Elys Eyes Colorado In Retail Sportsbook Expansion

Written By Phil West on 12/08/2023
Photo of a man with Elys logo on his shirt looking at Colorado logo on a story about the sportsbook looking to expand to the state.

Global gaming company Elys Game Technology has demonstrated a workable North American strategy by opening three Washington, D.C.-based retail sportsbooks, providing sports bettors options in a city where few still exist.

Now, Elys has announced plans to grow by targeting seven states for what it’s terming as “sequential expansion” – and Colorado’s one of them.

Elys is partnering with Caesars to bring sportsbook to Colorado

In addition to a range of Colorado online sports betting options, 10 Colorado casinos operate on-site retail sportsbooks, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. Elys has indicated plans to bring its retail sportsbook model to the Centennial State at yet-to-be disclosed locations.

Elys plans to add to Colorado’s thriving landscape of online and retail sports betting options via a partnership with Caesars, allowing for both onsite presence in Black Hawk, regarded as one the state’s top casino destinations, as well as an online betting platform that’s rolling out in a number of states.

In November, Elys announced it had secured a market access agreement with Caesars to enter Colorado with its first-ever foray into North American mobile sports betting, via its SportBet.com brand, pending regulatory approval.

In D.C., Elys established a foothold via opening sportsbooks at the Grand Central Restaurant and Sportsbook and the Cloakroom Gentlemen’s Club Over Under Sportsbook Lounge. It has now added Grand Central Sportsbook on H Street, aiming to come online this quarter.

Elys noted its initial D.C. location at Grand Central “has been a significant revenue driver for the company, averaging $67,500 per month in gross gaming revenue for the operator, which is approximately 700% above initial expectations.”

That initial success motivated Elys to grow beyond its first sportsbook into the market.

Elys looking to add retail sportsbooks in six other states

Elys touts the convenience of its sports betting model.

“[It’s a] a convenient way for small businesses to offer cost-effective sports gambling to their most loyal customers.”

The company says it uses a “best odds” model.

“[It’s] an odds-making strategy aimed at attracting and retaining clients by providing the most competitive odds on various sporting events.”

Michele Ciavarella, executive chairman of Elys, characterized the model as one allowing “customers convenient access to betting on their favorite sports while enjoying a night out at their local social establishment.”

In an interview on Friday, Ciavarella remarked, “We’ve been in the business for 25-plus years in the Italian regulated market. And what we learn from that market is simple cliche: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

Noting that sports betting is a unique space, with customers essentially competing with the company providing odds and the opportunity to bet, he added, “You have to make sure you manage the risk because that’s the business that we’re in. Our sequential deployment is a result of our background and experience, in terms of managing our risk and expanding prudently and properly. It’s a very methodical approach but that we believe works the best, particularly in the United States because it’s not one country, it’s 50 states.”

How Elys determined it needed to expand

Ciavarella said by moving into D.C., the company was able to make determinations that are now helping with its expansion into the patchwork of U.S. states where Elys looks to grow.

He noted, “We needed to understand whether our technology and our algorithms are right, so that we can be successful in the business going forward,” and shared that the company’s satisfied with what it calls a “very scalable model” — though different rules in different states change the calculus for what mix of online and onsite betting makes sense to both reach customers and be profitable.

In addition to the existing D.C. trio of locations and the move into the Colorado market, Elys is also looking to expand into Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan and New Jersey. That’s in addition to recently setting up an expansive server network in Cincinnati and maintaining tribal casino operations in three states.

Photo by Shutterstock / Illustration by PlayColorado
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Phil West

Phil West is an Austin-based writer and editor who has been published in a wide range of publications throughout his career, including the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, MLSSoccer.com, The Striker, and The Daily Dot. He's currently writing about Austin FC (and more generally, about MLS and world soccer) at Verde All Day, an independent Substack-hosted and subscriber-supported site. He's also a Senior Lecturer in The Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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