Officials Sticking to Launch Date for Colorado Sports Betting

Colorado’s casinos are closed through at least the end of April, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to halt normal day-to-day operations for the U.S. gaming industry.

As of now, however, the projected May 1 launch date for legalized sports betting in the state remains unchanged.

Colorado Division of Gaming director Dan Hartman expects a clearer forecast on that decision in the upcoming weeks. In a March 19 meeting with the Limited Gaming Control Commission, Hartman stated that for now, regulators are moving forward with the goal of sports betting becoming available in Colorado on May 1 as originally expected.

“We have not really approached the launch date yet,” Hartman said. “We’re still moving everything forward as far as licensing and everything to make sure we reach that May 1 date, and are able to go.”

“Those discussions will certainly happen later on, probably in April as this crisis moves forward and we will see where the casino industry is at the time.”

COVID-19 Pandemic’s Potential Effect on Colorado Sports Betting

Colorado Governor Jared Polis, on March 16, announced a 30-day closure of all restaurants, bars, gyms, theaters, breweries, coffeehouses and casinos. Those closures have since been extended to April 30.

What this means for the launch of sports betting in Colorado remains unresolved for now.

A total of 31 sports betting licenses have been awarded to Colorado operators since the state’s residents voted to legalize retail and online sports betting in November 2019.

With those licenses awarded, residents can expect sports betting offerings from many of the state’s casinos, as up to 33 casinos would be eligible to offer sports betting.

Colorado’s land-based commercial casinos (and potential retail sports-betting operations) are limited to the towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

Those casinos obtaining a sports-betting license can also offer online/mobile wagering, with bettors having access from anywhere within state borders.

With the closure of land-based casinos extended through April 30 and possibly beyond, a May 1 launch date for retail sports book operations could be in jeopardy.

The online offerings from these casinos could still get up and running on May 1. With the NBA, NHL, MLB and numerous international sports leagues on hold indefinitely, it could be awhile before bettors in any jurisdiction have much to wager on.

Big Names Coming to the Colorado Market

Per the terms of the November 2019 vote, May 1 is the first possible date when Colorado’s sports betting operators could legally begin doing business.

The Colorado Division of Gaming has since awarded 31 master licenses, which if obtained allow for both land-based and online sports betting operations.

Whatever the actual launch date, some of the biggest names in the realm of sports betting and fantasy sports are coming to the Centennial State. These operators have been approved for internet licenses, allowing them to partner with the land-based casinos to offer online and mobile sports betting.

Each land-based company is allowed up to two partnerships with online operators.

Some of the approved companies coming to Colorado include:

  • Draft Kings Sportsbook (in partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings)
  • FanDuel Sportsbook (Twin River Worldwide Holdings)
  • PointsBet (Double Eagle Hotel and Casino)
  • Wynn Resorts (Full House Resorts)
  • Fox Bet (Eldorado Resorts)
  • William Hill (Eldorado Resorts)

When mobile sports betting in Colorado launches, legal sports betting will become available to players 21 and over, as long as they are physically located within state borders and using one of the states approved, regulated platforms.

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad. Follow Geoff on Twitter at @GeoffFisk