Sportsbook William Hill enters Colorado’s gambling market

As the Denver Nuggets battle in the second round of the playoffs and with the Broncos set to kick off their season Monday night, Colorado gamblers will now have America’s largest sports betting app at their fingertips to lay down cash on their favorite teams.

The William Hill sportsbook on Tuesday launched its mobile app in the Centennial State, the latest major player in the gambling arena to put its footprint down in Colorado since legalized sports betting went live May 1.

The sports betting giant, which handles one in four sports bets placed in the United States, launched in-person kiosks in July at two Black Hawk casinos. But the app opens up wagering to anyone in Colorado with a smart phone. The announcement comes as sports betting hit record-highs in August, and when football kicks off Thursday, it will mark the rare “sports equinox” with all four major professional sports going on at the same time.

The coronavirus pandemic has left sports fans stir-crazy and itching to gamble, Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill U.S., told The Denver Post.

In Nevada last month, William Hill’s mobile traffic was up over 130%, and in-person wagering up 50% from last year — despite the fact that the state’s tourism-dependent economy was battered by COVID-19, Asher said.

“There’s less to do right now, and one thing people are doing is watching sports on TV and betting on it,” he said.

And with the NFL’s return, Hill said, “this month is gonna just blow away any prior records.”

Colorado’s foray into legalized sports betting coincided with sports shutting down in March, but that didn’t stop people from getting action on all sorts of bizarre events.

During the first month of legalized betting, Coloradans wagered more than $25.6 million on everything from ping pong to MMA fights. And in June that number jumped to $38.1 million — before the MLB, NHL and NBA had even returned.

Colorado’s college and pro teams, meanwhile, are embracing the new law.

The Broncos this week inked partnership deals with three sports books, including the NFL’s first in-stadium betting lounge. And the University of Colorado Boulder on Tuesday announced a five-year partnership with an online sportsbook, believed to be the first of its kind for a major Division I athletics program.

Sports betting is now legal in 18 states, following a landmark 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a nationwide ban as unconstitutional.

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