Colorado already has a dozen or so line originators ready to come on board for retail and/or mobile sports betting. From a perception standpoint it’s huge. Brands like FanDuel and DraftKings might have more recognition among the general public and casual fans but in terms of brand equity–particularly among serious sports bettors–the SuperBook definitely has them beat. In fact, they might have the most influential brand in the North American sports betting industry. Kornegay’s involvement is also huge even if he doesn’t get too deeply involved in the Colorado operations. His name cachet alone is very significant.
Even with the Colorado gaming industry on lockdown there’s a lot going on as the state lays the regulatory groundwork for the launch of sports betting. Stay tuned.