Tag: Colorado

Colorado Sports Betting Enjoys Profitable First Month

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As summer draws nearer, major sports are putting into place plans to return to action.

The NBA is ready to resume play July 31 in OrlandoFlorida. While still needing final approval for it, the NHL appears to have the intention to get players back on the ice around the same time.

Golf is back, while NASCAR and UFC are well underway.

In what would normally be a down time of the calendar year, summer 2020 holds the potential to be significant for legalized sports betting.

On to the Rewind:

Colorado sports betting starts hot in first month

When Colorado sports betting went live May 1, many expected a slow start. After all, the world was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, sidelining most sports and closing casinos and retail sportsbooks.

Regardless, online books launched in the Centennial State. And the result is an opening month that is nothing to scoff at.

With six operators live in May, legal wagering in Colorado totaled $25.5 million in handle with an official release from regulators expected June 15.

Several major players helped kick off the state’s regulated industry:

  • BetMGM
  • BetMonarch
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Fox Bet

While paling in comparison with the likes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Colorado’s first month is not at all terrible. As Legal Sports Report noted, Oregon reported $7.3 million in handle during May, though it only features one online operator.

Still, Colorado enjoyed a solid first step, as semi-major events such as The Match 2, UFC, NASCAR, Bundesliga and Korean baseball carried the load.

Certainly, Colorado, as well as other states with legal sports betting, will benefit from the return of major sports. The NBA plans on returning July 31, and the NHL is closing in on a resuming play around the same time.

Is online sports betting on the way in Illinois?

Like many states without legal online gambling offerings, the gaming industry in Illinois has suffered amid the pandemic.

The Land of Lincoln already had plans to integrate online betting, which we expected by 2021. However, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently issued an executive order that struck down the state’s requirement for in-person registration for mobile wagering.

This means that once operators are approved to operate online, those interested in betting via a mobile device can sign up from the comfort of their own homes.

The state requires in-person registration until the Illinois Gaming Board issues the first of three standalone online-only licenses, which, according to law, cannot be issued until 540 days after brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened April 9. Pritzker’s latest order does not void the in-person requirement but rather suspends its enforcement.

That said, Illinois does not feature any operators licensed to operate online. Naturally, then, many wonder if Pritzker’s order will expire before the first mobile products go live. In this case, in-person registration returns as a requirement.

Regardless, the governor’s latest move could entice stakeholders to accelerate their negotiations to enter the Illinois online market, thus creating a more aggressive timeline for launching online products.

Potentially, if all things go right, Illinois could begin recouping lost revenue by launching the first legal online sportsbooks.

Welcome back, Las Vegas casinos

At long last, following weeks of closure, casinos in Nevada began reopening on June 4. By sunrise, the Vegas Strip was back open for business.

As a result, the first casinos in the mecca of American gambling made their reintroduction.

The likes of Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, the Cosmopolitan, BellagioMGM Grand and New York-New York, among others, welcomed enthusiastic guests.

The state requires all casino employees to wear protective masks while only recommending the attire for patrons. Many properties conducted temperature checks before admitting guests while also supplying touch-free sanitizing stations and even providing single-use masks.

Even with socially distant slots and limited seating at table games, Vegas made its return and seemingly started its way back to normalcy.

What matters is this becomes another sign that we are closer to reaching the end of the tunnel.

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Colorado Sports Betting Officially Launches; DraftKings Offers Broncos Promo

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Colorado has become the 18th state with legal sports betting, going live today, May 1.

Though the state’s physical casinos — located in rural Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City — are closed until May 8 due to recent extended shutdown, bettors can take advantage of the state’s online sports betting and place their bets.

Despite launching during the looming COVID-19 pandemic, operators recently told PlayUSA how optimistic they are about Colorado’s future as a US betting power player.

There are four CO sports betting apps live today, including DraftKings. To mark the occasion, it has released a new promo boost through May 5 that might entice even the most die-hard Denver Broncos fans.

Read on for more Colorado sports betting info and how to take advantage of this limited offer.

