Emergency Sports Betting Rules Move Colorado Closer To Launch Day

Posted on January 21, 2020 - Last Updated on April 24, 2020

While the Centennial State is still months away from legal sportsbooks opening in the state, there is movement in that direction. The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission recently approved its emergency sports betting rules.

The temporary regulations allow the CLGCC to finalize license applications and make them available. The rules also allow the commission to approve those applications and issue licenses, a crucial part of getting Colorado legal sports betting up and running.

What’s in the updated emergency sports betting rules

The biggest change in the latest release of the rules involves retail sportsbooks inside casinos. It affects the documents applicants have to include.

Casinos applying for sportsbook licenses have to include drawings of their gaming floors on which they intend to offer sports wagering. The sportsbook areas must be designated with red lines.

Outside of that, the requirements for these kinds of licenses are pretty standard for the industry. They include information on the company’s financials and a background check for important officials.

There are other types of licenses besides what the state calls a “major vendor license,” however. There is another category that applies to most online sportsbook operators.

Requirements for a vendor minor license in Colorado

Colorado allows companies that contract with vendor major license holders to provide services relevant to sports betting to acquire this type of license. In most states, this is the relationship between casino and sportsbook operators.

The relationship is mutually beneficial. It allows the casinos to offer sports wagering as another amenity to patrons while it gives the sportsbooks access to new markets.

Many such deals are done between companies on a national level. For example, Penn National has a market access deal with several operators spanning multiple states.

None of the casinos in Colorado have yet announced partnerships of this kind. It shouldn’t be long, however.

How this news affects the launch timeline in Colorado

The state law says that legal sportsbooks in the Centennial State can’t start accepting wagers before May 2020. The CLGCC’s efficiency points toward that being realistic for launch.

If the applications go out soon, that gives sportsbooks sufficient time to get them back and make sure they are compliant with regulations. It also affords the commission ample time to review applications and inspect premises.

Once the commission concludes those inspections, it can give sportsbooks a green light. It’s unclear right now whether that will be in May. There are a couple of other inclusions in the emergency rules that lean toward that timeline.

Temporary and conditional license approval rules

The rules give the commission the room to approve licenses on a conditional or temporary basis. This will help the approval process because an applicant doesn’t necessarily have to be in 100% compliance with all regulations at the time of application to get approval.

Those conditional and temporary licenses can be converted to permanent approvals later. Alternatively, the commission can simply extend the time period for compliance.

Everything the commission has done so far leans toward launching as soon as possible. The latest update to the emergency rules is a great example.

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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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