Which CO Online Sportsbooks Might Dominate The State?

Posted on April 23, 2020

The May 1 launch of Colorado’s legal sportsbooks isn’t going to be what the state originally envisioned when voters approved Prop DD last November. Despite that, some operators are in a better position to gain strong market share than others.

The sportsbook brands that demonstrate edges in brand awareness, ease of access, and marketing spend will rule the day. It’s possible to formulate some hypotheses on which licensees might fit those descriptions based on available information.

Which CO sportsbook brands come in with brand awareness?

Although May 1 is the first day that licensed sportsbook operators can legally accept wagers in Colorado, that day isn’t as crucial in the current climate. Because there are no Colorado Rockies or Denver Nuggets games ongoing right now, for example, being the first to market in the Centennial State is less of a priority.

What’s far more important is how familiar bettors in Colorado are with sportsbooks’ brands. Some of the future options have an edge there.

Both DraftKings and FanDuel plan to launch their CO online sportsbooks on May 1. Those books are not only arguably the biggest around the country, but CO residents will also be familiar with them because they have been playing DFS contests on those sites for years.

Other contenders in this category will be Circa Sports and SuperBook. Although they don’t enjoy the national notoriety that other brands may, they are some of the stronger brands regionally.

Name recognition is important because people tend to establish patterns with their spending and establish relationships with brands. Convincing consumers to deviate from those habits is a difficult path that requires a lot of investment.

Some brands are better set up to take on that challenge than others. It’s all about having a lot of capital and other resources earmarked for marketing purposes.

Which brands might commit themselves to the CO betting market?

One brand is seemingly all-in on Colorado already. PointsBet, which has a market access deal for the state with the Double Eagle Casino, plans to build a corporate office in the state.

That points to PointsBet likely opting to spend heavily in CO to gain market share. The same goes for Circa and SuperBook since this is the first expansion for both brands beyond Nevada.

On the other hand, few brands have the financial resources and marketing power of DraftKings and FanDuel. Brand awareness plays into that situation, making the advertising dollars of these brands more effective.

All those advantages can slip away quickly if CO bettors can’t access the product or if its quality suffers, however. That may be the best opportunity for other brands to compete.

Competitive odds and convenience will be crucial factors for CO sportsbooks

Colorado’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks won’t open for some time yet. Accordingly,  getting the product live online is of crucial importance for operators in the state. Until that’s done, there’s little use in turning on the customer acquisition spend.

Not only must the apps and websites be ready to roll, but they must also be user-friendly as well. Customers who can’t find the markets they want won’t dawdle long before moving to a competitor.

Another crucial element will be a variety of markets and competitive odds. Just like a sportsbook app that doesn’t work well, CO bettors will stray from a book that doesn’t have the bets they desire or if the odds on those bets are better elsewhere.

Most of the brands who are best set up in terms of brand awareness and marketing capital are also pretty adept at staying on top of customer experiences. It’s part of the reason why they are such well-known brands and have those financial resources.

Because of all those factors, Circa, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and SuperBook are among the brands best set up to prosper in CO. While they will still compete with each other for market share, they should face less of an uphill battle to gain that share than other brands.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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