DraftKings Sportsbook is ready to roll.
Today, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved DraftKings for a pair of licenses that will allow it to operate its popular mobile sports betting app in the state. The earliest DraftKings can launch is May 1.
The commission approved three master licenses and two vendor licenses, too, for a total of six approvals. However, the commission still has a backlog of at least 40 licenses applications, according to the Denver Post.
R. Stanton Dodge, the chief legal officer for DraftKings, released the following statement after the CLGCC’s decision:
“DraftKings is excited to receive our temporary license from the Colorado Division of Gaming and looks forward to soon being able to provide sports fans in Colorado with our top-rated mobile and online sportsbook product.”
DraftKings continues to set up shop in new states
With its licensing in hand, DraftKings can now legally operate a land-based and online sportsbook in Colorado.
The approval is a milestone because it marks the fourth state in which DraftKings has gained licensing to operate sports betting. New Jersey, West Virginia, and Indiana were the first three states, respectively.
And now the operator’s presence in Colorado pushes its influence farther west. Not only that, but DraftKings’ presence in a state with an NFL team means it has an early start on a possible NFL betting partnership with the Denver Broncos.
This past month, the NFL announced expanded opportunities for sportsbooks to form partnerships with franchisers. DraftKings could become the sponsored sports betting operator of the Broncos. It could also open a sports betting lounge in Empower Field at Mile High.
And while they’ll have to battle with other operators to win the right to a sponsorship, their license approval certainly gives them a head start.
Three casinos get licenses
Along with the DraftKings news, three Black Hawk casinos earned master licenses:
- Lady Luck Black Hawk
- Isle of Capri Black Hawk
- Ameristar Casino Black Hawk
Their master license allows them to offer retail sports betting to customers. However, the privilege doesn’t extend to partnerships with sports betting operators. This nuance explains why companies like DraftKings have to apply for their own licenses.
The CLGCC’s approval of these three licenses brings the total master license count to 10, which represents 25% of casinos in the state.
Where Colorado stands now
The state’s gaming regulators have a tall task ahead.
At the time of publishing, there are dozens of backlogged applications. If the CLCGG holds six meetings between now and May 1, regulators would have to approve around seven licenses per meeting.
At that clip, casinos and sports betting operators would have less than eight weeks to prep and launch retail and online sports wagering.
Yet even with the backlog the state faces, the regulatory progress has been encouraging.
Voters approved a sports betting proposition in November. And now, just about four months later, 10 casinos and multiple vendors have licenses.
So, while the state’s sports fans may be disappointed that few, if any, sports betting options will be available on May 1, the CLGCC’s efforts have been admirable. And there’s little reason to believe there won’t be retail and online options available by the start of the summer.