Colorado’s Gaming Commission May Take A Big Step Thursday Toward Letting Sportsbooks Go Live

Written By Derek Helling on 02/19/2020
Colorado legal sports betting

Thursday could be a momentous day for legal gambling in Colorado. The sports betting meeting agenda points toward a crucial deliberation.

Among the items for the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission later this week is the consideration of the state’s proposed rules for sportsbooks. If that goes well, it would be a big step.

What’s on the sports betting meeting agenda this week?

The commission will meet on Thursday, Feb. 20, in Golden. The agenda for the meeting contains eight items.

Seven of those items come in the part of the session open to the public. The first two are monumental in their own right.

The commission will consider master and vendor license applications from several parties. If the commission grants those licenses, those parties will be free to begin their work toward going live in the state.

While the state issuing its first legal sportsbook licenses would be historic, it’s only part of the history the commission might make Thursday. The next-to-last item on the agenda is equally important.

The commission will also consider the state’s proposed rules for sports wagering. It’s unclear whether that will include a vote to finalize them right now.

If that does happen, however, it could be big if the vote carries. That would represent one less item on the to-do list.

Why a vote to finalize the rules would be big for everyone

While it’s possible for casinos and sportsbook operators in the state to assume that the existing emergency rules for sports betting will largely go unaltered in the future, there’s no better situation than having the final regulations in hand. That will allow them to know how to proceed.

Putting final rules in place ensures there’s no gap between when the emergency rules expire and permanent regulations take effect. It also gives stakeholders confidence.

Without knowing exactly how to tweak their products to comply with the rules, it’s obviously hard to do so. Getting those regulations in place the same day as casinos receive their licenses would be ideal.

That way, there would be no cases of casinos or sportsbooks having to backtrack and make changes. Additionally, it would allow the commission to start crafting procedures for how it will inspect operators for compliance.

All this comes with one goal in mind: getting as many of the licensees as possible ready to go on May 1. That date is the goal for everyone right now.

May Day could be a heyday for sportsbooks in the state

The first day of May in Germanic cultures is a holiday celebrated with cake, dancing and decorative poles. While Colorado’s casinos may not necessarily invoke those traditional themes if they launch their sportsbooks on that date this year, there will be some kind of celebration.

State law prevents sportsbooks from actually accepting wagers until May 1. When that day comes, if all the boxes have been checked, they can do so.

Passing a final inspection from the commission in regards to the state regulations is one of the most important steps toward that goal for a sportsbook. Obviously the more time the state gives itself to complete those checks, the better.

The commission may do so on Thursday. As most of the meeting is open to the public, it will be an opportunity for Coloradans to witness history in their state if that happens.

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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.

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