DraftKings Sportsbook Approval Likely; More CO Sports Betting Licenses Are On The Way

Posted on March 3, 2020 - Last Updated on May 26, 2020

Turns out the demand for sports betting in Colorado is booming.

This week, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission announced it would hold a special meeting to fast track a series of sports betting licenses.

The meeting will take place at 9:15 a.m. MST Thursday and, presumably, the commission will approve six applications.

Three casinos hoping for a master license

Currently, the CLGCC has six applications pending:

  • Lady Luck Casino Black Hawk: Master license
  • Isle Casino Hotel Black Hawk: Master license
  • Ameristar Casino Black Hawk: Master license
  • Score Digital Sports Ventures: Operator license
  • Score Media Ventures: Vendor license
  • Global Payment Systems: Vendor license
  • DraftKings Sportsbook: Vendor license through Twin River Entertainment

The license the three casinos in Black Hawk applied for is required by the Colorado Division of Gaming regulations for any casino in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek who want to take bets from the public.

Should the three casinos gain approval for their master licenses, the total number of licensed casinos will increase to 10. The CLGCC approved seven licenses this past month.

DraftKings looking to get ahead of FanDuel

The other notable license on the list is that of DraftKings, which will likely have a vendor license through Golden Mardi Gras Casino. Should DraftKings lock down its license, they will strike their first blow against competitor FanDuel Sportsbook, who has yet to secure a Colorado sports betting license.

DraftKings and FanDuel are locked in battles in growing sports betting markets across the country. The battle for dominance is underway in:

  • New Jersey
  • Indiana
  • West Virginia

In the short term, it’s likely that FanDuel will earn a vendor license before the May 1 launch date. Exactly how long it takes the two competitors to get to market, though, isn’t certain.

Regulators working hard to get Colorado ready for May 1 opening

The CLGCC’s special meeting this week is an indication of its willingness to speed up its regulatory process to meet deadlines. With NHL, MLB, NFL, MLS, and a Power 5 team inside its borders, there is plenty of revenue to gain from a successful CO sports betting launch.

No matter how quickly the commission moves, though, there is a chance operators won’t be able to launch by May 1.

If they can’t, the disappointment will likely be minimal. As long as operators launch before the fall, they’ll be in good shape.

An August launch, for example, would lose about half the MLB season. However, it would put operators in a good position to build a following for the college football and NFL betting seasons, as well as the MLB playoffs.

It is worth noting that new NFL rules allow franchises to sign CO sports betting operators as sponsors. This could lead to a sports betting lounge at Empower Field at Mile High courtesy of one the new CO sports betting apps.

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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey gambling beats for Catena Media. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun. Duren is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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