BetAmerica, Betfred Up For Licensure At Thursday Meeting As Calendar Races Toward May 1

Posted on April 13, 2020

With under three weeks remaining until Colorado’s moratorium on legal sports betting expires, time is short for operators who still want to be part of the first day. BetAmerica and Betfred could cross an important item off their to-do lists on Thursday, April 16.

That’s when the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) will consider license applications for the two online sports betting brands. If everything goes according to plan, these two brands may be among those live in CO on May 1.

BetAmerica among 27 first-time licensures and renewals Thursday

True to its recent form, the CLGCC’s next meeting will continue the remote format that anyone with the live stream link can view. The public part of the meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. local time.

BetAmerica and Betfred are up for both online and retail sports betting licenses Thursday. The meeting’s agenda shows 14 other applicants whom the CLGCC will consider for an internet license, master license and/or retail license.

That includes SuperBook, which is owned by Westgate Resorts. Westgate does not operate any properties in Colorado, but SuperBook will handle retail and online sports betting operations for The Lodge Casino in Black Hawk if approved.

Churchill Downs owns BetAmerica. BetAmerica hasn’t announced which Colorado casino(s) it will partner with yet.

Betfred will handle retail and online sportsbook operations for Saratoga Casino Black Hawk if approved. The CLGCC has already granted a master license to that casino.

So far, the CLGCC has yet it doesn’t necessarily mean these brands will be ready to go May 1.

Why May 1 may not necessarily be Day 1 for operators in CO

For applicants who receive licensure on Thursday and those that have already been green-lighted, getting to market at first crack is much less of a pressure situation right now. That’s because of the suspension of sports leagues.

In a world without social distancing, Colorado’s new legal operators would have Rockies baseball and Nuggets basketball. In addition, the books could have taken futures action on college football and the NFL with great confidence.

With the NBA season suspended and MLB’s season postponed, that action doesn’t exist. Additionally, bettors may not have confidence that fall will deliver its usual complement of football games.

For those reasons, sportsbook operators might not feel as pressured to get everything ready for May 1. That especially applies to those just receiving licensure with little more than two weeks of prep time left.

There may still be some operators who will begin taking bets on May 1, and they will likely promote football futures. So far, none of the licensed operators have announced they will open for business on May Day.

Those that launch first will enjoy a better chance of grabbing a share of the market, but it’s uncertain how much of a market will exist. They can begin the costly and time-consuming work of acquiring customers for when major professional sports do return, however.

On Thursday, several more interested parties will get a chance at knocking the required licensure off their preparations list. What exactly they are preparing for is uncertain, however.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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