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Sports betting history was made this week as Colorado’s first tribal sportsbook debuted, a partnership between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe-owned Sky Ute Casino and Las Vegas-based US Bookmaking.
It’s got new quirks that bettors need to know about. For example, it’s not included on Colorado’s licensed sportsbook page because:
Sky Ute Sportsbook does not currently offer welcome bonuses, promotional bonuses, or bet boosts. Like several other new entrants, Sky Ute SportsBook started with a soft launch. It rolled and early version to garner feedback.
However, there are ways that Sky Ute SportsBook could offer competitive bonuses. Colorado’s most competitive bonuses do one of two things:
- They offer a $500 value, which is double most of the other welcome bonuses.
- They offer two bonuses–usually a free bet and a deposit bonus.
Since Sky Ute SportsBook is still in its soft launch, it can compare the current welcome bonuses on the market and create a competitive option. While bonuses aren’t the only way to attract bettors, it’s an easy way for new bettors to compare sportsbooks. It may be in Sky Ute SportsBook’s best interest to come up with a good one.
There’s good and bad news for Sky Ute SportsBook. The bad news is SBK, Smarkets’ sportsbook. It launched a week or so before Sky Ute SportsBook, and it doesn’t build in a house advantage. As a result, SBK has the best odds in Colorado:
|Sky Ute Sportsbook||+690||-295||+450|
Smarkets blows every other sportsbook out of the water, including Sky Ute SportsBook. However, things improve once SBK is removed from the list of comparisons:
|Sheffield United||Aston Villa||Draw|
|Sky Ute Sportsbook||+130||+220||+230|
Without SBK dominating the odds across the board, Sky Ute SportsBook’s odds are much better. Sky Ute SportsBook falls short on the Aston Villa odds, but the odds on a draw and a Sheffield United win are tied for the best odds.
The Sky Ute SportsBook media team boasts the best odds in Colorado, which is odd. Sky Ute SportsBook sometimes has the best odds among the traditional sportsbooks. But the claim doesn’t match the numbers. Sportsbooks’ odds vary across sports leagues, and they can be competitive in one sport and poor in another. Sky Ute SportsBook’s odds are also threatened by SBK, the same as the other traditional sportsbooks.
Other sportsbooks, SBK included, state their goal of offering the best odds in Colorado. Sky Ute SportsBook is alone in claiming their odds are the best despite contrary evidence.
Even after American sports’ triumphant return, Sky Ute SportsBook’s sports selections are limited. It has the most popular professional and college leagues. But they have little beyond that. Besides, golf, UFC, and boxing, bettors shouldn’t expect to find much.
Sky Ute Sportsbook’s potential is its subdivisions within each sport. Bettors can choose from different leagues, like most sportsbooks. However, bettors can also bet on different parts of the game. Their baseball lines include professional baseball lines and the first five innings. Sky Ute Sportsbook could come into its own with additional betting options like these. But right now, its sport selection lags behind the Colorado market.
There’s one deposit and withdrawal option at Sky Ute SportsBook. Bettors have to register for a Play+ account to move money in and out of their betting account. Play+ is a money transfer account that acts as a middleman for different casino operators. However, these accounts can be funded with:
- Bank transfer
- Credit/Debit cards
- Checking account
The deposit and withdrawals are done through Play+, so moving money is easy.
However, the other sportsbooks don’t require a separate account set up to deposit funds. Most of the sportsbooks allow bettors to transfer funds directly into their sportsbook accounts, instead. However, the Play+ account aside, Sky Ute SportsBook’s deposit and withdrawal options aren’t that different from the other sportsbooks. There are only so many ways to transfer funds in compliance with anti-money laundering laws. Most sportsbooks can’t afford to have different transfer options.
The Sky Ute SportsBook app is easy to navigate. Instead of a featured bets page, the app goes straight to the available lines in order of the leagues listed at the top of the screen. The sportsbook avoids the cluttered look so many sportsbooks struggle with, which is fantastic. The game props on each line also take bettors to additional types of bets, giving bettors new diverse betting options.
