Sports betting in Colorado has officially launched

  • Colorado sports betting officially launched on Friday, March 1 with four online sportsbooks taking wagers.
  • Top betting options right now include Belarusian, Nigerian and Korean soccer, table tennis, Taiwanese baseball, and the upcoming UFC 249.
  • After the COVID-19 crisis is dealt with, Colorado could become one of the top sports betting states in the country.
  • The virus will likely dampen initial enthusiasm for betting, both because it has suspended most American sports and because it has caused a nationwide economic depression.

DENVER – On Friday, sports betting in Colorado officially launched, and four sportsbooks are already accepting wagers.

Enthusiasm for the launch of legal sports betting has been hampered by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down nearly all global sports.

Casinos in Colorado were forced to shut down due to the pandemic on March 18, so for the time being, only online sports betting will be available. The four Colorado sportsbooks available at launch are:

  • BetRivers Sportsbook
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • BetMGM Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook

All four are major national brands with extensive operating experience in other states. With no brick-and-mortar casinos to worry about, launching in Colorado was a simple matter.

Colorado does not require that residents step foot inside a casino to register an online betting account, so fans can begin placing wagers right away. For the time being, betting options have been severely limited by the Coronavirus outbreak.

All 33 Colorado casinos are authorized to apply for both retail and online sports betting licenses, so sports betting could be huge business once the virus passes.

What Can Colorado Players Bet On?

While most American sports are shut down, there are still some interesting global sports betting options.

The Premier Leagues of both Nigeria and Belarus have continued play throughout the pandemic, and table tennis leagues around the world are still going strong. The Korean K League 1 is also set to return on May 8, with ESPN looking to secure broadcast rights.

The Chinese Professional Baseball League (in Taiwan) has also resumed play.

UFC 249 is scheduled to take place on May 9, 2020, with a full fight card. UFC 249 is likely the only one of those events that appeals to casual bettors, but there are plenty of options available for Colorado residents to scratch their sports betting itch.

How Has The Climate Affected Launch?

There may still a handful of global sporting events to bet on, but Colorado sportsbooks will likely only see a slow trickle of bets.

If the virus hadn’t forced casinos closed, there likely would have been a slew of “grand opening” events to usher in the new era of sports betting, but as things stand, Colorado’s sports betting launch was a quiet affair.

After legalizing sports betting, states typically see a rush of betting activity with high hold rates for sportsbooks. Colorado could still see something like that when sports return, but it is unlikely.

In the grand scheme of things, Colorado is still positioned for long-term sports betting success, with laws that are friendly to both bettors and operators. Colorado’s sports betting regulations closely resemble those of New Jersey, which is challenging Nevada as the top state for sports betting.

The effects of COVID-19 are unpredictable, however. Even once businesses begin to reopen, the widespread economic turmoil caused by the virus could have a heavy impact on consumer behavior.

In a survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group in early March, at the outset of the pandemic in the United States, 26% of respondents indicated that they planned to spend less on gambling as a result of the virus.

Since then, millions of people have lost their jobs or been furloughed, and national economic uncertainty has only increased.

Additionally, the ubiquity of social distancing practices could lead to people avoiding crowded locations like casinos when businesses are able to reopen.

Making predictions is impossible in such an unprecedented situation, so the only thing left to do is to monitor the situation as it develops.

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