Colorado Sports Betting Launches With Four Operators

  • Launch took place on May 1, what should have been the Kentucky Derby weekend
  • FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, and ROAR Digital are the four initial sportsbooks
  • Table tennis and darts betting expected to be popular until mainstream sports resume
  • All 17 licensed sportsbooks expected to be live by September in time for the NFL season
Welcome to colorful Colorado sign
FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, and ROAR Digital will all accept wagers from Coloradans today as legal sports betting becomes a reality in the Centennial State. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Four operators kick things off

Legal sports betting in Colorado officially begins today, despite many mainstream sports being shut down. Sportsbooks FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, and ROAR Digital – a joint venture between MGM and GVC, will accept wagers on sports like table tennis and darts from day one.

It is expected that 17 sportsbooks will be live in Colorado by September. Operators are aiming to launch in time for the start of the NFL season.

operators must partner with one of the 35 land-based casinos in order to participate

Colorado voted in November 2019 to legalize sports betting, including esports, in order to fund necessary water projects. However, operators must partner with one of the 35 land-based casinos in order to participate. All casinos in Colorado are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Esports approved

The state is also due to welcome esports wagers, something which needs to be specifically written into state laws for regulation. This was agreed by Colorado last year. Participants will have to be at least 18 years old and all contests must be sanctioned by a governing body.

Esports has become increasingly popular during the lockdown, with a 400% increase in competitive video game wagers recorded by UltraPlay through March. Others, such as Rockstar, have pledged to give back from the surge of new customers by donating to the COVID-19 charity.

Operators hoping to establish a customer base

The Kentucky Derby was supposed to take place this weekend, but has since been postponed. Despite this, the four operators named above have decided to proceed with launching in the hope of increasing sign-ups and establishing a customer base in the state from day one.

Mike Raffensperger, chief marketing officer of FanDuel Group, said:

We’re going to celebrate the launch of Colorado with futures offers for all of the hometown heroes.”

The company will offer deals on Bronco games once rescheduled. In the meantime, customers can watch and bet on games live through the app.

“Different type of launch”

While this weekend won’t be as big as once hoped due to the impact of coronavirus, Representative Alec Garnett believes it is still worth celebrating.

Garnett helped push the legislation forward. Commenting on Colorado’s sports betting launch, he said: “Life is different without sports. So it’s a different type of launch but the point is the Division of Gaming deserves a tremendous amount of credit for working with the regulated entities. I believe it’s going to protect consumers most importantly.”

And while the profits will go toward water projects within the state, there are hopes that once matured, the market could handle around $6bn in bets per year. And according to PlayColorado analyst Dustin Gouker, the Colorado market could even be worth as much as $400m.