PlayUSA Rewind: CO Sports Betting’s May Revenue Reflects Impressive First Month

Written By Grant Lucas on June 10, 2020Last Updated on March 9, 2021

As summer draws nearer, major sports are putting into place plans to return to action.

The NBA is ready to resume play July 31 in OrlandoFlorida. While still needing final approval for it, the NHL appears to have the intention to get players back on the ice around the same time.

Golf is back, while NASCAR and UFC are well underway.

In what would normally be a down time of the calendar year, summer 2020 holds the potential to be significant for legalized sports betting.

On to the Rewind:

Colorado sports betting starts hot in first month

When Colorado sports betting went live May 1, many expected a slow start. After all, the world was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, sidelining most sports and closing casinos and retail sportsbooks.

Regardless, online books launched in the Centennial State. And the result is an opening month that is nothing to scoff at.

With six operators live in May, legal wagering in Colorado totaled $25.5 million in handle with an official release from regulators expected June 15.

Several major players helped kick off the state’s regulated industry:

  • BetMGM
  • BetMonarch
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Fox Bet

While paling in comparison with the likes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Colorado’s first month is not at all terrible. As Legal Sports Report notedOregon reported $7.3 million in handle during May, though it only features one online operator.

Still, Colorado enjoyed a solid first step, as semi-major events such as The Match 2, UFC, NASCAR, Bundesliga and Korean baseball carried the load.

Certainly, Colorado, as well as other states with legal sports betting, will benefit from the return of major sports. The NBA plans on returning July 31, and the NHL is closing in on a resuming play around the same time.

Is online sports betting on the way in Illinois?

Like many states without legal online gambling offerings, the gaming industry in Illinois has suffered amid the pandemic.

The Land of Lincoln already had plans to integrate IL online betting, which we expected by 2021. However, Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently issued an executive order that struck down the state’s requirement for in-person registration for mobile wagering.

This means that once operators are approved to operate online, those interested in betting via a mobile device can sign up from the comfort of their own homes.

The state requires in-person registration until the Illinois Gaming Board issues the first of three standalone online-only licenses, which, according to law, cannot be issued until 540 days after brick-and-mortar sportsbooks opened April 9. Pritzker’s latest order does not void the in-person requirement but rather suspends its enforcement.

That said, Illinois does not feature any operators licensed to operate online. Naturally, then, many wonder if Pritzker’s order will expire before the first mobile products go live. In this case, in-person registration returns as a requirement.

Regardless, the governor’s latest move could entice stakeholders to accelerate their negotiations to enter the Illinois online market, thus creating a more aggressive timeline for launching online products.

Potentially, if all things go right, Illinois could begin recouping lost revenue by launching the first legal online sportsbooks.

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Welcome back, Las Vegas casinos

At long last, following weeks of closure, casinos in Nevada began reopening on June 4. By sunrise, the Vegas Strip was back open for business.

As a result, the first casinos in the mecca of American gambling made their reintroduction.

The likes of Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, the Cosmopolitan, BellagioMGM Grand and New York-New York, among others, welcomed enthusiastic guests.

The state requires all casino employees to wear protective masks while only recommending the attire for patrons. Many properties conducted temperature checks before admitting guests while also supplying touch-free sanitizing stations and even providing single-use masks.

Even with socially distant slots and limited seating at table games, Vegas made its return and seemingly started its way back to normalcy.

What matters is this becomes another sign that we are closer to reaching the end of the tunnel.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

View all posts by Grant Lucas