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Colorado Launches Sports Betting Industry

Mobile betting during pandemic

Though there are almost no sports on which to bet because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports betting industry went live in Colorado. State Rep. Alec Garnett, one of the prime sponsors of the bill, is thrilled nonetheless.

“Life is different without sports,” Rep. Garnett told CBS4 News Denver. “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.”

Most other states require gamblers to register for a sports wagering account in person before being allowed to play online. Those in Colorado can register from home, which is helpful during the pandemic. Industry experts believe the vast majority of bets will be placed on mobile devices, even when casinos are back to normal.

Four sportsbooks live on first day

At launch, 10:00 am Colorado (Mountain) time, there were four sportsbooks up and running. These include (casino partner in parentheses): BetMGM (Midnight Rose, owned by Triple Crown Casinos), BetRivers (McGills Hotel and Casino – Triple Crown), DraftKings (Twin River), and FanDuel (Twin River).

More than a dozen other sports betting apps have been licensed and are getting ready to launch, including Fox Bet, William Hill, and PointsBet.

Mike Raffensperger, CMO of FanDuel Group, told CBS4 News Denver that table tennis is currently the site’s most popular sports. Some international soccer leagues are an option, as is darts. FanDuel has acquired the streaming rights to many of these sports, so customers can watch and bet simultaneously.

Some eSports, such as the eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series, might also gain more traction as betting options.

No maximum on wagers

As noted by the sportsbook partnerships above, entities that are currently licensed to offer “limited gaming” are the only ones who can be licensed for sports betting. They are permitted to contract with a sports betting operator rather than developing their own in-house betting platform.

In Colorado “limited gaming” means that casinos must institute a cap on wagers. Sportsbooks are not subject to such a ceiling. They must have special controls in place for bets above $10,000.

The state government is charging a 10% tax on sports betting net revenue (read: profits). The proceeds will go to benefit the state water plan, as well as other public initiatives.

$1,739,015 was appropriated from the Colorado general fund to pay the startup and initial operating costs for the state’s sports betting industry. That money will be paid back first from the tax collected from sportsbooks.

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