Colorado sports betting basics

Colorado has an impressive and expansive list of brands on tap. Draftkings is expected to be a dominant force in the Colorado market once things begin to normalize around the country. But the company will also have to compete with other top-tier brands like FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill.

As PlayColorado notes, patrons will have four CO sports betting apps to choose from on launch day. Other sportsbooks are expected to roll out mobile applications in due time.

  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers

Additionally, the state has approved 11 online operators which vary from operators like Rush Street Interactive to Fox Bet.

Approved sportsbooks:

  • theScore
  • PointsBet
  • Fox Bet
  • Circa Sports
  • Smarkets
  • Roar Digital
  • William Hill
  • Rush Street Interactive
  • Penn Sports Interactive
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • DraftKings Sportsbook

Not only will customers have access to traditional sports leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA), they will also be able to bet on in-state colleges like the University of Colorado and Colorado State. However, books are not authorized to offer individual collegiate prop bets.

DraftKings Sportsbook Colorado promo

For a limited time, DraftKings Sportsbook will be offering Colorado users +100 odds on the Denver Broncos to win over 6.5 games.

The Broncos went 7-9 last year finishing second in the AFC West with quarterback Drew Lock going 4-1 as a starter. Denver invested heavily in offensive weapons to help their young QB for the 2020 campaign, selecting top wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick and wideout KJ Hamler in the second round. Couple this group with emerging stars like tight end Noah Fant, wideout Courtland Sutton and newly acquired running back Melvin Gordon and +100 odds look very nice.

Denver Broncos CO Boost

  • Boost excludes: no parlays, free bets, cashout bets, void bets, live bets
  • Boost odds must be placed in the state of Colorado as individual bet slip
  • Max bet $50
  • One bet per user
  • Odds were -305, now +100

Bettors have until May 5 at 11:59 PM ET to place wagers.

Mobile Colorado betting at a glance

A significant CO sports betting rule is the ability for customers to register for accounts remotely. With the pandemic sweeping the country and quarantine measures in place, remote registration is beneficial.

Another benefit to mobile registration is its ability to drawn in potential customers from neighboring states. Residents from Wyoming, Nebraska, and Utah only need to cross the Colorado border to be able to register for an account and place a wager. With geolocation, once a player exits the state, they will no longer be allowed to bet.

The current list of available sports to bet on may be limited. But major sports leagues are continuing to discuss ways some seasons can be salvaged (NBA, NHL) or begin on time (NFL).

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Why Colorado Could Be A Major Player When Online Betting Begins

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For the past two years, legalized sports betting has permeated the country. State-regulated industries have cropped up in bunches along the east coast and in the heart of the Midwest.

Forgotten, it seems, is the West. The American frontier. But soon, a gateway will open to what is otherwise an untapped region.

The western United States “has a very different vibe” from the east coast, as Eddie Motl, vice president of communications for Fox Bet, put it. Within a month, Fox Bet, along with several other sportsbooks, will experience that vibe firsthand. Because that gateway — that long-sought-after, ever attractive gateway — is set to open Friday, May 1 with the debut of Colorado sports betting.

Yet the pomp and circumstance will certainly be understated when the first legal sportsbooks go online. The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined sports and closed casinos. So how can incoming operators maintain such a rosy outlook when uncertainty looms like a storm cloud?

Because, as FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger said: “Entertainment is important, particularly in challenging times.

“People need opportunities to entertain themselves. And frankly, a diversion in difficult times is something that’s important for mental health.”

Significance of Colorado sports betting not lost on operators

The addition of Colorado sports betting carries weight that extends beyond its own boundaries.

Robert Walker, the director of sportsbook operations at Nevada firm USBookmaking, told Legal Sports Report that, more than New Jersey, “Colorado is the first real battleground for US sports betting.”

Johnny Aitken, CEO of the Denver-based PointsBet, added that “Colorado could be a domino state. They’ve listened to operators about what we need to successfully compete with the black market. Hopefully, new states take notice as they open up.”

