Gloomy Outlook For Colorado Gaming Industry Amid COVID Spike; Sports Betting Sunnier

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As a second wave of COVID-19 cases envelop the nation, Colorado regulators continue to depict a grim view of the implications of the global pandemic on the state’s gaming industry.

For the month of September, state gaming tax revenues decreased by approximately $4.88 million, a decline of 25% in comparison with the same month in 2019, said Vickie Floyd, a controller for the Colorado Division of Gaming. As of Sept. 30, total revenues for the Colorado Limited Gaming Fund stood at $15,325,055, Floyd explained, again representing a decrease of about 25% from levels 12 months earlier.

Floyd’s comments on Thursday came several days after Teller County struck a compromise with the state that will allow casinos in Cripple Creek to remain open for the time being. New restrictions approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) allow Cripple Creek casinos to stay open at 25% capacity or with a limit of 50 people. Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across Colorado, the CDPHE moved Teller County to orange (high risk) on the state’s COVID-19 dial Monday evening.

More optimism in sports betting

Across the state the environment for sports betting, however, appears less gloomy. Over a three-month period through the end of September, the state collected $498,240, Floyd said Thursday at the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission’ s (LGCC) monthly meeting. In addition, the state collected about $1.54 million in sports betting operating fees and another $51,415 in licensing fees during the period, Floyd added.

Moving forward, some prominent Colorado regulators expect the state’s Net Sports Betting Proceeds (NSBP) to trend upward. Among sportsbook operators, win rates fluctuate each month, Division of Gaming Director Dan Hartman noted, adding that several outcomes of sports contests defied bookmaker expectations in September. Consequently, the Colorado total win percentage for online sports betting came in at 1.85%, down from 5.74% the previous month.

Although the state’s sports betting handle eclipsed $200 million in September, Hartman hinted that the NSBP could have been considerably higher if the books won at a higher rate during the month.

Licensing action

At Thursday’s meeting, the LGCC issued a Temporary Vendor Major License in the sports betting category to Better Collective USA. (Full disclosure: Better Collective is the parent company of several sports betting-focused websites nationwide, including CoBets.)

The LGCC also awarded First Vendor Minor Licenses to more than a dozen companies, highlighted by Fearless Group USA Inc., SportsCastr Live, and Futbol Sites LLC.

Other companies awarded First Vendor Minor Licenses Thursday:

  • Knup Solutions LLC
  • Fuhrman Sports Consulting
  • Third Screen Sports Inc.
  • Oddsium USA Inc.
  • Shoowin Inc.

The LGCC is scheduled to meet next on Dec. 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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