The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission on Thursday approved a temporary operating license for Underdog Sports, clearing the way for the company to launch sports betting operations in its first two states next year.
Underdog disclosed a $35 million Series B funding round in July and now is poised to launch mobile sports betting in 2023 in both Colorado and Ohio, while also planning to apply for a license in Massachusetts. The company’s focus had been on fantasy sports until this latest push into sports betting.
The company’s temporary license in Colorado will expire in two years.
“Receiving our first temporary license for sports betting in Colorado is a significant milestone for the Underdog Fantasy family,” Jeremy Levine, founder of the company, told Sports Handle via email. “Our goal has always been to become an industry leader in the fantasy sports and sports betting spaces, and this important step brings us closer to fulfilling that goal.”
Company moving forward in Ohio as well
Underdog filed its sports wagering application in time for Ohio’s July 15 deadline and has partnered with the Cincinnati Reds on a digital platform in that state. Ohio is scheduled for a universal sports betting launch on Jan. 1.
The New York-based company was among 23 mobile sports betting operators to make an Oct. 17 deadline to submit required company information to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as part of the agency’s sports betting licensing process. Massachusetts is preparing to launch legal sports betting in early 2023.
Last month, Underdog announced it had retained national consultant Brianne Doura-Schawohl to create internal policies and develop strategic plans for the company to manage problem gambling. It also announced it had partnered with BetBlocker, which offers free website-blocking services.
Colorado has other licensees, more revenue
The Colorado LGCC also approved temporary vendor licenses for BetMakers and PT Services. BetMakers is an Australian-based company that is the exclusive provider of fixed-odds horse racing for Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
With a relatively low tax rate on gross gaming revenue of 10%, Colorado has been a popular place for smaller sportsbook operators to launch. The state currently has 26 licensed mobile sportsbook operators, including industry giants FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM. There also are more than a dozen retail sportsbook operators in Colorado.
The Colorado LGCC also announced Thursday that gaming tax revenues increased $2.9 million (or 18%) in the first two months of the fiscal year compared to the previous year. Total revenues for the limited gaming fund as of Aug. 31 were $19.8 million, a 19% increase compared to August of 2021.
In May, Colorado passed Amendment 77, which removed betting limits and allowed an expansion of the gambling menu. In August, Colorado became the seventh state since the end of PASPA to surpass $8 billion sports wagering handle.
The Colorado LGCC tabled discussion of some proposed rule changes until some grammatical changes could be made in them. Among those was a rule that would create a statewide database of players who self-exclude themselves from being able to place sports bets.