“Expansion into any new state is exciting because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our unique approach to gaming and engage with sports fans,” Motl said. “Sports in America are tribal and so anytime we get to communicate with a new community, in this case Colorado, it’s an opportunity to learn from those fans and serve them with content tailored to their style.”

Sustainable tax rate sets up successful future

Even only within state lines, Colorado going live means much more than padding an operator’s portfolio.

For the likes of FanDuel Sportsbook, which expects to go live May 1, the Centennial State will become its fifth state in which it operates regulated wagering. But there’s much more significance with Colorado.

Specifically, as laid out by Raffensperger, the state “enacted legislation that we feel is conducive to a healthy and productive legal and regulated sports betting marketplace.”

That means a sustainable tax rate (10%) that sets up a competitive industry while also helping fund state initiatives. It means all-inclusive access to online wagering, from sign-up to cashing out, for the public. Such traits have helped New Jersey, where FanDuel remains a sports betting power, truly flourish.

As a result, New Jersey has become something of a template, one that operators are thrilled to see followed by Colorado.

Original outlook of Colorado sports betting

When New Jersey first went online, its model closely resembled one that paid dividends in Europe. By focusing on the everyday players, by capitalizing on digital marketing, and by offering in-play wagering and a wide array of markets, said model sets the table for a thriving industry.

The 18th state to introduce some form of legal sports betting, and whether purposefully or not, Colorado set itself up for success by following that model.

“For us, the regulators have been great to work with,” said Jamie Shea, head of sportsbook digital for DraftKings Sportsbook. “It’s just been really some good back and forth, working together. We all want to see the sports betting industry flourish in every way. … We all have the same goal. Working with the legislators and regulators in Colorado, it’s been great to see their enthusiasm.”

Its 10% tax rate allures, like a radiant light that leads one out of the darkness and into the promised land. It sets Colorado up to potentially accept as much as $6 billion in wagers, according to PlayColorado projections, in addition to $400 million in gross operator revenue and $40 million in tax revenue.

New Jersey, for perspective, taxes retail operations at a 9.75% rate and levies a 13% tax on mobile wagering.

The tax rate alone, Raffensperger said, “incentivized our investment.” But then you add in online access; a state that features franchises from MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL; a reasonably large population total; and a culture, as he put it, that features “a great independent spirit” that pairs well with sports betting.

Indeed, Raffensperger emphasized, “we get really excited about the commercial opportunity.”

Coronavirus pandemic has shifted plans of operators

The launch of Colorado sports betting, at least commercially, obviously comes during an inopportune time.

The COVID-19 crisis essentially sidelined sports entirely, aside from a few niche markets. It’s not lost on incoming operators that sports betting offerings will remain slim once they go live.

“It has presented us and many other sportsbooks planning to launch in Colorado with added challenges,” Motl said of the coronavirus. “We’ve spent this additional time learning about our future customers in Colorado, understanding their tendencies and appetite for sports betting content as a whole. Operationally, we’ve worked to ensure that our infrastructure and process with state regulators is seamless once sports return.”

Operators remain bullish on Colorado sports betting future

Therein lies the optimism and persistence of bookmakers: This pandemic will not disrupt our plans.

Like Henry Ford said: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

“We’re very optimistic on Colorado,” Shea said. “We’re so excited to be launching in that state. Nobody can predict how long this (the coronavirus pandemic) is going to take. But what we can say is we will be there. … We are very cognizant of the seriousness of the nature of the world. We don’t want to take that away at all.

“We want to make sure everyone’s staying safe and following the guidelines of the government. We’re just an entertainment company but we hope to provide that little bit of light in the day.”

Flexibility is key during a time of zero sports

Fox Bet still intends to make its Colorado debut in May, though after the state’s go-live date. And, like many of its counterparts, it continues to exhibit flexibility in this time of uncertainty.

