Sasquatch Casino Hopes To Take A Big Foothold Of CO Sportsbook Market

Posted on May 26, 2020

Ed & Shirley’s Inc. is a Colorado company that operates both Sasquatch Casino and Wild Card Saloon in Black Hawk. Those two CO casinos will soon be another option for residents and visitors looking for legal sports betting in Colorado.

Through a deal with International Game Technology, both facilities will be part of the same in-house sportsbook brand, which will also offer online wagering. While the deal expands the reach for IGT into the CO market, it should allow Ed & Shirley’s to do the same.

CO casinos still in limbo on reopening

While local and state authorities are working on plans to reopen the state’s casinos, there is no official timeline for that. Executive Director of the CO Gaming Association Peggi O’Keefe confirmed that Thursday.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission is working on protocols for reopening. Those include adjustments to accommodate spacing requirements on the gaming floor and best practices for sanitation.

When the Commission has settled on those matters, it will be ready to issue a green-light date. In its most recent meeting on Thursday, the Commission discussed protocols for return in a limited manner.

Until that green-light day comes, the circumstances will limit legal sports wagering in Colorado to online wagering. While that will delay the opening of the sportsbooks at the Sasquatch and Wild Card Saloon, it also gives Ed & Shirley’s time to prepare those spaces.

The race to gain market share online has already started in CO, however. The quicker that the online products for the Sasquatch and the Wild Card Saloon get to market, the better for them.

Still many unknowns about an online betting platform

IGT provides a popular online wagering platform for other sportsbook operators already. In terms of Colorado sportsbooks, this includes FanDuel and will expand with Circa Sports when it goes live in CO.

Ed & Shirley’s, Inc. confirmed it is using IGT’s platform to build its own online sportsbook. It isn’t ready to publicize any details about the brand, however, like when Coloradans can expect to be able to use it.

Using IGT’s platform should enable Ed & Shirley’s to compete in terms of accessibility and functionality. The technology allows users to conduct all their business online.

That should include account registration, depositing and withdrawing, and placing wagers. In addition, IGT’s platform allows users to fund accounts from a variety of sources.

Ed & Shirley’s isn’t ready to divulge whether or not that will include Android and iOS apps yet. The capability is definitely there with IGT’s platform, however. All of IGT’s capabilities should enable the sportsbook to compete in the growing CO market.

How Ed & Shirley’s approach to sports betting is different

The strategy represents a diversion from the established pattern in CO. Most casinos in the state have partnered with established sportsbook brands instead of building their own.

For example, Twin Rivers Entertainment, operators of multiple CO casinos, partners with DraftKings and FanDuel. Building a sportsbook in-house is a double-edged sword.

While this requires more initial investment and labor, it will afford the casinos more control over sports betting operations. Additionally, Ed & Shirley’s will collect all the win from the sportsbook as revenue. Other casinos who contract their sports betting operations out only take a percentage of the win.

One area where Ed & Shirley’s thus far unnamed sportsbook might see a competitive disadvantage is fiscal resources. National brands like FanDuel have a lot of capital to spend on advertising and can afford to operate at a loss in order to gain market share.

Whether this strategy will turn out to be a better situation for Ed & Shirley’s will depend on how much action the sportsbook sees. Just like any other business, revenue minus expenses equals profit for a sportsbook.

In a market where convenience and performance are keys to success, IGT’s platform should provide those solutions for Ed & Shirley’s. Time will tell whether the brand that built the Sasquatch Casino will have a big footprint in CO sports betting.

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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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