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Colorado launches sports betting in unprecedented times

1 May 2020

Today, Colorado becomes the 18th U.S. state to allow a form of sports betting. Chauncey Billups, a native of the state who spent six of his 20 NBA seasons with the Denver Nuggets, placed the first legal wager when he bet $100 on Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to win the NFL Rookie of the Year at +2,000 on BetRivers Sportsbook.

Obviously, the launch isn’t surrounded by events that the state was hoping for originally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, with land-based casinos still looking to finally open its doors and sporting events in the U.S. missing from our everyday lives, Colorado is entering the sports gambling world that looks a little different than when other states have entered in the last two years.

“It is indeed a different environment to launch sports betting then we initially anticipated,” Suzanne Karrer, Communications Manager for the Colorado Division of Gaming, told Casino City. “With that said, the division is proud of the hard work and effort that went into establishing a robust sport betting industry in Colorado and excited for the launch.”

The Kentucky Derby was supposed to be taking place this weekend, which would have been the first major event for Colorado sports bettors to place a wager on. Not to mention that the NBA and NHL playoffs would be underway along with MLB roughly a month into its 2020 season. All of the above events were expected to be in full swing now when sports betting was approved for Colorado last November. With the major sporting events stuck planning their return, gamblers will have to make do with what the online sportsbooks are offering until they return.

In some states, such as Nevada, people need to go to a land-based casino to set up a mobile account, but due to the circumstances, this will not be required in Colorado. People can sign up online and begin depositing.

Beginning today, BetMGM, BetRivers Online, DraftKings and FanDuel will be among the first mobile sportsbooks available with 13 more scheduled to go live in the near future, according to The Denver Post. These digital platforms will have to get creative in what they offer with U.S. sports on the back burner. Some events that have been available to wager on through other states’ sportsbooks were the NBA HORSE Challenge and NASCAR virtual races. Beginning today, bettors within Colorado state lines will be able to wager on alternative sports such as Belarusian and Nicaraguan soccer, darts, table tennis and the International tennis series.

Colorado is now the seventh U.S. state to offer DraftKings’ mobile product. “We are thrilled to introduce Colorado’s passionate sports fans to DraftKings Sportsbook, the nation’s favorite mobile and online sports betting platform,” said Matt Kalish, co-founder and president, DraftKings North America. Johnny Avello, DraftKings Sportsbook Director added, "Despite the current circumstances our expectations for the initial launch remain high. While fans in Colorado will not have the full-scale experience of our platform, they will still have numerous betting opportunities to start."

After entering in an agreement with Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino, Roar Digital can now offer online sports wagering throughout the state of Colorado under the BetMGM brand. “With a limited sports schedule currently, it’s the perfect time for new customers to learn how to use our feature-rich sports wagering product, ahead of the return of U.S. sports,” said Adam Greenblatt, CEO of ROAR Digital.

Even though it is not a time of routine and commonplace for sports betting, Colorado is still expecting to produce solid numbers. The state could see $6 billion in wagers and roughly $400 million in revenue, according to PlayColorado.com.

These numbers could be helped by Colorado bringing in a little piece of Nevada. On 13 April, Jacobs Entertainment announced that it committed to bring sports betting’s premier operator, SuperBook, to The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk. The Lodge Casino will have an online and physical sportsbook with SuperBook, which will offer an extensive wagering menu along with the ability to compete in the renowned NFL SuperContest.

Circa Sports will also be entering the Colorado sports betting game. In early February, it announced it had partnered with Century Casinos as one of its official internet sports betting operators in Colorado. The Circa Sports App is available for remote download and will operate in association with one of the Colorado Master Licenses held by Century Casino Cripple Creek. Circa Sports is present in Nevada as well, as it launched its mobile betting app in summer 2019 within the sportsbook at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas.

Not only has Circa Sports become a sportsbook player in the Nevada game, but it will soon become a resort figure as well. In November 2019, developers and brothers Derek and Greg Stevens officially unveiled plans for Circa Resort & Casino, slated to open in Downtown Las Vegas in December 2020.

Colorado sports bettors shouldn’t have to wait that long for a major U.S. sport to return, as the PGA TOUR announced it is aiming to return on 11 June for the Charles Schwab Invitational in Texas. The Ultimate Fighting Championship will also be coming back but a little sooner. Next Saturday, the sport will return with Tony Ferguson taking on Justin Gaethje in Jacksonville.
Colorado launches sports betting in unprecedented times is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.