“As leagues and sanctions adapt to this new environment, so do sportsbook operators like us,” Motl said. “We’ve offered NASCAR’s iRacing, the NFL draft, as well as other smaller sports and competitions in accordance with (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement) via the Fox Bet app. We’ve also gotten creative, for example coming up with the best sports movie bracket challenge. As sports leagues and governing bodies across the globe re-open competition, we will have more to offer.”

It appeared as if the coronavirus pandemic really hit home for the public when sports went off the air. When the NBA postponed its season, Raffensperger said, “it felt pivotal in a lot of ways in how this crisis came to bear for this country.”

For the FanDuel CMO, when sports return, the healing can begin. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes more clear.

“I think that’s an important moment of feeling like it’s a step forward for the country,” Raffensperger said, “a moment of catharsis. … I think it’s going to be, not to be too highfalutin about it, the start of a moment of healing and something we’re really excited about certainly commercially but also just our role within sports culture at large.”

When leagues and event organizers postponed and even canceled seasons and events, operators did not sway from their Colorado plans.

If anything, at least for FanDuel, there was more of an obligation to move forward as planned.

“I would say the reaction was we need to stay the course,” Raffensperger said. “I think we recognized we needed to shift our plans a little bit, in the manner and the means in which we launched. … I think whether it’s free-to-play gaming, some of the things that we’re doing on our fantasy sports platform, I do think it’s important. I think it’s the role that FanDuel Group plays, kind of in our commercial role at large.”

Plans to launch in Colorado remain on track

Before COVID-19, some incoming Colorado bookmakers — such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers — circled May 1 as launch date. Others, like Fox Bet, sometime that month.

Those plans have gone unchanged.

“We are of course giving full consideration to the current circumstances regarding the disruption to the sports calendar, but our pre-existing timelines and goals for the multi-state expansion of theScore Bet remain on schedule,” John Levy, CEO of theScore, said. “We are pressing ahead with product development and regulatory initiatives and — subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals — are excited to introduce theScore’s unique integration of media and gaming to sports fans in both Colorado and Indiana later this year.”

Perhaps now more than ever, Shea noted, the public needs some kind of respite. And platforms such as DraftKings provide just that.

“Especially now, people need entertainment,” Shea said. “We are a sports company, a gaming company, an entertainment company. People need to be able to blow off some steam. … I think it’s nice to have that stability, that confidence that not everything has shut down, that there are still some movements going on. Some new and exciting things. It’s nice for the fans to have some levity at this time.”

Obviously operators will not have many betting markets to offer customers right away. Hopefully, though, the sports calendar will fill out in short order. That would certainly benefit bookmakers. But it would also provide a sense of normalcy for bettors, fans and the general public.

Companies like FanDuel are hoping to fast-track the latter.

“The reason that we’re launching on May 1 relative to the plan we had prior,” Raffensperger said, “is because we think it is important to demonstrate to Colorado our innovative spirit. … I think we’re still really optimistic and eager to introduce ourselves to Colorado, to do it in a way that adds value to consumers and bettors and fans. Again, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of major American sports alongside every other sports fan in Colorado and frankly around the country.”

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With Operators Lined Up, Colorado Sports Betting Still Set For May 1 Launch

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Administratively, Colorado is ready. By all accounts, May 1 remains a realistic target date for the launch of legalized sports betting in the Centennial State.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic causing mass shutdowns nationwide, despite major sports remaining sidelined, regulators in Colorado such as Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman agree: “May 1 certainly is, as I see it, our launch date.”

“We are well on track, administratively, with licensing, with all the pieces we need to have in place for that,” Hartman said, noting that some details of the incoming industry will be finalized during the April 16 meeting of the Limited Gaming Control Commission.

“Administratively, we’re right on track for May 1. The operators I’ve been talking to are looking for that start.”

Coronavirus not stalling CO sports betting plans

Earlier this month, Gov. Jared Polis announced a statewide stay-at-home order that lasts through at least April 26, four days shy of the federal recommendation. The reason being: Polis’ concern for the state economy.

