Colorado gaming regulators had no trouble approving sports gambling master license applications submitted by seven casinos. The state is determined to reap the benefits of legalized wagers and, according to local media outlet The Gazette, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) met yesterday to make a decision on the requests. These first approvals will pave the way for sportsbooks to be launched at the casinos by May 1.
The seven venues are located in just three parts of the state – Cripple Creek’s Brass Ass, Double Eagle, McGills and Midnight Rose casinos, Black Hawk’s Monarch and Saratoga and Central City’s Dostal Alley are now digging in to ensure that they’re ready to roll as soon as the final green light is given. That will come as soon as the casinos’ sportsbook partners, which have yet to be named, receive their licenses from regulators. Once that happens, they will be able to operate a retail sportsbook at the casino, as well as up to three virtual sportsbooks online. Those online operations will need to employ geofencing to ensure anyone outside the state can’t tap in.
As soon as the doors open for sports gambling, Colorado residents will be able to place wagers on many sports activities, with a few exceptions. Professional and college sports, Olympic activities, motor and electronic sports are fair game, but high school and club-level action is forbidden. It’s also against the rules to see lines put up, and wagers placed, on individual college player performances, and those tied to sports competitions – coaches, players, refs, etc. – need to make sure they don’t gamble on any event of which they are a part.
Anti-gambling pundits across the country are undoubtedly cringing as Colorado prepares to become one of 20 states – in addition to Washington, DC – to offer legalized sports gambling. The momentum to turn the tide on how gambling is suppressed in the U.S. is turning, and it’s time to either sink or swim.
With gambling being a hot topic in Colorado right now, certain lawmakers are taking advantage of the heightened awareness to push for other changes. State casinos cannot, per regulations, take a single bet of more than $100. However, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown and Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman have submitted a proposal, dubbed Initiative 257, that would remove that cap by amending the Colorado Constitution. The change, if approved, would be made available to casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.
Says Brown of the endeavor, “These towns have built much of their local economies around hotels, restaurants, tourism, and travelers who visit because of gaming. Voters in these communities should be allowed to decide what is best for them and their economy, including whether they want to change betting limits and add new games.”
It seems to be a logical progression. Colorado started with a $5 cap three decades ago before pushing it up to $100 in 2008. It would also give local businesses, and the state, a boost, since casinos pay as much as 20% in tax if they hit a gross gaming revenue of $13 million or more – only 0.25% when it hovers around $2 million.
Adds Cadman, “If the three Colorado casino towns choose to extend their limits and game options, the modest boost to revenue would be a win-win-win for all the businesses and employees in these small towns, the players who are asking for more gaming options, and the community colleges that receive the taxes.”
A campaign is currently underway to garner the 125,000 signatures needed to see Initiative 257 added to the ballot this November. The lawmakers have to reach that goal by August, and, to become law, at least 55% of the voters would have to sign off on the amendment when they take to the polls.