Colorado Sports Betting Has Strong First Week

Written By Ian St. Clair on 05/08/2020
sports betting Colorado

The sports betting launch wasn’t exactly what most pictured for Colorado five months ago.

Yet the first week was still a successful one given the challenging circumstances — no major US sports and shuttered casinos.

Denver Broncos fans in particular were eager to place their bets with the casinos in the state that have partnerships in place for mobile apps. It’s clear there is excitement in Broncos Country again thanks to Drew Lock and the potential for a high-octane, high-scoring offense.

“We had an exciting first week in Colorado and Colorado customers didn’t disappoint with their love for the hometown Broncos,” Kevin Hennessey told PlayColorado. Hennessey is the director of publicity at FanDuel. “We took more than 2,000 bets on the Broncos in a few short days, and we are excited to offer all Colorado customers special 5/1 odds on Tony Ferguson in this weekend’s UFC 249.”

The special that FanDuel is offering is Tony Ferguson to beat Justin Gaethje at 5/1 (+500) for a $20 max-bet. This is enhanced from an original line of (-175).

In order for users to claim this offer in Colorado, they must make a deposit before accessing the 5/1 market on Ferguson.

This is open to both new and existing users in Colorado.


As of now, there are four apps for prospective wagers to use.

  • DraftKings — partner with Golden Mardi Gras
  • FanDuel — partner with Golden Gates Casino
  • BetMGM — partner with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino
  • BetRivers — partner with J.P. McGill’s Hotel and Casino

That’s out of 17 scheduled to launch at some point in the future.

Path to sports betting in Colorado

The path to legal sports betting in Colorado was always bound to be an adventurous journey, but no one would have predicted encountering the global COVID-19 pandemic along the way.

Yet the Colorado Division of Gaming, along with the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC), continued to work as if it was business as usual so casinos could proceed with sports betting on May 1 if they chose to do so.

So master and vending licenses were approved.

The master catalogue of what sportsbooks can offer and what sports fans can bet on was approved.

Partnerships between casinos and sportsbooks continued to form.

Then May 1 finally hit and legal, regulated sports betting in Colorado became official.

After one week, all involved agree it went better than expected.

“Watching the four initial Internet operators launch their initial sportsbook starting May 1 represented the culmination of all the effort and work the Division of Gaming put into setting up this newly regulated industry for the citizens of Colorado,” Suzanne Karrer said. Karrer is the communications manager of the Enforcement Division for the Colorado Department of Revenue. “The Division and the operators are both pleased with the successful launch of sports betting in Colorado. The Division is excited to continue collaborations with industry operators as sports betting options continue to come online in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Hot start

If this first week is any indication, the Colorado market will take off when sports return to action.

The first major event for Coloradans to bet on is UFC 249.

If you want a local tie for Saturday’s fight card in Florida, Denver’s Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone will look to overcome the odds and end his three-fight losing streak.

Since the state is now following a “safer at home” policy and casinos remain closed for the foreseeable future, sports fans and bettors might flock to Saturday’s event like thirst-quenched scavengers in the desert.

“We saw tremendous engagement after one week of sports betting in Colorado,” a DraftKings spokesperson told PlayColorado.

Here is a Week 1 synopsis for DraftKings:

  • Most bet team to win the World Series: Colorado Rockies
  • Most bet team to win the Stanley Cup: Colorado Avalanche
  • Most bet team to win the Super Bowl: Denver Broncos
  • Most bet on teams in Colorado (all sports): Denver Broncos

“These popular futures, plus our current offers available in Colorado (table tennis, international soccer, etc.) are positive signs as we look forward to the return of major US sports leagues,” the spokesperson added.

DraftKings is celebrating this weekend’s UFC fights by offering a $1 million Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contest — the largest MMA fantasy prize pool ever offered on its platform.

Here’s what is getting bet

While the Broncos remain the king in Colorado, there are other bets being placed. And on live sports.

In a breakdown released by BetRivers, sports bettors in the Centennial State love them some table tennis, followed by baseball and football.

As for the leagues, Colorado bettors flocked to Moscow Liga Pro, a table tennis league in Russia, by over 50 percent. That was followed by the KBO and two darts leagues.

“While it’s an unprecedented time with so few sports leagues in action, there is in fact sports wagering still happening every day,” a BetRivers spokesperson said in a release.

Impact on Colorado casinos

The launch of sports betting in Colorado could also offer some relief for the four casinos that have mobile betting apps in place.

While it won’t make up for the reported more than $81 million in revenue casinos and sportsbooks have lost since brick-and-mortars closed on March 16, or the $13.5 million lost each week they remain closed, it is something.

“We have the ability to completely focus on (sports betting) right now, so that’ll be exciting,” Peggi O’Keefe said to PlayColorado. O’Keefe is the executive director for the Colorado Gaming Association, the voice of Colorado’s casino industry. “It’s something that folks can do from the comfort of their couch and be able to know that they’re still able to have some entertainment while they’re going through the quarantine we’re in right now. It’s something we’re excited to have going, but, obviously, we want to get back to the bricks and mortar and our traditional gaming and recreation in the gaming towns as well.”

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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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