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Colorado Sports Betting Off to Slow Start With Leagues Shuttered

June 8, 2020, 9:58 PM

Sports betting in Colorado got off to a slow start in May, in part because there are very few contests to wager on and because all the state’s casinos are closed.

That could change next week, when the gaming halls in at least two of Colorado’s legal gambling towns will open on a limited basis after several weeks of virus-induced shutdown.

The casinos in Black Hawk and Central City will open up to offer slots, and possibly sports betting, starting June 17, Ron Engels, Gilpin County commissioner, told Bloomberg Tax on Monday. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment granted Gilpin, the county where the casino cities are located, a variance to open under the state’s “Safer at Home” guidelines, Engels said.

  • High-touch table games like Blackjack, poker, craps, and roulette won’t be offered, but it’s possible sports betting will be allowed, Engels said.
  • Legal sports betting in Colorado launched May 1 and with it a 10% tax on casinos’ gaming proceeds. Gambling is allowed online and on-site in casino betting parlors. The state Department of Revenue won’t have tax figures to provide until the middle of June, but said that current operators reported the total amount wagered on sports by Colorado bettors was about $25.5 million.
  • That’s a far cry below predictions from the industry prior to the coronavirus pandemic, when gaming businesses forecast the state could see as much as $6 billion in wagers annually.
  • “Any projections or prior figures are null and void now with the coronavirus crisis and the shutdown of professional and college sporting events,” Meghan Tanis, spokeswoman for the department, said in an email.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tripp Baltz in Denver at abaltz@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; Yuri Nagano at ynagano@bloombergtax.com

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