Colorado Casinos Preparing for Legal Sports Wagering
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Colorado Casinos Preparing for Legal Sports Wagering

Colorado Casinos Preparing for Legal Sports Wagering

Colorado casinos are now preparing Vegas-style sportsbooks with less than 90 days to go until sports wagering becomes legal in the state.

Venues are now in the full swing of construction, positioning big-screen monitors, betting windows, and kiosks, all to prepare to welcome bettors.

Voters narrowly approved sports betting both through land resorts and online in the state last November, making it the 19th state to legalize it. Colorado is yet to legalize other online gambling, such as slots and online poker.

Sean Demeule, vice president and general manager of Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk, said, “We're thrilled that the voters passed sports betting last November. We're starting to plan how we're going to roll it out here at Ameristar. We're going to start with a sportsbook here on the property, working on the design right now. We're taking what's been done in Vegas and improving on that.”

Legal sports betting has grown rapidly in the US since New Jersey won a US Supreme Court case in 2018 to allow all 50 states the chance to offer it. 

Illinois, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee also legalized sports betting last year alongside Colorado. Sports betting will become legal in Colorado on May 1.

The Colorado Division of Gaming (DOG) has plans to issue up to 33 sportsbook licenses across Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City. The division will review applications and determine who receives a license. 

As of January 16, the DOG had received 51 applications, but those not given a license the first time around may have another chance in the future.

The DOG said, “The Division of Gaming is conducting prep work now to make sure all those qualified applicants who applied for a temporary license have one in place so they can begin on May 1, if they are ready.”

The 51 applications were made up of 28 master license applications, 10 operator licenses, and 13 internet licenses -- in other words, 28 casinos, 10 retail sportsbooks, and 13 online sportsbooks. The regulator has not revealed the names of applicants but has announced it will do so when the list is ready for review.

Some licenses have already been confirmed - Full House Resorts will work with Smarkets, Churchill Downs’ Bet America and Wynn Resorts. Betfred will supply sports betting to Saratoga Casino, and the Score Bet will supply Jacobs Entertainment. 

Smartphone apps and online casinos, however, will allow Colorado residents to place sports bets from anywhere within the state. GeoFencing will prevent residents from placing bets outside of the border. 

A 10% flat tax will be put onto net sports betting proceeds, which is estimated to bring in $11 million for the state in the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. The state tax on bets will go towards the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which will award grants to help meet the state’s water conservation plan.

While the state missed out on the Super Bowl and will also miss the NCAA’s March Madness, sports betting will be up and running and ready for the start of the next NFL season, ready for gamblers to play the odds online and in resorts.

PointsBet, which now has a second US headquarters in Denver, has revealed it has submitted an application and plans to offer sports betting through Double Eagle Casino. 

DraftKings and FanDuel are ready to take bets through and partnership with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, and Ameristar is adding the final touches to its own sportsbook.

Twin River has already acquired three casinos in Black Hawk and plans to keep its third license for itself.

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