A Colorado tribe has gone into the record books as the first tribal gaming operator to launch a statewide mobile sports betting product.
This week, the Sky Ute Casino Resort, a venue in Ignacio, Colorado operated by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, launched Sky Ute Sportsbook, a mobile betting product available on both Android and iOS for use by individuals aged 21 years or over, regardless of where they reside in the state.
The Sky Ute tribe has teamed with Nevada-based betting and odds management group USBookmaking, which is headed up by American Gaming Association Hall of Famer Vic Salerno. USBookmaking prides itself on being the “only Native American-owned sportsbook” in the US and has already booked several betting partnerships with other tribal gaming operators.
Colorado’s legal betting market went live on May 1 but only four other betting licensees have so far launched their online offerings, in part due to the COVID-19 suspension of major sports events. The Colorado Gaming Commission won’t release official figures for the state’s first month of legal betting until next week but unaudited stats have the state’s sportsbooks generating handle of $25.5m in May.
Colorado’s casinos have been closed for nearly three months due to COVID-19 but, like the rest of the country, local operators are furiously prepping their venues for reopening. The venues are opening on a staggered basis, with some venues throwing open their doors on Monday (15), while others are being held back due to higher than average COVID-19 infection rates in their regions.
The closure of Colorado’s 33 casinos has deprived the state of badly needed tax revenue, while the impact on the state’s tribal gaming operators has been even more severe, given the economic reliance many native communities place on their casino operations.