Bronco Billy’s On Track For Colorado Retail Sports Betting Launch After License Approvals

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The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved two license applications from Full House Resorts on Thursday, completing licensing action that will allow the company to maintain all three of its mobile sports betting skins.

At Thursday’s meeting, the LGCC approved the First Retail License and First Master License for sports betting of Sir William’s Casino, which is owned by Full House Resorts, the operator of Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek. The approvals are contingent upon the surrender of the retail and master licenses of Christmas Casino & Inn At Bronco Billy’s, LGCC Chair Kristen Blessman said at the meeting. The action, in effect, transfers the licenses currently held by Christmas Casino to Sir William’s Casino, a new casino entity, Division of Gaming spokesperson Suzi Karrer told CoBets. 

Over the last year, FHR signed partnerships with BetAmerica, Wynn Resorts and Smarkets, providing the three companies with sports betting market access in Colorado. Smarkets launched a mobile sports betting platform in June, while the other two are still awaiting regulatory approval.

Christmas Casino, located on the corners of 3rd Street and Bennett Avenue in Cripple Creek, has struggled to turn a profit since reopening in June, according to FHR. By transferring the licenses held by Christmas Casino to Sir William’s, Bronco Billy’s will be able to retain all three skins or sports betting partnerships, FHR CEO Dan Lee told CoBets. Christmas Casino is expected to close in mid-September, days before the planned opening of Sir William’s, Karrer wrote in an email.

Lee is optimistic that a BetAmerica retail sportsbook inside Bronco Billy’s will open in time for the start of the NFL regular season. There are 10 sports betting kiosks inside the property ready for launch, Lee said.

Other licensing action

Also on Thursday, the LGCC issued sports betting-related licenses to two other companies: Colorado-based Momentum Sports and Entertainment and Playup Interactive Inc., an Australian-headquartered company. Momentum Sports and Entertainment received approvals on its Sports Betting Operator License and Temporary Internet Sports Betting Operator License applications at the meeting.

The LGCC also approved First Vendor Major Licenses related to sports betting for eight companies Thursday: Uptonvale USA LLC, SimpleBet Inc., Sports IQ Analytics Inc., NeoGames Solutions LLC, GAN Nevada Inc., Sharplink Inc., and Overdrive Marketing Inc. In addition, the LGCC issued more than a dozen sports betting-related First Vendor Minor Licenses at Thursday’s meeting, headlined by Barstool Sports Inc.

Next month, Penn Interactive Ventures is expected to launch Barstool’s mobile sports betting app in Pennsylvania, marking one of the industry’s most highly anticipated debuts since the May 2018 PASPA ruling.  Penn Sports Interactive, a unit of Penn National Gaming, received sports betting license approval from Colorado regulators in April.

Emergency motion

The LGCC also passed an emergency motion on Thursday aimed at creating enhanced social distancing for customers by allowing the total square footage of gaming space to be spread over more noncontiguous spaces within a casino property. The motion allows for the immediate implementation of Executive Order D 2020-173, an order issued by Gov. Jared Polis on Monday. Polis’ order also temporarily suspends a statute that limited legal blackjack games to a maximum of seven players, while allowing electronic blackjack games to be played with more than seven customers. The measure effectively allows electronic blackjack games to be played by anywhere of 20 to 30 customers at once.

Colorado Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman did not provide a timetable on when he expects table games to reopen across the state. There appears to be some hesitancy among officials at the Governor’s Office to allow for the reopening of table games due to the close proximity of casino guests in a tight area, Hartman indicated.

The LGCC is scheduled to meet next on Sept. 17.

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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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