Kristen Blessman Re-Elected As Chair Of Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission

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The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission re-elected Kristen Blessman as chair of the commission for fiscal year 2021 at Thursday’s meeting.

Blessman, who serves as president and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, a Denver-based non-profit, ran unopposed on Thursday. The incumbent chair of the LGCC was re-elected by a unanimous vote. The LGCC also named Commissioner Richard Nathan, a Denver-based attorney, as vice chair of the commission.

The meeting was the first since the state’s Division of Gaming released its initial Sports Betting Proceeds Report for Colorado’s first month of legalized sports gambling, ending May 30. The report, released on Monday, showed that the sports betting handle for May hit $25.6 million with total taxes from operators amounting to $96,537.55. Colorado Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman appeared satisfied with betting activity during the state’s first month of operations given the cessation of a host of professional sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regulations on software management changes

Earlier this week, Hartman appeared on a panel at the SBC Digital Summit North America. There, he discussed best practices in licensing using the Colorado framework as a model. Two panelists, Penn Interactive Director of Compliance Rhea Loney and Roar Digital VP of Compliance Charles LaBoy, lauded Colorado regulators for their willingness to consider input from gaming operators during the sports betting licensing process.

Loney, in particular, noted that Colorado has been forward-thinking in its approach with the regulation of software management changes. The topic is germane in sports betting due to Colorado’s crowded marketplace that may have more than 30 operators at maturity. As a result, operators such as Penn are looking to receive enough leeway to make rapid changes with their sportsbook platforms without being forced to navigate through a considerable amount of red tape.

“We want to make as many changes as we can to our platform and we want to be able to do that quickly, because I don’t want Charles and his team to beat me to any type of fun feature I might be able to offer to a player,” Loney said.

Instead of requiring operators to follow strict guidelines on software changes, Colorado advised sportsbooks to devise a set of protocols within their internal controls. The guidelines give operators the ability to make upgrades to their systems quickly, rather than wait months for regulatory approval. The protocols could apply to software changes for sports betting kiosks, security updates, or product features for bettors, Loney said.

Licensing action

The commission also approved several license applications of Double Eagle Resorts Inc., the owner of Double Eagle Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek. Double Eagle, which announced a sports betting partnership with PointsBet USA last July, had a First Master License for sports betting approved by the commission. In addition, the LGCC approved Double Eagle Resorts’ application for a First Manufacturer/Distributor License and the company’s renewal of a retail license.

An application from Elite Sportsbook-Colorado LLC for a Temporary Sports Betting Operator License, as well as the company’s application for a Temporary Internet Sports Betting Operator License, were both approved. The LGCC also approved First Vendor Minor Licenses for Royal Sports Labs LLC, H5 Capital Denver LLC, North Star Network, Sportority Inc. and Cyan Blue Odds USA Limited (Oddschecker) among others.

The LGCC’s next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26.

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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