Colorado Sports Betting Start Date Remains May 1 Despite Casino Closures

Posted on March 23, 2020

Gambling always brings a sense of uncertainty.

The unknown is part of the appeal, especially when it comes to sports. Unless you have a sports almanac from the future, you can never know the outcome with 100% certainty. That only amplifies the rush of the wager and overall experience.

“Did I make the right choice?”

“Should I have gone in a different direction?”

When Colorado voters approved Proposition DD last November, COVID-19 was obviously not on the radar. Now, as the May 1 launch date for legal sports betting in the state approaches, the virus has added a thick layer of uncertainty to the sports betting industry and turned our world upside down.

But that hasn’t stopped the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) from pushing forward with that May 1 start.

Colorado sports betting start date latest

Suzanne Karrer, communications manager of the Enforcement Division for the Colorado Department of Revenue, said the Division is closed to the public. Still, preparations for the launch continue, even in these uncertain times.

“From an administrative standpoint, The Division of Gaming believes that the May 1 deadline will be met given the current status and progress of adopting rules, approving licenses and implementing procedures for sports betting in Colorado,” Karrer said in an email interview with PlayColorado.

Given all of the uncertainty, is that the right decision?

Would it be smarter to delay until sports return — or is it better to iron out the kinks without a full slate of sports? When you liken the latter to a soft-launch for a business that opens a new store or website, you can definitely see benefits to sticking with the May 1 kickoff.

As noted above, the Division of Gaming is still doing its work adopting rules, implementing procedures and approving master licenses to casinos so they can offer sports betting to prospective bettors. That’s one of the few areas that hasn’t changed due to the pandemic. That would still be the focus even if the virus didn’t exist and sports were still being played.

“At this time, none of us really know what will happen in the next few months, and the broader question for the Division and the Commission hinges on the current state of the unknown reality we all find ourselves in now,” Karrer said.

“As we keep moving forward and we all have a better understanding of where we are as a state and as an industry, key decisions will be made as to how we get to the May 1 date for sports betting in Colorado by the Division and the Commission.”

A second look in April

Karrer said last week that the Division and Commission would reassess the situation in April when it hopes to have a better sense of where things stand, given the current ominous climate in the state and country.

If major sports leagues still show no sign of returning when the calendar turns to May, perhaps Colorado could look to Las Vegas casinos for some guidance and creative alternatives.

As this story notes, casinos there are still taking online bets for the following sports as of March 23:

  • Aussie rules football
  • Russian KHL hockey conference semifinal playoffs
  • Turkish Super Ligi (basketball)
  • Argentina Primera B Nacional (soccer)
  • Brazil Campeonato Paulista (soccer)
  • Chile Primera Division (soccer)
  • Russia Premier League (soccer)
  • Turkey Super Lig (soccer)
  • Australia A-League (soccer)
  • Serbia Super Liga (soccer)

Colorado casinos could follow suit, allowing sports bettors to get their fix while also smoothing out any kinks that might surface. It would also serve as a way to give wagers a needed distraction from what is going on in the world while also bringing in revenue streams for an industry that is facing a great deal of angst.

Over the last 100 years, sports have served as a needed distraction and major stress reliever during dark times in our country. Not having that distraction only amplifies our anxiety. The news that the Summer Olympics will be postponed surely doesn’t help.

When athletes finally return to the court, field or rink might not register all that high on the list of important things right now. But at least there is a glimmer of normalcy with the CLGCC’s decision to push forward with its May 1 launch date.

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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics.

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