Colorado’s Sky Ute Casino Jumps Into Sports Betting With First-Of-Its-Kind Sportsbook App

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Easy, cheap and interesting. Those are three things that Vic Salerno thinks are critical to the success of a mobile sports betting app. So he went ahead and made sure that all three were incorporated into USBookmaking’s latest offering — the Sky Ute Sportsbook, which went live in Colorado in early June.

The launch is the first of its kind anywhere in the nation — as USBookmaking is the first Native American property to roll out a mobile sports betting app available for download in a state that has legalized the activity. When Colorado’s voters legalized sports betting in November, the referendum allowed for retail and statewide mobile and did not limit either to commercial casinos.

There are only two tribal casinos in Colorado, and both are owned by branches of the Ute tribe. The Sky Ute Resort is owned by the Southern Ute Tribe while the Ute Mountain Casino Resort is owned by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. Both are located in the southwestern part of the state, closer to the New Mexico border than Denver, and far from the gambling/mining towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

Sky Ute Promises Best Odds In Colorado

Salerno says the Sky Ute app will offer the best odds in Colorado — and that’s partly possible because the tribe won’t have to pay the 10% tax on gross gaming revenue the state imposed on commercial casinos. But it’s also because Salerno says he and the Southern Utes know they can’t compete against the likes of DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers or other big operators in terms of advertising dollars, so they had to find a different way to drive consumers to their app.

“They don’t and we don’t — combined — have the money to advertise the way the big guys do,” Salerno, president of USBookmaking, told CoBets. “So we felt like this is the best way to give (customers) a break.”

After the initial launch of commercial sports betting on May 1, there are at least seven mobile/online sportsbooks live in Colorado. The Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk became the first to open a brick-and-mortar sportsbook when it did so last week.

Besides attractive odds, Salerno likes to keep his sports betting apps streamlined. He thinks it should take only a few clicks to make a sports bet, and the Sky Ute Sportsbook app was designed with ease of use in mind. In addition, once professional sports are back in action, he said, the company would offer some new, unique in-game opportunities.

“We feel the app is a lot faster,” Salerno said. “I always said to make a bet, it shouldn’t take more than three clicks. If you’re going to bet on the Chargers, it could take six clicks just to get to the Chargers and then there are so many (betting) choices.”

Company prospects in other states

USBookmaking also partners with tribes in New Mexico, including the Santa Ana Star, which was the first retail sportsbook to open there in 2018. The company also has or will have Indian Country sportsbooks in New York, Iowa, and Michigan.

Besides the new app, the Sky Ute Casino and USBookmaking will debut Colorado’s first sportsbook at a tribal casino later this summer. Salerno said they’re aiming to be open by Aug. 1, and the retail sportsbook will be housed in a bar off the main gaming floor that was originally designed with sports betting in mind. Patrons will be able to bet at teller windows or via kiosk. The book already features a 50-foot bar and televisions. Additional televisions, odds boards, and other amenities will be added before opening.

The new Sky Ute Sportsbook is available for download for Android and iOS phones.

 

 

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Jill Dorson

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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