Colorado became on Friday the latest state in the US to be offering legal sports betting after the Supreme Court invalidated a long-standing federal ban on the practice nearly two years ago.
Wagering via retail and digital channels was authorized in the Centennial State last November when voters approved the legalization of the practice in a statewide referendum.
State regulators were tasked with licensing interested sports betting operators and readying the market for May 1 opening, a challenging task they said Friday they were relieved to have achieved.
Unlike other states, Colorado is getting into the US athletic gambling fold amid a very specific situation and at a time when the coronavirus has paused nearly all sports (and pretty much all contours of life as we know it).
With all of the state’s casinos being closed amid the global pandemic and residents being urged to stay home and practice social distancing, Colorado offers them the opportunity to place bets digitally.
Four online sportsbooks were launched in the state on Friday, the first day of legal sports betting, and more are expected to follow suit later this month.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission has issued nearly 20 licenses for the provision of online sports betting services, so the state is clearly poised to host a busy marketplace once the local betting sector matures and things get back to normal, or at least back to some relative normalcy.
Four Online Sportsbooks Now Active in Colorado
Colorado now has four operational online sportsbooks and more are expected to arrive soon. BetMGM and BetRivers were the first brands to go live with betting products in the newly opened market.
BetMGM is owned by ROAR Digital, the joint venture between Las Vegas casino giant MGM Resorts International and British gambling group GVC Holdings.
ROAR Digital announced Friday that it has signed an exclusive primary skin agreement with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek. Sports betting operators must sign such skin agreements with local land-based casinos in order to be able to operate on the territory of Colorado.
Of their launch in the Centennial State, ROAR Digital CEO Adam Greenblatt said that they “look forward to offering Colorado sports fans the excitement and ease of betting with BetMGM and working alongside Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino to provide top class betting experiences in the state of Colorado.”
BetRivers, owned by Rush Street Interactive, the online gambling division of regional casino operator Rush Street Gaming, was too among the first entries in the new market. The betting brand has partnered Triple Crown Casino in Cripple Creek to offer wagering in Colorado.
Commenting on their debut in the state, Rush Street Interactive President Richard Schwartz said that they have achieved success in other regulated markets because they focus on offering “a high quality product with exciting sports betting options, knowledgeable customer service, and an overall friendly approach that treats every player with honesty and care.”
Arch-rivals DraftKings, which became a publicly traded company just a couple of days ago, and FanDuel also announced their launch in Colorado on Friday.
The Centennial State became DraftKings’ seventh market in which it offers sports betting services. The company’s Co-founder and President, Matt Kalish, said that they are “thrilled to introduce Colorado’s passionate sports fans to DraftKings Sportsbook” and that customers across the state “will always have a number of year-round, skin-in-the-game opportunities to engage with the premier sports betting experience DraftKings prides itself on.”
DraftKings has been able to enter Colorado through a partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates the Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras casinos in Black Hawk.
FanDuel, which too has teamed up with Twin River, was the fourth online sportsbooks to greet Colorado sports fans for the first time on Friday.
The gambling group’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Raffensperger, said in a statement that “Colorado is home to a passionate group of sports fans and we are incredibly excited to show them why FanDuel is the number one sportsbook in the country.”
Aside from its real-money gambling offering, FanDuel is also offering the ANYTHINGBOOK free-to-play game that tests sports fans’ knowledge in sports and pop culture.