Colorado Adds Another Meeting, NCAA Prop Bets Still Under Discussion

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The COVID-19 crisis doesn’t seem to be dimming anyone’s interest in opening a sportsbook in Colorado. The state’s Limited Gaming Control Commission will hold its third meeting of the month on April 30 to consider even more sports betting licenses.

The commission and Division of Gaming are tasked with being prepared for operators to launch sports betting by May 1, and they plan to meet that goal. At least two operators — FanDuel and DraftKings — say they plan to launch digital platforms on May 1, and it’s likely other operators will, as well. To date, the LGCC has granted licenses to 30 of 33 retail casinos in the state. Retail and statewide mobile sports betting are legal in the state, and mobile platforms do not have to be tethered to physical locations.

No agenda is available yet for the April 30 meeting, but besides issuing licenses, the LGCC could offer a little more clarity on its decision to approve its sports betting catalog for pro sports only. At the last meeting, the commission voted to hold out nine NCAA sections as it sorts through whether some of the offerings developed by regulators are in conflict with the law, which does not allow for prop bets on individual collegiate players.

LGCC to review ‘player prop bets’

COBets tried to get some feedback from universities and operators on this decision, but it turns out to be a touchy topic that none wanted to engage on.

“The Division of Gaming is working to make sure they fully define what is a player prop bet, ensuring that bets may not be made on individual players or positions at the college level,” an LGCC spokesperson told COBets. “Because the NCAA is not in play right now, the CLGCC and the Division felt it was a good time to review the catalog and the definition of prop bets to ensure the rule promulgated for prop bets fits.”

At issue are bets currently in the catalog that could potentially be considered prop bets on individual college athletes. During the last meeting, Commissioner Richard Nathan suggested that bets on corner kicks in soccer could have a direct outcome on the game and are a bet on an individual, making the bet essentially against the new law, or the spirit of it anyway.

No licensee shall conduct or permit on its premises or through any online or electronic means any sports betting on a high school sports event, a video game that is not sanctioned by a sports governing body or equivalent as an electronic competition, or proposition bets on collegiate sports events

Section 1.3 Unauthorized sports betting. Colorado Adopted Sports Betting Regulations.

While corner kicks most certainly can affect a game result, there is no sure way to know which player will take the kick. However, by the same reasoning, the commission could look at some college football bets listed — a touchdown by special teams, or the longest or shortest touchdown. Much like the corner-kick wagers, both have a direct impact on the game result, but when placing a bet, it would be unclear which athlete could score.

There are other proposed bets that could come under scrutiny from the commission. One would allow Colorado bettors to place a wager on whether a team such as the eight-time national champion Denver Pioneers will record a shutout in an NCAA ice hockey game. A compelling argument could be made that the prop bet asks bettors to predict how a goaltender will perform, not the team overall. Another unique prop bet for NCAA volleyball gives bettors the opportunity to select which team will be the first to score a certain amount of points in a given set. For in-play wagers, an astute bettor may favor a particular team based on if a dominant server will open a set.

NCAA sports are currently on hold after the association canceled its winter championships and spring seasons, as the COVID-19 crisis prevents mass gatherings. Those suspensions give the Division of Gaming time to refine its bet offerings.

“The Division fully anticipates coming back to the CLGCC with a proposal to include NCAA bets and simply took this opportunity to publish a sports catalog that can be added to a later date,” an LGCC spokesperson said.

Jill has covered everything from steeplechase to the NFL and then some during a more than 30-year career in sports journalism. The highlight of her career was covering Oakland Raiders during the Charles Woodson/Jon Gruden era, including the infamous “Snow Bowl” and the Raiders’ 2003 trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. Her specialty these days is covering sports betting legislation across the country.

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