After a lengthy wait and tense ballot-counting, it has become official: Legalized sports betting is on its way to Colorado.
On Nov. 5, 2019, state voters approved H 1327, which authorizes retail wagering at select casinos as well as online sports betting statewide.
While many believed the legalization of sports betting would pass with flying colors, the proposal, in fact, narrowly avoided failure, passing by less than 2.5% of the vote.
But, a win’s a win. And by May 2020, casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek could debut brick-and-mortar and online sportsbooks.
Well, there are none as of yet. But, ideally, they should begin cropping up by spring 2020.
Theoretically, each of the state’s 33 casinos could apply for a master license, which would allow them to offer legalized sports betting. Those properties can also form partnerships with a land-based bookmaker and an online operator or use the same partner for both platforms.
Each casino will be afforded only one mobile skin. But it is not required that a property has a land-based sportsbook to launch an online product.
For now, a few partnerships are already in place:
PointsBet, based out of Australia, has already entered the regulated US with partnerships in New Jersey and Iowa. Wynn has long operated out of Nevada, but a deal with Full House allows it to take its business to Indiana as well as Colorado. A similar partnership exists for Smarkets, based out of the UK, which has yet to enter the US market.
The bill allows for Colorado’s 33 casinos to open retail and online sportsbooks, though they can only launch one online skin per property.
Regardless, with a field already featuring PointsBet and Wynn, the crowd will likely include more popular brands. For example, both DraftKings and FanDuel have displayed aggressive expansion. In fact, through October, FanDuel was easily the largest contributor to the campaign to legalize sports betting in Colorado.
As noted, up to 33 casinos in the state could house brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. That means a majority of the following will feature retail operations:
While not every property is expected to jump at the opportunity to offer regulated sports betting, certainly a good portion of this list will step forward and apply for licensing.
A few cities in America boast an expansive offering of sports as Denver.
The capital of Colorado stands as one of 13 cities nationwide that is home to a franchise from each the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL. It is one of only six cities in the country that has all of its professional teams play within the metropolitan area.
Colorado is also home to the Colorado Rapids of the MLS.
The Centennial State also authorizes betting on college sports, though prop betting will be prohibited. Such an allowance provides the public the opportunity to wager on NCAA Division I programs such as:
As the state awaits regulators to flip the switch on legalized sports betting in May 2020, specifics of what to expect from the industry remain scarce.
That said, based on language in the Colorado bill and how the majority of bookmakers operate in other states, there are several areas of the Colorado market about which we can safely speculate. Among them are types of wagers available to bettors.
From single-match outcomes to parlays and professional props, the Colorado sports betting industry should run the gamut:
Gaming expansion in Colorado has not fared well in recent years.
In 2014, voters decisively shot down a proposal to expand racetrack casinos. That came a year after lawmakers in the state attempted to craft legislation to legalize online poker; such an effort faced a similar fate as the expanded casinos.
Attitudes appeared to shift following the US Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA in 2018. Nearly a year later, a bill to legalize sports betting, H 1327, sailed through the Colorado House and the Senate Finance and Appropriations committee.
Still, another hurdle remained before celebrations began. The state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires a public vote on any bill that would raise taxes. As such, the effort to legalize wagering, known as Proposition DD, hit the November 2019 ballot.
Many believed a roaring success was in store. Instead, the public created a nail-biter. After two days of back-and-forth ballot counting, Proposition DD passed with 51.16% of the vote. As a result, regulated sports betting could arrive in Colorado by May 2020.
State law limits brick-and-mortar betting to casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. They would apply for a master license and be authorized to launch land-based wagering, online sports betting or both.
Regulated by the Colorado Division of Gaming, sports betting would have net revenue taxed at a 10% rate.
While voters have legalized sports betting in Colorado, the public will still have to wait before the industry launches.
The Colorado Division of Gaming will need to draft a regulatory framework and vet operator applications. That said, the state expects regulated wagering to go live by May 2020.
Up to 33 casinos could apply to operate retail and online sportsbooks. Land-based operations, however, would be limited to the three areas of the state that host casinos:
Casinos can apply to operate land-based and online sportsbooks with net revenue taxed at a 10% rate. These funds will go toward the state’s water management plan as well as toward efforts to address problem gambling.
Bettors can wager on professional and college sports, but prop bets for collegiate events will be prohibited.
There aren’t wagering on high school sports or video games in “not sanctioned by a sports governing body as an electronic competition.”
Bettors must be at least 21 years old to bet and within state lines when gambling online.
Not necessarily; you can be a resident or a visitor. Colorado’s betting apps will surely utilize geolocation technology to determine that bettors are truly within state lines.
Yes, online sports betting will be part of the Colorado industry, and most operators will surely launch products that are compatible with Android and iOS devices.
The bill that legalizes sports betting details the types of bets that will be allowed by regulators. And, for the most part, the list resembles that of nearly every other state:
As the bill is written, yes. Not only on Colorado’s professional teams but also the state’s colleges.
The list includes:
You must be at least 21 or older to place a legal wager.