While Major League Baseball explores the possibility of having all 30 teams play only in Phoenix with no fans and the NBA considers how to finish its season in a bubble, it’s pretty clear that there will be no live professional sports happening in the United States by May 1. COVID-19 shut down all major professional American sports on March 12.
“As of now we are on track and look forward to providing Coloradans with our mobile and online Sportsbook on May 1,” a DraftKings spokesman told Sports Handle via e-mail this week.
A FanDuel spokesman confirmed it is also aiming to go live with its Colorado mobile platform on May 1.
State will be set for operators to launch
According to the new Colorado law, the state — in the form of the Limited Gaming Control Commission — must have rules and regulations ready for operators to go live with sports wagering on May 1. The LGCC has every intention of being ready. It has held special meetings to approve licenses and was among the first state government agencies to begin meeting via video link when the coronavirus crisis shut down the U.S. economy in March.
“From an administrative standpoint, that the May 1 date to allow legalized sports betting to take place in Colorado will be met given the current status and progress of adopting rules, approving licenses, and implementing procedures for sports betting in Colorado,” the LGCC told Sports Handle last week.
DraftKings partnered with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, it announced in January, and the partnership gives DraftKings market access for mobile sports betting in Colorado. DraftKings will also operate the retail sportsbook at the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk as part of the agreement. DraftKings got approval for Temporary Sports Betting Operator and Temporary Internet Sports Betting Operator licenses at the LGCC’s March 5 meeting.
DraftKings operates mobile sportsbooks in Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It also has retail locations in Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York. Coloradans can already experience DraftKings through its free-to-play pools, which are available ahead of legal sports betting.
23 licenses have already been awarded
Competitor FanDuel partnered with Twin River Worldwide Holdings for mobile access into Colorado, but does not currently have a retail partnership. FanDuel was approved for a Temporary Internet Sports Betting license at the March 19 LGCC meeting.
FanDuel has live mobile platforms in Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It has retail locations in all of those states as well as in Iowa and New York. FanDuel is currently also offering free-to-play events in addition to a risk-free bet up to $500 to new customers or other sportsbook bonuses.
The LGCC has already awarded 23 sports betting licenses and could award up to 33.
Colorado voters legalized sports betting in November via referendum, but the state’s retail casinos are currently shut down through at least April 30.