Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered the state’s casinos, it was business as usual on Thursday as the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission gathered for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.
Well, sort of. The CLGCC, adhering to the new social-distancing norms, convened via a conference video/call which was live streamed to the public.
Nonetheless, a total of 16 master and minor sports betting licenses were approved for sportsbook operators, casinos, marketing firms and payment-processing companies during the 2-hour, 15-minute meeting. The CLGCC and state’s Division of Gaming also expressed confidence during and after the meeting that the May 1 moratorium deadline/go-live date for in-state sports wagering will still be met.
Fox Bet, FanDuel and PointsBet sportsbooks get green light
Highlighting the list of approved sports-wagering licenses Thursday were three major sports book brands in Fox Bet, FanDuel and PointsBet.
Fox Bet (run by The Stars Group Interactive US Services) and FanDuel (Betfair Interactive US LLC) applied for and were approved for online sports betting licenses only while PointsBet, which is opening its second US headquarters in Denver, was approved for both online and physical sports book operations. All licenses will carry into 2022.
With their approval, Fox Bet, FanDuel and PointsBet join DraftKings, theScore Bet and Betfred on the Centennial State’s growing list of approved, licensed operators.
Six casinos, minor-vendor licenses approved
Along with the three major national sports books, six Colorado casinos received their master licenses Thursday. They were:
- Golden Mardi Gras
- Golden Gates
- Golden Gulch
- Bronco Billy’s Casino
- Christmas Casino & Inn by Bronco Billy’s
- Billy’s Casino
The first three are Twin Rivers Worldwide Holdings properties located in Black Hawk, and the latter trio are Full House Resorts casinos in Cripple Creek. The approved licenses will be good through 2022.
Also Thursday, BetWorks (US) LLC, Stadium Technology Group LLC and Sports Information Systems Limited LLC were approved for temporary vendor major licenses while OBeP Payments, LLC PopOdds, Inc. and Fan Leads Inc., were green lighted for first-vendor minor licenses.
State still on track for May 1 sports wagering launch
The coronavirus certainly hasn’t spared Colorado, and Gov. Jared Polis has responded by ordering a number of venues and businesses to close, including all state-licensed casinos. The closure went into effect March 17, and will be in place for at least 30 days.
The Colorado Division of Gaming offices also are closed to the public through April 18, even though it’s still obviously conducting business.
“These are unprecedented times,” CLGCC chair Kristen Blessing said during Thursday’s meeting. “It’s just been devastating to see how it’s affected businesses and casinos, and we all just have to hang in there.”
Colorado Division of Gaming director Dan Hartman added that he believes the state, gaming division and the casinos are still on track to proceed with the May 1 sports-wagering launch date. Hartman did, though, add that the issue will be revisited in April, likely at the CLGCC’s scheduled April 16 meeting.
“We have not really approached the launch date,” Hartman said during the public forum section of Thursday’s meeting. “We’re still moving all efforts forward as far as licensing and everything else to ensure that we reach that May 1 date and are able to go. (Further) discussions will happen later on in April as this COVID crisis moves forward, and we’ll have to see where the (state’s) casino industry is at that time.”
Afterward, a Colorado Division of Gaming spokesperson backed Hartman’s contention that hitting the May 1 target date remains a realistic proposition.
“The Division of Gaming believes, from an administrative standpoint, 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,” a spokesperson said in an e-mailed response to a follow-up question after Thursday’s meeting. “The broader question hinges on the current state of the unknown reality we all find ourselves in now. How long will closures last? What other actions and measures might be put in place?
“These are questions, along with others, the Division of Gaming and the Limited Gaming Control Commission are planning to address in April when they hope to have a better sense of where we stand and what is happening given the current climate.
“At that time, critical decisions will be made as to how we get to the May 1 date for sports betting in Colorado.”