Genius Sports Receives Colorado Vendor License As LGCC Approves Handful Of Sports Betting Licenses

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Colorado regulators approved the sports betting license application of Genius Sports Media on Thursday, paving the way for the global sports betting data provider to begin offering its NFL official data feed to sportsbooks throughout the Centennial State.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (LGCC) approved the Temporary Vendor Major License for Genius Sports, one of a handful of sports betting-related licenses issued by the commission at its monthly meeting. Hours earlier, U.K.-based Genius Sports increased its Fiscal Year 2021 group revenue guidance from $190 million to a range of $250-$260 million, after generating first quarter group revenue of $52.7 million. The increase represents year-over-year gains of 52% from the same period in 2020.

Genius is riding the momentum of last month’s landmark deal with the NFL. Under the deal, Genius gained exclusive rights as the NFL’s official data feed and its proprietary Next Gen Stats for sports betting purposes. The deal also grants Genius the NFL international streaming rights for betting, as well as the right to distribute official NFL data to media companies.

NFL In-Game betting

Two weeks after Genius won the NFL contract, the league unveiled a partnership with three prominent gaming companies — DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars Entertainment — for about $1 billion. The five-year deal designates the trio of companies as official sports betting partners of the NFL. Genius, meanwhile, outbid archrival Sportradar for the league’s highly coveted sports betting data contract.

The data is viewed as the lifeblood for sportsbooks from an in-game perspective. For in-game betting markets — such as the total in a Denver Broncos AFC West contest — the data feeds provide updated betting lines with a low latency or time delay in comparison with on-field action. When the Broncos defeated the Raiders 20-19 in Week 2 of the 2018 regular season, an error with FanDuel’s in-game pricing system resulted in the payout of $82,600 on a winning ticket (incorrect odds of 750/1). At the correct odds, the bettor should have received a payout of under $20.

The technical glitch underscores the importance of procuring fast, reliable data feeds. Genius is still in the early stages of approaching sportsbooks for negotiations regarding NFL official data, CEO Mark Locke said on the quarterly earnings call. There are currently 29 online sportsbooks and 19 brick-and-mortar sports betting facilities across Colorado. A vast majority of the books are expected to engage with Genius in considering the purchase of the official NFL data feeds.

On a cash basis, Genius expects to break even on the NFL deal in 2021 and to be cash generating thereafter, Locke said. For the life of the contract, the company anticipates the NFL partnership to be profitable, he added.

Other licensing action

The LGCC also issued several licenses Thursday in two other categories: the First Vendor Minor License and Temporary Internet Sports Betting Operator License sections. The First Vendor Minor License application from World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) may raise some eyebrows across the industry. Last month, DraftKings offered two free-to-play pools on WrestleMania 37 ahead of the popular event.

Real money wagering on WWE events remains illegal across the nation. While real money wagering on the WWE doesn’t really “pass the smell test,” Colorado Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman told CoBets, the division remains open to allowing books to offer free-to-play pools.

Other licenses issued by the LGCC at Thursday’s meeting:

First Vendor Minor License

  • Front Office Sports LLC
  • Xpoint Services LLC
  • 365 Scores
  • LTD Bullpen Media Inc
  • Tour Junkies LLC

Temporary Internet Sports Betting Operator License

  • Tipico Colorado LLC

Fee-setting structures

At Thursday’s meeting, the LGCC approved a measure that will set new sports betting operating fees for Fiscal Year 2022. For the upcoming fiscal year, the LGCC set operating fees of $73,000 for Internet Sports Betting Operator Licensees, a decrease of about 5% from the previous year. Operating fees for Brick-and-Mortar Sports Betting Operator Licensees will decrease about 31% to $12,300.

The LGCC also voted unanimously to maintain its current gaming tax structure for Fiscal Year 2022. Commission members had concerns about modifying the structure for several tax brackets and the accompanying tax rates on casino adjusted gross proceeds (AGPs), given the instability the industry has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a time that everyone has endured,” Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission Vice Chair Richard Nathan said. “I hope that we get a rising economic tide here, and that for the areas of our responsibility in the gaming industry, that they rise as well.”

Nathan led Thursday’s meeting in the absence of Kristen Blessman, who serves as chair of the commission.

The LGCC is scheduled to meet next on June 17.

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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