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Colorado Sports Betting Licenses
Following the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to give each state the authority to legalize sports betting, many states such as New Jersey and Delaware immediately jumped on board and started offering legal betting on sports.
Other states including Colorado, took a more mindful approach, preferring to take their time and move towards legalization gradually. Now, almost exactly two years since the Supreme Court decision, the long wait is over for sports fans in Colorado.
Sportsbooks launched immediately and reports indicate that a number of other licenses to offer legal sports betting in Colorado have been approved.
Four Colorado sportsbooks were successfully launched on the 1st of May including DraftKings, FanDuel, betMGM, and BetRivers have collectively won the race in Colorado, with each of the online sportsbooks launching the very first-day sports betting became legal.
The body tasked with granting licenses to prospective sportsbooks, as well as regulating all sports betting, is the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission. Since Proposition DD was passed, the Commission has announced that it has received an eye-watering 51 separate applications for sports betting licenses.
Only some of those who applied for licenses have been reported publicly, but the list unsurprisingly includes big names like Betfred and PointsBet.
With a relatively large population of 5.6 million, teams in all four major pro leagues, and a healthy network of land-based casinos already operating in Central City, Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and the Four Corners region, sports betting is poised to really take off in the Centennial State.
March 16, 2020 saw Colorado’s thirty-five casinos shut down to visitors due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. This made mobile sports betting more important than ever with people stuck at home turning to their mobile devices to place sports bets. Luckily for Colorado residents, all major sports betting apps are available on ios and android.
How to Get a License
However, it’s not as simple as just picking up a license from the Commission and immediately starting to book bets. Colorado’s new sports betting laws were meticulously designed, which is why many sportsbooks are taking their time in launching.
Sports betting was legalized in Colorado after the passage of House Bill 19-1327 and voter approval of Proposition DD during the November 2019 Election.
- The law creates three types of licenses:
- Master license — reserved for the state’s 33 casinos
- Sports betting operator — land-based retail sportsbook operator
- Internet sports betting operator — one online skin per casino
Licensing, Fees, and Taxes for Operators
Each of Colorado’s 33 casinos can apply for a master's license. There is a $10,000 initial nonrefundable fee, followed by a two-year $125,000 licensing fee. An approved casino then could partner with a land-based sportsbook and an internet sportsbook (or use the same partner for both) and utilize one online platform.
Sports betting is taxed at a rate of 10 percent on casinos' net sports betting proceeds, and the tax revenue will not be subject to TABOR as voter-approved state revenue. Sports betting revenue will be distributed to pay for the following in the order listed below:
- All administrative costs incurred by the Department of Revenue's Division of Gaming first;
- 6 percent to a hold harmless fund to reimburse recipients of current casino gaming tax revenue for any potential loss in revenue due to the legalization of sports betting;
- $130,000 for counseling services and a gambling crisis hotline in the Office of Behavioral Health in the Department of Human Services for gambling addiction problems; and
- The remaining amount goes to the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund to fund water projects under the state Water Plan.
Colorado sports betting law granted each of the state’s 30-plus casinos the ability to offer online betting inside state lines via authorized sportsbooks. So far, the majority of them have taken the opportunity.
For Colorado sports bettors, the volume of options, bonuses and promotions might be a bit overwhelming.
As part of their agreement, each group has partnered with tribal nations in the state to circumvent worries that the agreement would intrude on the state’s longstanding deal granting exclusive gambling rights to indigenous nations.