If all goes as planned, Colorado sports bettors will have a new digital sports betting choice by mid-September through the Mountain Ute tribe’s plans to launch UteBet, which will be the second tribal digital platform in the state. Colorado already has 25 live digital sports betting platforms.
The platform will be the sixth to go live in Colorado this year behind PlayUp, PlayMaverick, Betway, Bally Bet, and Tipico, which went live Aug. 18. The Colorado Division of Gaming launched four operators — BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel — when no American professional sports leagues were playing on May 1, 2020. Since then, one or more new platforms have launched nearly every month.
Colorado is one of six states with live, legal sports betting to clear $2.5 billion in handle since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018.
Mountain Ute opened retail book Tuesday
The Mountain Ute tribe opened the state’s second retail tribal sportsbook Tuesday at its casino in the state’s southwestern corner, according to The Journal. The new brick-and-mortar location has four kiosks, three betting stations, a cage to handle big-money wagers, 16 55-inch LED screens, and a 98-inch LED screen displaying events and odds. Casino General Manager Rick Scheer said a newly renovated sports bar, which will be open around the clock, is under construction.
Sportsbetting continues to grow in Colorado. Today, the @UteMtnCasino opened what they're calling the 1st sports betting facility in the Four Corners region: https://t.co/O0SIN9meV3
— Deb Stanley (@7NEWSDeb) August 25, 2021
Scheer also told The Journal he expects the new digital platform to be live by the second week of the NFL season, though it’s possible the platform could only be available on-site as the tribe negotiates with the state over paying taxes. When voters legalized sports betting in November 2019, the referendum called for sending revenue to the state’s water projects. Sportsbooks are taxed at 10%, but the Mountain Ute, who say they produce their own water, are seeking an exemption from paying taxes.
“The way we see it, the computer that runs everything for us is on the reservation, and that’s where the bet is made,” Scheer said
International Gaming Technology, using its PlaySports platform, is running the Mountain Ute’s sportsbook operations. IGT provides the technology for more than 40 sportsbooks in 16 states via its PlaySports technology. The partnership with IGT will allow the Mountain Ute to offer “personalized betting offers,” Scheer said when the tribe announced the partnership in July.
The Mountain Ute Casino is near the “Four Corners” where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. Of the four states, Colorado is currently the only one that offers live legal retail and statewide mobile sports betting. Arizona should be online for both in early September, and a handful of tribal casinos in New Mexico are open for in-person wagering.
Colorado has one other tribal sportsbook — the Sky Ute Sportsbook, powered by USBookmaking — which went live in June 2020.
LGCC sees bump in gaming tax revenue
The Limited Gaming Control Commission announced at its meeting Wednesday that it will be sending $107,027,146 in Fiscal Year 2020-21 tax revenue from limited and extended gaming to state entities, including the Colorado Historical Society and gaming towns and counties. The distribution is a 62% increase over FY 2019-20.
Tax revenue from sports betting is earmarked for Colorado water projects, and the LGCC will announce and distribute those funds at the Sept. 23 meeting.
"The biggest incentive package was approved for a European sports betting company that’s looking to create a U.S. based technology hub in Denver staffed by 441 new workers."
Colorado approves $13 million to entice firms https://t.co/OGMHsK44qN
— Alfonso Straffon 🇨🇷🇺🇸🇲🇽 (@astraffon) August 20, 2021
The LGCC also approved multiple sports betting licenses, including a temporary internet sports betting license for Bally Bet, which launched its digital platform in May. Bally’s has market access through a trio of casinos it owns and operates in Colorado.
Representatives from the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission sat in on Wednesday’s meeting as part of an exploratory/educational trip to Colorado to learn about how the state runs live sports betting. Nebraska voters in November 2020 approved “games of chance,” which lawmakers later determined included sports betting.