BetMGM, BetRivers, William Hill Get Their Turns At Colorado License Approval Thursday

Posted on March 31, 2020

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) might approve several more prominent online sportsbook brands in a remote meeting Thursday. Among them are BetMGM, BetRivers and William Hill.

The CLGCC will consider a total of 31 license applications of various kinds on April 2. The activity continues the state’s momentum to a May 1 launch.

William Hill, others up for retail and online licensing soon

Like the CLGCC’s last meeting, Thursday’s quorum will take place via Cisco Webex. As state law requires those meetings to be open to the public, the live stream is free to view, and anyone with the link can tune in.

The public part of the meeting will begin around 9:30 a.m. local time. That’s when the action that will interest most viewers will also start.

The commission will consider license applications for 10 first-time minor vendors, nine first-time masters, six temporary sports betting internet operators, three temporary sports betting operators, a first-time major vendor, a temporary major vendor and a first-time manufacturer distributor license. So far, the commission has approved all applications at its previous meetings.

If that holds true on April 2, three more prominent online sportsbook brands will establish themselves in the Centennial State. Those are BetMGM, BetRivers and William Hill.

The first-time master license applications would grant nine more Colorado casinos the privilege of offering wagering on sporting events to their patrons. BetMGM and William Hill are also up for licensure for retail action as well.

William Hill would do so at the Isle of Capri and Lady Luck casinos. The commission’s agenda does not specify where Roar Digital will operate a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.

The company applying for a temporary major vendor license should be familiar to bettors as well. Sportradar, which provides myriad services, like official data feeds for the NFL, is up for such licensure.

Among the lesser-known online brands also up for consideration on Thursday is Circa Sports. Colorado is the first venture for the brand outside of Las Vegas.

All this continues to set Colorado legal online sportsbooks up for a potential May 1 launch. Although that’s just over a month away, it may be unceremonious.

Why May 1 may not match earlier anticipation

May 1 is the day a state moratorium on licensees accepting wagers expires. Because of that, many interested parties in Colorado have looked forward to that date for months.

That day could come and go without much fanfare now, however. It’s not only possible that the state’s casinos might still be closed, but even for online sportsbooks, there may not be much action to take.

Major League Baseball may not resume play by that date. The same goes for the NBA and the NHL. All three of those leagues would typically be in action in Colorado on May 1, with the latter two winding down toward their postseasons.

It’s especially disappointing to local sports fans because the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets were both on track for playoff spots before the leagues had suspended play. Even if MLB, the NBA and/or the NHL do resume play prior to that date, there’s no guarantee that online sportsbooks will be up and running then.

If the current status quo remains in place on May 1, the state’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks could remain closed and the online operators might not have many markets for legal bettors. Regardless, the licensure of these brands for the eventual return of popular Colorado sports lays the groundwork for a robust market at some point.

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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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