Tag: Operators

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


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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These Two Operators Scored The First MI Sports Betting Partnerships. Who’s Next?


Michigan got its first pair of sports betting partnership deals just over a week into the new year.

On Jan. 6, both PointsBet and The Stars Group announced partnerships. They will create entries into the Michigan sports betting and general gaming market.

With the two heavy hitters breaking the mold, the race for the remaining 24 land-based partners has begun. And as a result, it would appear as though Michigan bettors will have no shortage of retail and online sports betting options.

Brand names set for Michigan sports betting

The holiday celebration in Michigan included a signature from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The bill legalized retail and online sports betting, online casinos and online poker. As such, it joined DelawareNew Jersey and Pennsylvania as the only states to offer all three verticals.

Quick to get in on the ground floor, PointsBet announced a 20-year access deal with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

Per the release, PointsBet will work alongside the tribe to create a betting app as well as an online casino. To boot, the two parties remain in negotiations to bring in PointsBet to power the retail sportsbook at the tribe’s Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet.

The Stars Group, meanwhile, teamed with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. It is providing the operator an avenue into another state for its Fox Bet sports betting brand.

With “first skin market access,” The Stars Group will have the right to operate and brand online betting, casino and poker in Michigan.

PointsBet and Fox Bet both already operate in New Jersey. In addition, PointsBet has expanded into Iowa, while Fox Bet has done the same to Pennsylvania.

Michigan online gaming deals have only just begun

These two partnerships serve as the starting gun. Surely many more similar deals will come across the wire in short order. That means only good things for Michigan bettors, as the state will likely boast a plethora of brands.

After all, consider how many land-based properties remain. Whitmer’s signature in late 2019 allowed for Michigan’s three commercial and 23 tribal casinos to incorporate sports betting, online casinos and online poker. There will be one skin for each vertical.

Indeed, gambling real estate abounds. As for which brands one might see, that is a picture without a clear image at this point.

That said, MGM Resorts operates out of Detroit, creating an opportunity for Roar Digital to step into the gaming environs. Penn National, meanwhile, recently acquired a Detroit casino that could become part of Penn’s aggressive gaming expansion.

No doubt, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook will work toward Michigan market access. Where one goes, the other seems to follow.

Michigan boasts fertile ground, which is why the state will assuredly see ample interest from an array of operators. And soon.


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