The bet slip, open bets, and settled bets are all in the same place. If bettors have multiple bets on multiple games, then it’s easy to keep track of how much money is on those games and which ones have either paid out or lost. It’s a convenient setup.
Finally, the support section is tucked into the bottom right corner. The basic sportsbook information takes bettors to the Sky Ute Casino website, where bettors can find its FAQs and sports betting guide. Bettors can find the legal and privacy information there, too, but they’ll probably never read it.
Unfortunately, Sky Ute SportsBook is one of the sportsbooks that requires a full nine-digit Social Security number to register. Other sportsbooks, like DraftKings and FanDuel, only need the last four digits to identify its patrons. While Sky Ute SportsBook is not alone in this criticism, it’s an unnerving flaw that needs to be addressed.
Sky Ute SportsBook has several strong points. Among the traditional sportsbooks, it offers odds that are good enough that conscientious bettors must check it. It has the same deposit and withdrawal options that bettors will recognize at other sportsbooks, and its app is one of the cleanest on the market.
However, it still struggles to compete with SBK, whose odds are set by bettors rather than oddsmakers building a house advantage into their lines. They’ll likely be Sky Ute SportsBook’s most formidable competitor.
Sky Ute SportsBook’s selection of sports and lines is also small but growing. It’s not at a competitive level yet, but we’ll revisit it in the Fall to see where it ends up. Sky Ute SportsBook also has no welcome bonus–or any bonus–as of this writing. However, this is also something we’ll likely see once Sky Ute SportsBook’s full launch is complete.
Overall, Sky Ute SportsBook will be a strong competitor among the traditional sportsbooks. However, its soft launch shows the areas it needs to improve before it’s ready for prime time.
Is Sky Ute’s Colorado Sportsbook Legit?
Sky Ute SportsBook is a great new addition to Colorado’s sportsbook scene. However, new bettors may have some concerns about so many new sportsbooks. Here are five reasons that bettors can trust Sky Ute SportsBook is a legitimate business.
Sky Ute Casino Is A Licensed Colorado Casino
There are two tribal casinos licensed in Colorado:
- Sky Ute Casino
- Ute Mountain Casino
Because Sky Ute Casino is a licensed casino, it’s bound by the 1995 gaming compact between the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the State of Colorado. It’s also overseen by the NIGC, the regulatory body that oversees tribal gaming operations. Sky Ute SportsBook is one product among many safe and legitimate products affiliated with Sky Ute Casino.
Sky Ute Casino Moves Big Money Through Colorado
In 1999, Deloitte & Touche studied the social and economic impacts of Colorado’s two tribal casinos. The studies came to a stunning conclusion. Between 1995 and 1999, the two casinos moved $29 million to $33.3 million through Colorado just by doing what they do. Some of that money went to tribal community projects that, among other things, improved food distribution and completed road renovations on the reservations. That money also improved citizens’ economic standing.
The casinos have a big impact on the tribal and state communities. Sky Ute SportsBook will run legitimately to continue impacting the community that way.
National Indian Gaming Commission Oversight
The NIGC performs its own audits to ensure tribal casinos operate legitimately. They have the power to not only enforce pertinent regulations but also refer problematic cases to state and federal judges. They’re a powerful regulatory body that keeps tribal casinos–and sportsbooks–honest.
Sky Ute Casino Wants To Open A Physical Sportsbook
Before COVID-19, Sky Ute Casino was planning on releasing its sportsbook app and retail sportsbook at the same time. However, Sky Ute Casino had to close. That meant the first sports betting impression came from the app. Sky Ute Casino still wants its retail sportsbook, so it needs its app to make a good impression.
