One of the world’s largest online sportsbooks has announced plans to further its US reach with a move into Colorado, a state that is expected to become a major factor in the US legal sports betting industry once the wagering world returns to normal. British bookmaker Bet365 signed a licensing and revenue share deal with Century Casinos to bring internet and mobile sports betting to Centennial State. The deal will last for 10 years and hopefully boost the tepid numbers Bet365 has had so far in the US market.
Bet365 brings an incredible global reach to Colorado. It is licensed and regulated around the world and brings in around $4 billion annually. The Colorado location joins New Jersey's Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City and New York's Resorts World Catskills as Bet365’s only North American locations, assuming it secures all regulatory approval.
Although New Jersey is considered one of the top two bet-friendly states in the US, Bet365 hasn't quite caught fire there just yet and the company has yet to go live in New York. Hopes are Colorado can provide that spark for one of the most recognizable brands on the planet.
While Century Casinos looks like the big winner in their new partnership, it may just be Bet365 that aligned itself with the more influential player in the Colorado market. Century Casinos with their new deal is officially dominating in Colorado and Bet 365 was able to hitch their wagons to them.
Century Casinos now has a 10-year deal with Bet365, a 15-year deal with Circa Sports and three sports betting Master Licenses from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission, one of which has yet to be filled. That Master License is being pedaled to other major names in the legal sports betting space and could give Century a stranglehold on the Colorado scene.
Colorado officially went live with their legal betting platform May 1, becoming the 19th state to do so and they did it smack-dab in the middle of the coronavirus shutdown. Obviously, there is nowhere to go but up for a state platform that is projected to bring in $6 billion annually in bets and generate $400 million in gross operator revenue. Colorado now has 17 land-based casinos with of six online sports wagering services including names like MGM Resorts International and Rush Street Interactive.
Colorado is a sporting hotbed with representatives in all of North America's major sports. The Denver Broncos of the NFL, the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Rockies of MLB and the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL all call the state home and will drive the sports betting market there.
According to a press release surrounding the partnership, "The online sportsbook operations agreement with bet365 is a 10-year agreement that includes a minimum annual revenue guarantee and a percentage share of net gaming revenue payable to the Company each year, with an advance fee being paid on contract signing”.
Bet365 will provide its digital sports betting services to the Colorado property but it will come at a cost. The minimum annual revenue guarantee that the service provider has agreed to pay makes this a no-brainer for Century Casinos. The company will also get paid their up-front fee no matter the situation in Colorado for Bet365.
The world of sports is only now starting to awaken, making the timing of the Bet365/Century Casinos deal perfect from a timing perspective. The two still have time to ramp up their operation, figure out the nuances and be ready for the onslaught of sporting action that seems closer every day.
Early optimism for sports betting in Colorado has turned a little however because of the coronavirus shutdown of casinos and sporting leagues around the world. Experts are now warning that the state could actually turn a small loss this year on sports betting, unless the biggest betting sport of all, the NFL is able to proceed without any interruption.
Bet365 has yet to get licensing and regulatory approval in Colorado but that seems like just a formality before managing an internet and mobile betting app under its brand in the state. As for an opening date, that has yet to be determined.
We always knew that Colorado was going to provide an exciting new legal sports betting market but it was difficult to predict just how the platform would come together, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Six operators have now been confirmed with the Bet365 announcement meaning that Colorado is well on its way to being the big player most expected.