Still, regulators and stakeholders maintain optimism that casinos could reopen to the public by May 1 — that same day Colorado sports betting is expected to go live. The focus right now, Hartman said, “is getting casinos open first and then having brick-and-mortar (sportsbooks) open as they’re ready.”

Retail operations might resemble more of a rolling launch, as casinos will likely prioritize opening gaming floors before sportsbooks. That said, Hartman noted, “we’ve always contemplated launching both online and brick-and-mortar at the same time. So May 1 for online is certainly doable for us.”

Testing well underway

Testing has already begun, Hartman confirmed. That process is actually sped up for some operators, particularly those who are up and running in other states. After all, before launching elsewhere, those operators had to complete independent testing. Hartman said Colorado benefits from that.

He detailed how regulators receive a certification letter from labs that have conducted testing. Per Hartman, Colorado can then “bring (the tech) in here and put it into place and follow up within the next 90 days after they’ve opened to do all the intrusion testing and all the other things that we need to do.”

Obviously state regulators will “take a lot more time” with operators that have not undergone independent testing in the US.

“As we’ve said all along,” Hartman said, “if they meet all the qualifications, if they do all the things we ask them to do, we’ll put everybody who’s ready May 1 on the starting gate and open at the same time.”

What Colorado sports betting will look like

When things begin to normalize, certainly bettors in the Centennial State will see familiar betting markets.

Of course bookmakers will offer major sports such as MLBNBANFL and NHL, among others. The public will also have access to lines involving NCAA action, including events featuring in-state colleges. Books, though, are not authorized to offer individual collegiate props.

Hartman pointed out that regulators have considered integrating the allowance of esports betting. This comes on the heels of NASCAR introducing virtual races as well as the rise in popularity surrounding other video games. Such inclusions bring potential revenue during a time without sports.

“It’s got the same process for approval,” Hartman said of esports. “We’ll put it on the sports catalog, we’ll get as many of those that we already have targeted approved by the commission. … As long as they have a governing body, they have a league, and they can show us how it works, then we’ve got the ability to bring it up.”

From a macro standpoint, Colorado will feature an array of brands, including well-known and well-established bookmakers. To date, the LGCC has approved 11 online operators, including a half-dozen at a recent meeting.

The list of incoming sportsbooks includes rising operators such as DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook, as well as traditional powers such as William Hill.

Other approved sportsbooks include:

  • Roar Digital
  • Rush Street Interactive
  • Smarkets
  • Penn Sports Interactive
  • Circa Sports
  • Fox Bet
  • PointsBet
  • theScore

A slow build is a good thing for CO sports betting

While attempting to articulate the craziness of the past few weeks, Hartman chuckled while settling on the term “interesting.” Even as leagues suspended seasons, as organizers canceled events, as virtually every potential offering of a Colorado sportsbook went on hiatus, Hartman maintains confidence in the state’s industry debut.

That — and the benefits of easing into legalized sports betting as opposed to cannonballing into the deep end.

“It gives us a chance to iron out any bugs that we didn’t see,” Hartman said. “I think it gives the operators the same ability to do that. We’re not slammed with a hundred things all at once. It comes up slowly, we see some things that we may have missed and/or the operator may have missed in their startup.

“I think engineers love it, because they can put their software out and get it going and do it slowly without being hammered every single minute, 24/7. I think accountants for the big companies probably don’t love it as much because they’re not bringing in as much revenue. But I think this is a great way to launch it, slowly, for us to do some of those things.”

Certainly anticipation and excitement abound in Colorado. It will become the 18th state to feature regulated sports betting, an industry that could lead to as much as $6 billion in handle and $40 million in taxed revenue.

Hartman, though, will reserve celebration for a later date.

“The reality of the excitement, I think, is really being overshadowed and rightfully so by what’s going on in the world right now,” he said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic. “I think that’s the catch is that it will probably launch without a lot of hype and a lot of other things just because it may not be the perfect time to be pumped and excited about it.

“There’ll be a day for the fanfare and some of the other stuff, but I think right now, the way things are in the world, it’s probably not the proper time for the fanfare and excitement.”

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