Colorado regulators cleared another hurdle Thursday in the effort to launch legal sportsbooks in Colorado in time for the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Commission approved nine rules for permanent adoption at a public session Thursday, as regulators remained on target to reach the state’s projected May 1 rollout. Last month, the Commission voted unanimously to approve a rule that enabled the state to accelerate the process of licensing sportsbook operators.
At Thursday’s meeting, the Commission also issued “master licenses” to seven casinos that will permit the facilities to offer sports wagers inside their venues. The licenses also enable casinos to contract with other companies to operate mobile and online platforms. Voters in Colorado approved a measure to legalize sporting wagers on Election Day in Nov. 2019, when Proposition DD passed by a narrow margin.
The proposed rules are set to go into effect at some point in April, a Colorado Department of Revenue spokesperson told Sports Handle. The rules will go to the Colorado Attorney General for review, then will be sent to the Secretary of State’s office for filing. Once the rules are finalized, Colorado will be ready to go live by the May target.
The nine rules were approved unanimously on Thursday by the Commission. The five-member regulatory body approved amendments to three rules, including Rule 8, which specified requirements for sports gaming integrity.
Before Thursday’s approval, the Commission reviewed a 44-page set of regulations, including a controversial provision on integrity monitoring. The designation of an “independent” integrity monitor by the Division to examine cases of suspicious wagering activity generated a heated debate at last month’s working group session in Golden.
A provision in the permanent rules requires sportsbooks to report cases of unusual activity to the Division, as well as an independent monitor. If the cases of unusual betting patterns rise to suspicious wagering, sportsbooks are required to report the events as expeditiously as possible.
Filed late Friday, ICYMI:
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) February 4, 2020
During the session convened by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming, a group of sportsbook executives expressed concern that the data it shares with the independent integrity monitor could be monetized for commercial purposes. Ahead of the hearing, the Division modified language in the provision to address such concerns. Dan Hartman, director of the department’s Gaming Enforcement Division, has taken steps to ensure that the rules help protect the integrity of sports events in Colorado while understanding the concerns of sportsbook operators.
No information disclosed between operators and member clubs, sports governing bodies or independent integrity providers shall be used by any party for marketing, advertising, or other commercial purposes. — Section 8.2 Confidential Information, Colorado Regulations.
Under the amendment for Rule 8, the Commission removed section 8.4 which gave the Director the right to disapprove the source of data used by an operator. The proposed rule would have given the Director the option to disallow a data source for any reason, including, but not limited to unlicensed data providers and the method of data collections.
The provision will be reviewed by the Commission, with the possibility that it could be reinserted into the permanent rules, the spokesperson added.
The Commission also approved regulations on taxes and fees, duties of licensees and responsible gaming guidelines at the hearing.
While the Department received 33 master license applications as of Jan. 31, the Commission considered licensing actions of seven casinos at the hearing. The Commission issued master licenses for:
- Monarch Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk
- Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk
- Dostal Alley in Central City
- Double Eagle Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek
- Brass Ass Casino in Cripple Creek
- J.P. McGill’s Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek
- Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek
Last July, PointsBet USA Sportsbook entered into a multi-year partnership with Double Eagle that will include the launch of retail and mobile sportsbook operations. Saratoga Casino announced a partnership with Betfred USA Sports last month, under which Betfred will provide retail and mobile operations.
PointsBet, an Australian bookmaker, recently launched its second U.S. based headquarters with the opening of an office in downtown Denver. The Denver hub serves as the company’s western base of operations.
A Denver professional sports team last won a title in 2016 when the Broncos defeated the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Avalanche have not returned to the Stanley Cup Finals since the franchise won its second cup in 2001.
At PointsBet, the Avalanche currently have +850 odds to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, the third choice behind the Lightning and Bruins.
The Nuggets, meanwhile, are in second place in the NBA’s Western Conference, four games behind the Lakers. Denver currently has 22/1 odds at PointsBet to win the NBA Finals. While the Nuggets reached the Western Conference Finals in 2009, the franchise has never won an NBA title.