Legal Sports Betting is Live in Colorado

Coloradans rejoice – the legal sports betting market is live in the Centennial State since May 1st, 2020! Or perhaps “barely live” is more of an accurate statement due to most sports leagues being paused right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nevertheless, Colorado is the latest state where bettors are now able to take their action to legal operators. In this article, the ScoreMetrics Lab covers what this means for sports fans in the state and how we got here.

A consumer-friendly mobile betting market

While there might not be any major American sports leagues in play right now, bettors in Colorado have been able to register to one of the many sportsbooks that are already in operation in the state and put down money on any other sports markets that those bookmakers are offering. 

Unlike most other states, Colorado has allowed online registrations, deposits and betting right from the start. No in-person visits for signups are required. This makes it easy for consumers to start placing wagers, which in turn bodes well for the bookmakers and for generating tax revenues for the state.

The rules in place state that sportsbook operators have to partner with a casino in the state in order to enter the market. There are 33 casinos in Colorado, so there is plenty of room for partnerships, and all of the big players will likely try to enter the market fast.

DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers and BetMGM are already open for business for eager bettors. With more to follow, the market should be very good for consumers and Coloradans can expect to see decent odds and plenty of signup bonuses from bookmakers. 

Besides online betting options, there will also be possibilities to bet at casinos once they are allowed to open their doors again. 

All of this combined will surely make the action lively in the state once sports resume. 

While sportsbooks had to settle for a rather slow start in the state, some saw positives for this type of launch. As Dustin Gouker, chief analyst for PlayColorado.com put it; “Not the worst thing in the world to have a soft opening, get the glitches worked out now.”

And there was more optimism from Dan Hartman, Colorado’s Division of Gaming director, for when sports will be back: “If they return without fans in the stands, this can be a way that they can really follow along. It’s going to add another piece to watching and playing and being a part of sports,” he said.

What does legal sports betting mean for Colorado?

Colorado passed the bill for legal sports gambling last November. It was a close call with only 50.8% of the vote in favor of legalization. A 10 percent tax rate was placed on casino profits. 

According to an estimate by PlayColorado, legal sports betting could generate up to $6 billion per year in bets and $40 million in tax revenue for the state. 

If we can draw any conclusions from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where mobile betting has been possible right from the start, that $6 billion does not seem unrealistic. Pennsylvania’s legal sports betting market already had a total handle of approximately $2.3 billion in less than one year in operation, while New Jersey’s has seen more than $7 billion wagered in less than two years. 

Granted, both states are more populous than Colorado, but reaching the top end of that $6 billion annual estimate could happen when the market matures down the line in a few years. 

“I think the growth potential is pretty great. I think most operators see Colorado as a great sports entertainment state, this just goes right along with it,” said Dan Hartman. 

As we wrote earlier, all of the major leagues are making preparations for resuming play as soon as it’s safe to do so. When they do, we can expect to see a lot of action in the state.

The ScoreMetrics Lab will keep you informed of all interesting developments in the US sports betting market. For an overview of the legal status of sports gambling, read our special report, titled “America is Gambling on Sports”, here. Since that article, we’ve also covered legal sports betting going live in Michigan and Illinois, and Washington passing a bill to legalize sports gambling in the state. 

This article was based on information reported by the Coloradoan and Westword

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