Licenses Awarded For Colorado Sports Betting As State Prepares For May 1 Launch

Written By Juan Carlos Blanco | Last Updated
The rollout of Colorado sports betting appears to be just over 60 days away if the state’s Division of Gaming can meet a targeted May 1 start date. Whenever the first wager is accepted, it will mark the culmination of a journey that began in earnest last summer. That’s when the CO Legislature approved a sports betting bill. That initial step was followed by a mandated voter referendum in November, which officially legalized sports betting in the state. Centennial State residents resoundingly voted in favor of welcoming a regulated sports betting industry into their jurisdiction. With the measure passing by approximately 20,000 votes, the state’s Division of Gaming has subsequently begun formulating the framework under which the industry will operate within Colorado.

The basics of Colorado sports betting regulations

Some of the pertinent details of CO sports betting regulations are as follows:
  • Both retail and online sports betting ARE authorized.
  • Only those geolocated within the physical boundaries of the state allowed to place bets online.
  • 10% tax rate on operators.
  • Wagering on high school sports and esports banned.
  • Must be 21 years or older to bet.
  • Division of Gaming oversees all sports betting operations/regulations within the state.
  • Three types of licenses are available: Master licenses, operator licenses and internet licenses.

First licensees set

On Thursday, the Division of Gaming approved the first seven master licenses in the state. Those were awarded to the following casinos (the type of gaming business eligible to apply for that designation):
  • Brass Ass Casino, Cripple Creek
  • Dostal Alley, Central City
  • Double Eagle, Cripple Creek
  • JP McGills, Cripple Creek
  • Midnight Rose, Cripple Creek
  • Monarch Casino, Black Hawk
  • Saratoga Casino, Black Hawk
Colorado’s 33 existing casinos are allowed to apply for a master license (two years, cost to be determined). An approved casino then could partner with a land-based operator and an internet operator (or use the same partner for both) and utilize one online/mobile platform. There are already several such partnerships that have been announced ahead of the projected May 1 launch date. These give us a glimpse of some of the online options Colorado bettors will eventually have in the state:
  • Double Eagle sportsbook partner: PointsBet
  • Saratoga Casino sportsbook partner: Betfred
  • Century Casino sportsbook partner: Circa
  • Full House Resorts sportsbook partners: BetAmerica, Smarkets, Wynn Resorts
  • Jacobs Entertainment sportsbook partner: theScore Bet
The array of sportsbook operators mentioned will eventually give Colorado sports betting a wide selection of mobile wagering options. That includes the European bookmaker Smarkets, which first entered the US last September. It counts sports betting peer-to-peer exchange as its primary overseas product. Also, the Nevada-based Circa, which is known for higher-than-average betting limits, yes/no futures bets and a handicapping contest during NFL season. And, lastly, theScore Inc.’s theScore Bet, which last year became the first mobile sports betting app in New Jersey owned by a media company.

DraftKings, FanDuel will eventually join the fray

Meanwhile, a pair of prominent names not on that list — but set to be a part of the Colorado sports betting scene – are FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. The juggernaut duo is already thriving in multiple states and will partner with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which is projected to hold three licenses in the state overall. Twin Rivers also operates casinos in Delaware, Rhode Island and Mississippi. Colorado will be the fifth home for FanDuel, which is already in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia. It will represent the sixth for DraftKings, joining a roster of states which consists of the four aforementioned jurisdictions, as well as New Hampshire.