The year 2020 will be a critical one for Colorado sports betting. Voters approved legalized sports betting in November, paving the way for the regulatory process.
At the time of publishing, Colorado regulations allow each casino to apply for one “master” license that lets them partner with one sports betting operator.
Like many states new to sports betting, the infancy of Colorado sports betting has had its highlights and lowlights.
The Good: State involved numerous stakeholders in decisions
In December, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Enforcement Division held a series of meetings in which they listened to the input of key stakeholders.
The meetings fell into five categories: general rules, compliance, technology, integrity, and information and responsible gaming.
Stakeholders at each meeting included representatives from sports betting operators, casinos, tribal councils and sports information companies.
Some of the recognizable stakeholders included Bet365, Sportsradar, Wynn Resorts, FanDuel, Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour.
The meetings gave Colorado regulators plenty of information with which to craft sensible, effective sports betting regulation.
At least one major sports betting operator voiced their support of the proceedings.
Circa Sports CEO Derek Stevens said in a press release that the Department of Revenue “has done an excellent job to ensure a seamless application and launch process.”
The Good: Casinos are forming sports betting partnerships
Two casinos have finalized partnerships with sports betting operators. While no bets can be taken legally, the partnerships are common fare in states with legalized sports betting.
- Circa Sports and Century Casinos
- PointsBet and Double Eagle Casino
- Wynn Resorts and Bronco Billy’s
The Circa Sports partnership is the newest one at the time of publishing.
In the aforementioned press release, Circa’s CEO said their partnership puts them at the “forefront” of the Colorado sports betting movement.
The Bad: Moratorium on wagers
In January, Colorado legislators approved a set of regulations that put a moratorium on betting that ends May 1.
The moratorium gives regulators time to make smart decisions about sports betting regulations. However, it delays casinos and operators the ability to take bets for March Madness.
However, Colorado has company. There are five other states that legalized sports betting in 2019 but have yet to take bets in-person or online:
- Illinois (June 2019)
- Michigan (December 2019)
- Montana (May 2019)
- North Carolina (July 2019)
- Tennessee (May 2019)
The main cause of Colorado’s slow-roll on sports betting is a focus on regulations. Legislators want to do sports betting right the first time. Hence, the stakeholder meetings and May moratorium the Colorado Division of Gaming implemented.
Furthermore, Colorado is home to four professional sports teams:
- Colorado Rockies
- Denver Broncos
- Denver Nuggets
- Colorado Avalanche
The presence of NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB franchises in the state adds additional pressure for a well-run launch.
The bottom line about Colorado sports betting
There are good and bad aspects of sports betting in the Centennial State.
Regulators have done a good job of being methodical about forming the right rules and restrictions, no matter how frustrating it is for Colorado sports bettors.
And, there is plenty to be happy about. Sports betting operators have inked partnerships and regulators are listening to stakeholders.
Also, regulators were smart enough to omit sports betting max bets. They’re allowing casinos to set max-bet rules.
The bottom line? Colorado legislators and regulators have made smart, measured decisions based on input from casinos, operators and bettors.