Although the chances of early success are slim for Colorado’s sports gamblers, it’s a well-known fact that you’ll always miss 100 percent of the bets you don’t place.
Four sportsbooks — BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel — will launch Colorado sports betting apps and sites legally in the state on Friday, May 1, 2020.
Colorado Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman confirmed the CO sportsbook launch list on Sunday and commented that a total of 17 operators are licensed to operate statewide.
In addition to the four sportsbooks launching at the end of this week, the 13 remaining Colorado betting sites and mobile apps coming later include: Barstool Sportsbook, BetAmerica, Betfred, Betwildwood, Circa Sports Colorado, Digital Gaming Corporation, FOX Bet, PointsBet, SBK, SuperBook, theScore Bet, William Hill Sports Book, and WSI US.
The arrival of sports betting in the Mile High State comes nearly one year after Gov. Jared Polis signed the Colorado online sports gambling law in May 2019. Since it required the creation of a new tax, registered voters then approved the ballot measure in November — officially legalizing sports gambling while authorizing the state’s commercial and tribal casino operators to accept bets on sporting events.
But due to Colorado governors’ ongoing “safer-at-home” order to combat the spread of COVID-19, it’s uncertain when Centennial State residents will see physical sportsbooks open their doors. Under the order, casinos in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek must remain closed until further notice.
Making sure all bets — from age 21 and up Coloradoans’ Android or Apple iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers — take place within the state lines, both legally and safely, has been regulators stated goal ever since the state’s voters approved the Proposition DD ballot measure in fall 2019.
Revenue generated and taxes collected from legal US sports gambling apps are expected to take a hit during the summer since most major sports leagues, in America and internationally, have not announced when, or in what form, will athletic competitions begin again.
With operators in Colorado beginning the climb on Friday, the Division of Gaming knows that it may be a rough few months before the state’s sportsbooks can reach the top of the mountain.
For Hartman, he said, although the chances appear bleak, the sportsbooks are confident sporting events will return soon. They’ll see a significant boost in the projected handle amount once the national emergency has ended.
“Even though it will be a slow time for sports, we are still planning on May 1,” Hartman said. “We’re really hoping to get through this and see the resurgence of the industry.”
Along with the online sportsbooks accepting bets in Colorado legally for the first time, operators also plan to offer a slew of free-to-play games and provide unique ways to wager on unfamiliar sporting events to most, like table tennis and darts, among others.
It remains to be seen whether Coloradan gamblers will manage to weather the sports-less storm during the coronavirus pandemic. Still, if regulators don’t open new markets, then it’ll be tough sledding for state’s online sportsbooks and betting apps for months to come.