While a timeframe for implementation is to be determined, Colorado eventually will offer fixed-odds horse racing betting. Bettors in the state will also find fixed-odds wagering on greyhound racing. Both are the result of a rule change made by the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission.
When it launches fixed-odds wagering will begin as an 18-month trial period. Colorado is the second state to legalize fixed-odds wagering behind New Jersey.
Wagering on horse racing in Colorado has been prohibited. That led mobile sports betting platforms to push for the approval of fixed-odds betting. The rule change paves the way for mobile sports betting on horse racing to be implemented in the state.
Unlike pari-mutuel betting, bettors will know what they’re getting when placing a fixed-odds wager. Potential payouts will be locked in at the odds on the board when the bet is placed.
With pari-mutuel wagers, the odds can change up to post time. In other words, a wager’s potential payoff can greatly decline after you’ve placed your bet
BloodHorse, which chronicles the industry, wrote last December about how many are embracing fixed-odds wagering. BloodHorse points out that with fixed-odds wagering, a bettor is wagering against a specific track or authorized bookmaker.
Colorado has live horse racing at only one track, Arapahoe Park, which is owned by Bally’s. Until now, wagering at the track has consisted solely of pari-mutuel wagering. The same has been true at the 13 off-track betting facilities Bally’s owns across the state.
Steps To Implement Fixed-Odds Horse Racing Betting
The Denver Post reported that wagering on Arapahoe Park’s 2021 meets brought in $9.5 million in wagers, according to the Colorado Racing Division. Approximately $423,000 in bets were placed at the track itself.
In pari-mutuel wagering, part of the handle – known as the “takeout” – is split amongst the track, the horsemen’s association tied to that track, and the state.
Before fixed-odds wagering can begin in Colorado, sports betting platforms will need to reach individual agreements with Arapahoe Park and the Colorado Horse Racing Association.
Similar agreements will be required with each track whose races will be offered on the individual platform, along with the horsemen’s group tied to the track. That’s the case whether a track is located in the US or another country.
Agreements with Arapahoe Park and the Colorado Horse Racing Association will have to include approvals for sports betting platforms to offer fixed-odds wagers from out-of-state tracks. These agreements are designed to allay fears that bettors will simply wager from home instead of attending races at Arapahoe Park.
The goal is to increase Arapahoe Park’s revenue streams, not curtail them by cutting into track attendance and onsite wagering.
Chris McErlean, vice president of racing for Penn National Gaming, told the Denver Post that those in the gaming industry believe Colorado is a good choice to give fixed-odds wagering a chance.
“Colorado in a short time has been a fairly progressive state when it comes to sports betting,” McErlean told the Post. “It’s shown flexibility and a willingness to work with the operators on a sports betting side. You need a friendly jurisdiction that’s willing to work with the various entities.”
Now that fixed-odds wagers have been approved, the work to make it a reality will begin in earnest.