Colorado LGCC Approves Series Of License Renewals As One-Year Anniversary Of Live, Legal Sports Wagering Nears

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As the Colorado Avalanche and the Denver Nuggets prepare for the postseason in the coming weeks, the Colorado sports betting market is approaching a historic anniversary.

On May 1, Colorado will celebrate the one-year anniversary of the debut of legal sports betting in the Centennial State, a date when four mobile sportsbook operators — DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and BetRivers  — went live. Since then, Colorado has emerged as one of the top states for legal sports betting nationwide, after joining a select group of jurisdictions to post a handle in excess of $1 billion for the 2020 calendar year. And Colorado did that in only six months.

On Thursday, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved a series of Master Sports Betting License renewals for a host of commercial casinos. The LGCC approved the renewals for the following casinos for a two-year period:

  • Century Casino Cripple Creek
  • The Wild Card Saloon in Black Hawk
  • Sasquatch Casino in Black Hawk
  • The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk
  • The Gilpin Hotel Casino in Black Hawk

At Thursday’s monthly meeting, the LGCC also approved the First Sports Betting Operator License and the First Internet Sports Betting Operator License renewals of SuperBook Sports.

Emergency rulemaking

The LGCC devoted a considerable amount of time at Thursday’s hearing to an emergency rule related to the licensed-premise locations where limited gaming activities can take place inside a casino environment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

On each floor of the building in which limited gaming will take place, the licensed premises may consist of more than two non-contiguous areas as approved by the Director. Nothing in this section, however, shall be construed to permit violation of any fire safety, health, or building codes by any licensee. The licensed premises must be clearly marked as such so that the patrons of each retail gaming establishment can readily discern the licensed premises. The total square footage comprising the licensed premises shall not exceed 35 percent of the total square footage of the building and shall not exceed 50 percent of the square footage of any one floor

–Regulation 30-313.5

The commission previously approved the measure on two occasions over the past year due to COVID-19. The only twist to the emergency rule proposed on Thursday is that the regulation will last for a period of 120 days, through mid-August. The measure passed unanimously.

In addition, the LGCC passed a series of rule changes for a bevy of new table games that are set for launch on May 1. Last November, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 77, a measure that triggered a constitutional change that allows casinos in the state’s historic mining towns to offer the new casino games. The rule changes approved Thursday cover the following rules:

  • Rule 8 Rules for Blackjack
  • Rule 10 Rules for Poker
  • Rule 12 Gaming Devices and Equipment
  • Rule 16 Accounting Regulations
  • Rule 25 Rules for Keno
  • Rule 26 Rules for Pai Gow Tiles
  • Rule 28 Rules for Baccarat

A detailed review of the rule changes can be seen here in the LGCC’s monthly agenda.

Other actions

Ahead of its hearing in May, the LGCC approved a preliminary series of budget requests that will be conducted before the state holds tax-setting hearings later this spring for the upcoming fiscal year. As it relates to sports betting, the LGCC approved a budget request of $3.13 million for Fiscal Year 2021-22, an increase of about $134,500 from the previous year. The motion passed  unanimously.

The LGCC also approved a budget request of $1.2 million from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) for the upcoming fiscal year. With the addition of legalized sports betting, the environment for gaming investigations has changed over the last year, said John Camper, who serves as a division director for the CBI. As a result, the Colorado Division of Gaming and the CBI made a vow at Thursday’s meeting to continue collaborative efforts to curb illicit activities associated with sports betting. The motion also passed unanimously.

Discussion on Colorado Limited Gaming Rule 14 on state gaming tax rates was tabled until May. The LGCC’s next meeting is scheduled for May 20.

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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