Sky Ute SportsBook Breaks Two Records
I already said that Sky Ute SportsBook is the first tribal sportsbook in Colorado. However, it’s also the first tribal sportsbook in the United States to offer mobile betting across the entire state. Sky Ute SportsBook could have one of the largest bettor bases at its fingertips. It cannot afford to alienate that base with shady business practices.
Why Should Bettors Wager With Sky Ute Sportsbook Instead Of Some Shady Bookie?
Seasoned sports bettors know an ugly secret about sports betting before 2018. Illegal sportsbooks have great odds. They don’t have to worry about house advantages or risk distribution like licensed sportsbooks. That means they can afford to offer fantastic odds for bettors. Why would anyone bet at a legitimate sportsbook when stronger odds are on the table?
At its worst, betting at illegal sportsbooks can lead to violence and intimidation. Some illegal sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on credit. That way, bettors don’t have to put money up right away. It’s not a bad deal if bettors win–and actually get paid.
However, bettors who lose face the prospect of paying back an illegal sportsbook. These sportsbooks resort to intimidation tactics to get their money back. One violent operation that was busted in 2013 employed runners who used violent tactics to get money back from customers. Imagine being a customer who wasn’t only short on funds, but who also had gotten two credit extensions and became even deeper in debt. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture of illegal sports betting.
But non-violent illegal sportsbooks have issues too. They may not kneecap their delinquent patrons, but they don’t have to pay winners, either. If Colorado bettors get stiffed by a shady sportsbook, they can’t sue for damages. The Colorado Department of Revenue is blunt. There’s no help available for bettors who gamble outside the law.
In contrast, legitimate sportsbooks do not:
- Offer lines of credit that demand repayment.
- Demand money from bettors.
- Hide from customer or state complaints.
Sky Ute Sportsbook is a legitimate operation that customers can feel secure wagering at.
Will Sky Ute SportsBook Protect Bettors’ Money?
Yes. Sky Ute SportsBook takes betting security seriously. That goes from its standard security measures, like SSL certificates, to its partnerships. Sky Ute SportsBook partnered with USBookmaking to run its sportsbook.
The plot thickens. At the beginning of 2020, USBookmaking partnered with a security firm, U.S. Integrity. The main benefit for USBookmaking is new tools to detect and prevent fraud. It’ll make it harder for money launderers to move money through a sportsbook or for hackers to access sensitive betting information. If U.S. Integrity can detect strange betting patterns, then Sky Ute SportsBook users will be safer.
U.S. Integrity also provides security for some big names in sports, including:
- The National Basketball Association
- The Southeastern Conference
- The Nevada Gaming Control Board
Sky Ute SportsBook users have the same entity watching over their sportsbook security as the NBA. Users can feel perfectly safe wagering at Sky Ute SportsBook.
Sky Ute SportsBook Fact Sheet
Legal Colorado Betting Age 21
Legal States of Operation Colorado
Colorado Partner USBookmaking
Sky Ute SportsBook FAQ
Yes. In fact, Sky Ute Sportsbook requires bettors to be connected to WiFi to use the sportsbook app. That way, it can determine bettors’ locations and ensure they’re Coloradan bettors. Bets must be placed in Colorado to be legal, so bettors must be in the state to participate.
No. You can create the account from anywhere. You just won’t be able to use it unless the app determines you’re in Colorado.
Yes. Esports is one of the sports advertised on the Sky Ute Casino website. It’s not on at the time of this article, but it’ll likely be online by the fall when sports betting hits one of its peaks in Colorado.
The website lists 14 staple sports to start with, but it also mentions other leagues that don’t happen as frequently. It’ll have lines on Olympic events when the season starts, but bettors won’t see them until the Olympic season approaches. However, bettors will see sports like football, soccer, and baseball frequently. (And if the pandemic ravages the sports world again, they may darts make a stunning resurgence.)
Not yet. At the time of this writing, only five of the 14 guaranteed sports are on the app. Bettors probably won’t see bonuses, promotions, or odds boosts until the sports and betting lines are completed.
No, but it’s coming soon.