Waiting Game Begins for Legal Sports Betting Launch In Colorado

Written By Derek Helling on 12/18/2019 - Last Updated on January 6, 2022
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Legal sports betting in Colorado is merely that, legal. Colorado residents and visitors can’t actually access legal sportsbooks yet. The fact is a Colorado sports betting launch date hasn’t been announced.

There’s no timeline as of now for when Coloradans should expect an announcement either. The law does afford some inkling, however.

A clue to a possible Colorado sports betting launch date

The law which Colorado voters narrowly approved includes a statute about the time frame. Legal sportsbooks in the Centennial State can’t go live before May 2020.

There’s no guarantee, however. It may take longer than six months to get everything ready for launch day.

Much of that depends on decisions made by the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission. The decisions before it include a wide array of important matters.

Those include geolocation service contracts, license application approvals, and many other items. The speed at which the CLGCC makes those decisions will determine how quickly launch day comes.

Fortunately, it looks like the commission is wasting no time. The process has begun with a meeting to gather stakeholder perspectives.

Who’s coming to the CLGCC’s first sports betting meeting

This week the CLGCC has invited a litany of industry stakeholders to join the discussion on regulation. These include a handful of private citizens, general counsel for the Colorado Rockies and:

  • Casino operators
  • Professional sports leagues like MLB
  • Sportsbook operators
  • Sportsbook suppliers

Because of the size of the gambling industry in the Centennial State, sports betting won’t be a small undertaking. It’s likely all 33 casinos will want to launch on Day 1, whenever that may be.

To do so, however, the operators will need to comply with all the regulations. That not only includes paying licensure fees but making sure they comply with problem gambling protocols, geolocation requirements and age verification standards, for example.

The CLGCC has to set those standards before the casinos can start working on them though. The more in-line with industry standards the requirements are, the easier that process will be for the operators.

That applies to online sportsbook operators, as well. Many of them have mobile products already live in other states, so the less work they have to do to ensure compliance with Colorado protocols, the sooner they can get to market.

The best- and worst-case scenarios for launch timelines

It’s quite possible that some licensees in Colorado may not go live at the first available date. In many other states, some operators have entered the market several months after the first day they were legally allowed to start accepting wagers.

If the CLGCC is able to agree to industry-standard regulations that satisfy both the law and industry stakeholders on a quick turnaround, that would enable enough of them to pass any required tests by May. A speedy process on the CLGCC’s end would make May 1 a potential live day in that scenario.

If casinos and sportsbook operators take longer to comply with regulations or the CLGCC isn’t comfortable with the target date, May 1 might come and go without sports betting platforms going live. All that’s certain right now is that the day of legal sports betting in Colorado is on its way.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling