May 1 Could Be Day 1 For Legal Sportsbooks In Colorado

Posted on January 23, 2020 - Last Updated on March 31, 2020

The Centennial State originally set its sights on May 1 for sports wagering. It looks as if that will indeed be the Colorado sports betting launch date.

Several operators have already submitted license applications. The state expects to approve them in February, opening the door for legal wagers on the first allowable day.

Why May 1 is the Colorado sports betting launch date

The gambling expansion law that Colorado voters approved last November included a moratorium on sportsbooks actually accepting wagers. That expires on May 1, 2020.

There was no original guarantee that sportsbooks would actually open their doors at first chance, however. Events transpiring since then make that look more likely than not now.

The Denver Post reports that the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission will start approving licenses next month. The number of operators approved could reach 33.

That’s just over half of the number of applicants, however. Between online and retail hopefuls, the applications surpassed 50.

For those who get their applications OK’d, nearly three months should be more than enough time to get their products up to speed. While it should be noted that the CLGCC has neither confirmed nor denied May 1 as a date on which operators will start accepting wagers, it would be a big surprise if that isn’t the case.

There are still several unknowns despite this information. Among them are which operators will be part of the first wave of license approvals.

Where and who are still two big questions on the market

The field of applicants includes 28 Colorado casinos, 13 online sportsbooks and 10 other applicants who wish to run retail sportsbooks. What’s unclear right now is who those applicants are.

There are more than 28 casinos in the Centennial State, so some of the casinos must not have applied yet. It’s also possible that some of the casinos have decided against opening sportsbooks.

While 13 online sportsbook operators would represent a robust market for online sports betting, there’s no guarantee that all 13 will get approved. It’s likely that multiple operators will receive approval, however, as competition is good for the consumer and the market.

As far as the other retail applicants go, it’s also uncertain exactly what kind of businesses they run. In other jurisdictions, sports bar and stadium owners can operate legal sportsbooks. It’s possible that these establishments could be standalone sportsbooks as well.

Until the state publishes license approval information, we won’t know who might go live May 1. It is possible, however, to make some educated guesses about how those operators will market themselves.

An Avalanche of Nuggets from the Rockies in May

As the sports betting industry revolves around the sports calendar, expect legal sportsbooks in Colorado to focus their marketing on the local happenings. On May 1, that could mean Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rockies and Denver Nuggets games.

Both the Avalanche and the Nuggets are on pace to make the playoffs in their respective leagues. If that ends up being the case, both teams should be in action chasing championships on the first day of May.

Although it will be early, the Rockies will be into their 162-game regular-season schedule as well. That gives new legal sportsbooks in Colorado plenty of contests to use for promotional purposes.

Those are examples of what Coloradans can look forward to going forward. May 1 could be a historic day in the Centennial State.

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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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