Colorado Could Open The Door To First US Sports Betting Exchange

Written By J.R. Duren on October 11, 2023
Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes Celebrates After Touchdown with Novig logo

Novig is ready to do what no other sports betting operator has done in Colorado.

The emerging sports betting exchange earned a Colorado online sports betting license from the Colorado Division of Gaming, making it the first betting exchange to get licensed in the Centennial State.

The catch is, however, that Colorado doesn’t allow betting exchanges, so Novig will operate as a traditional sportsbook for now.

What’s the difference between a sportsbook and a betting exchange?

A traditional sportsbook chooses which bets it will offer. It sets the odds for that bet. If a bettor takes the bet and wins, they get a payout. If they lose, the sportsbook gets the money.

Bettors don’t have much freedom to create their bets. Generally speaking, the opportunity for creativity is to string together parlay bets. The main interaction is between the bettor and the sportsbook.

A sports betting exchange is an entirely different animal. In exchange, the bettor can create their bet. They put that bet on the exchange and wait for another bettor to take the opposite side of the bet.

So, say someone sees that the over-under on Patrick Mahomes touchdown passes for the season is 36. They know those numbers are low because Mahomes started slow, and they think the star QB will light it up for the rest of the season. They set the over-under at 41 touchdowns with odds that offer a considerably higher payout than what’s on the market.

Another bettor sees the bet on Novig and likes the odds, so they bet the under. The wager is active, and Novig is the data validator and payout platform.

Additionally, Novig doesn’t take a cut (vig) of the payout; hence the name “Novig”. CEO Jacob Fortinsky said in a Novig press release:

“We’re thrilled to kick off our journey in the vibrant sports betting landscape of Colorado, and we’d like to thank the Division of Gaming for their help throughout the process. We’re committed to building an unparalleled, community-led betting experience, and we look forward to becoming the go-to destination for sports fanatics and sharp bettors alike.”

What Novig’s license means for sports betting

Much like the bets that would, in theory, be offered on Novig, there are two sides to the Novig Colorado approval. On one side, there’s the thought that Colorado has no intention of approving a sports betting marketplace and wants to add another sportsbook operator to its market.

On the other side, there’s the notion that Colorado regulators know exchange betting is inevitable and plan to discuss, regulate, and approve it. And if Colorado approves exchange betting, it could open the proverbial floodgates for the rest of the country.

However, novel betting approaches haven’t had the best luck over the past five years. A prominent example is Betr, the Jake Paul-backed operator getting steamrolled by traditional sportsbooks in Ohio.

Either way, Novig’s licensure is a big win for the company, which announced $6.4 million in seed funding earlier this past summer. For now, the company will offer moneyline, point-spread and game-total wagers for:

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • MLB
  • NCAA basketball and football games
Photo by Adam Hunger / AP Photo; illustrated by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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