Betfred Attains First-Mover Advantage In Colorado By Pure Happenstance

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When Gilpin County provided a green light to casinos last week for reopening following an unprecedented three-month shutdown, Bryan Bennett had an inclination that Betfred USA would be among the first operators in Colorado to accept wagers at a retail betting window.

Bennett, who serves as the chief operating officer at Betfred USA, surprised even himself. One week after launching a sportsbook inside Saratoga Casino Black Hawk, the facility still owns the distinction of operating the only brick-and-mortar sportsbook across Colorado. Despite the paucity of retail sportsbooks throughout the Centennial State, there are currently seven operators offering mobile sports betting in Colorado.

“We did not realize we were going to be the first and we certainly didn’t realize we were going to be the only one,” Bennett told CoBets. “I know a lot of other casinos are working on their books. We worked all through the pandemic so we were ready to go as soon as the casino opened.”

Sparse foot traffic

Bennett admittedly expected sportsbook traffic to be light for last week’s debut. The vast majority of wagers over Betfred’s opening week were bets on golf, mixed-martial arts, and NASCAR racing, Bennett said. Customer volume in the sportsbook has also been relatively low for midweek European soccer matches and typically declines sharply on weekday evenings, he added.

Betfred hopes to receive a boost from the return of Major League Baseball in late July. On Tuesday, the MLB Players Association agreed on a set of health and safety protocols required for the finalization of a 60-game regular season scheduled to begin by July 24, at the latest. While Betfred has yet to determine a season-win total on the Rockies, Colorado is widely viewed as a long shot to win the National League pennant.

At DraftKings Sportsbook, Colorado has odds of +7000 to earn a spot in the World Series, the fourth-highest of any team in the National League. Another licensed Colorado sportsbook, PointsBet USA, set the season-win total on the Rockies at 27.5 wins.

“We’re anxiously awaiting the baseball season, that’s going to be a whole new ball game — no pun intended,” Bennett said.

Nevertheless, Bennett indicated that the company made it a priority to begin the process of building the brand for new customers as soon as casinos started to reopen. Betfred plans to wait until August to roll out a mobile app in Colorado, in time for football season.

“For us to be good partners, to welcome people back and to send a message that Betfred is going to be aggressive, it was important for us to open along with our casino partners,” Bennett said.

U.K.-based Betfred made its American debut in January with the opening of a brick-and-mortar sportsbook at Grand Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa. Betfred has also secured a deal to power the future sportsbook operations at Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino in Pennsylvania.

Betting lounge at Mile High

Betfred also announced a multi-year partnership with the Broncos last week, a day before making its debut in Black Hawk. As part of the deal, Betfred will open a sports betting lounge outside of Empower Field at Mile High.

“Betfred’s combination of a physical sportsbook at Saratoga Casino, extensive retail offerings in Europe and an upcoming online offering make them an organization we think Broncos fans will enjoy engaging with,” Broncos Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman said in a statement. “They are relatively new to Colorado and are enthusiastic to be a part of gameday at Empower Field at Mile High.”

Betfred’s betting lounge will be housed in a tent approximately 40-by-100-feet in size, Bennett said. There are no restrictions from the NFL on the proximity of the tent to the actual stadium, he added.

Although the operator doesn’t have any plans to open betting windows inside the tent, Betfred brand ambassadors will be on hand to assist customers on how to navigate through the betting app, Bennett explained. There, customers will receive instructions on how to download the app, fund their accounts and place a variety of bets, he noted.

While Betfred has held discussions with other Denver-area professional sports clubs on potential betting partnerships, none are close to materializing, according to Bennett.

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Matt is a veteran writer with a specific focus on the emerging sports gambling market. During Matt's two decade career in journalism, he has written for the New York Times, Forbes, The Guardian, Reuters and CBSSports.com among others. In his spare time, Matt is an avid reader, a weekend tennis player and a frequent embarrassment to the sport of running.

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