Hurdle Cleared: Colorado Commission Approves Rules, First Seven Sportsbook Licenses

Posted on February 21, 2020 - Last Updated on February 26, 2020

So far, everything is going according to plan. On Thursday, Feb. 20, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved seven sports betting licenses and nine proposed rules.

Because the commission made these decisions so quickly, the state continues on its track to May 1. That’s the day that sportsbooks might actually start accepting wagers in the state.

Seven sports betting licenses approved by the state

The commission approved all seven license applications up for consideration on Thursday. The first wave of Colorado sportsbook licensees now includes:

  • Monarch Black Hawk Inc. dba Monarch Casino Resort Spa
  • Kings, Queens, and Jacks LLC dba Saratoga Casino Black Hawk
  • Dostal Alley Inc. dba Dostal Alley
  • Double Eagle Resorts Inc. dba Double Eagle Hotel & Casino
  • Casino Holdings Inc. dba Brass Ass Casino
  • Holland Ventures Inc. dba J.P. McGill’s Hotel & Casino
  • Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino Inc. dba Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino

Double Eagle’s approval means PointsBet is coming to the Centennial State. In a similar fashion, Saratoga will bring Betfred to Colorado.

Other licensees still have yet to announce partnerships with sportsbook operators. Given the fact that they are approved now, they may do so quickly.

That’s because speed is now the name of the game. If these casinos want their sportsbooks open on May 1, that’s largely in their own hands now.

What happens now with these license holders?

The responsibility now lies with these casinos to work with their sportsbook partners to build out their brick-and-mortar and online products. That includes physical renovations, installation of new hardware and staff training on the retail side.

For the online components, preparations include tweaking the platforms to comply with Colorado’s regulations. Although there isn’t much that is unique to the state, as the rules mostly represent industry standards, there is a lot of work to be done.

Even though this licensure leans toward sportsbooks going live on May 1, when a state-imposed moratorium ends, there’s no guarantee that will be the case. It largely depends on whether the sportsbooks are actually ready to do so.

Besides compliance concerns, sportsbook operators need time to get familiar with the state and market their products. It’s also a possibility that online books may launch after their retail counterparts.

The state did them another solid by setting them up to succeed in a different way on Thursday, however. The commission also approved its remaining proposed rules.

All 10 sportsbooks rules now in place in Colorado

Entering Thursday, the state still had to give final approval to nine of its 10 emergency rules. Because there was little controversy over them, the approval went smoothly.

While that may seem less important than the license applications, it’s actually crucial. Because these rules are now final, the licensees can proceed with confidence.

It’s important to know the rules before you start playing the game. This gives sportsbook operators a green light to work as quickly as they can to get everything ready for May 1.

While it’s no sure thing yet, it seems more likely than not that at least some of these licensees will actually start accepting wagers at the first opportunity. The commission has done everything it can to facilitate that so far.

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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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