Over a year after legal sports betting arrived in Colorado, Barstool Sportsbook
is launching its mobile betting app today, August 9.
"The biggest differentiator from us and everybody else is from that Stoolie crowd," says Kevin Dawn, sportsbook manager at the Ameristar
in Black Hawk. "They’re going to have the opportunity to do some of those daily bets with some of those personalities, whether Dave or Big Cat. You’ll have that opportunity to go with or against them. The Ameristar has been owned by Penn National Gaming
since 2018; Penn also owns a stake in Barstool Sports
, the namesake for the Barstool Sportsbook.
While it carries significant brand recognition, the Barstool Sportsbook mobile app is entering a crowded field; there are now 24 licensed online sports-betting apps in the state.
Legal sports betting started in Colorado on May 1, 2020, and bettors in this state wagered over $2.3 billion on sports in the first year of legal gaming. While the vast majority of that money was wagered online, bettors wagered a small percentage at casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.
Founded by Massachusetts native Dave Portnoy in 2003, Barstool Sports tapped into a market of sports fans eager for the kind of sports-journalism content that sounded like a conversation they might have in a bar with a friend. In the years since, the company has ballooned in size, developing massive social media followings and some of the best podcast series in the sports world; it also attracted investors. Penn bought its stake in Barstool Sports in 2020.
The Barstool Sportsbook has already launched mobile apps in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. By the end of August, the lineup will include Colorado, New Jersey, Virginia, Tennessee and Arizona, according to Dawn.
Ameristar has had an in-person Barstool Sportsbook at the Ameristar since last November. The big moneymaker for sports-betting companies is mobile gaming, though, and Dawn points out that the launch of the Barstool Sportsbook mobile app in Colorado comes at a critical time — "before football season starts."
Can Barstool Sportsbook compete with the top dogs in the Colorado sports-betting world, like DraftKings and FanDuel? "You never get into a fight to lose," Dawn says, adding that the company can put up some great numbers because of the demographics of Barstool Sports, which is "pretty much your hardcore sports-betting crowd."
Bettors who sign up for the Barstool Sportsbook app will be able to score a few free bonuses to start.
Colorado voters approved Proposition DD in November 2019, opening the doors for legal sports-betting to begin six months later. Under the stipulations of Prop DD, a majority of the state tax revenue generated from sports betting goes to fund the Colorado Water Plan
, which is designed to ensure that Colorado has water for drinking, agriculture and recreation for decades to come. The state collected $6.6 million in taxes during the first year of legal gaming, but the Colorado Water Plan won't see any funding from money from sports betting until 2022.
"The funky thing here is this arrears model. The Department of Revenue waits for all the money to pile up, then they send it to agencies," says Brian Jackson, a key proponent of the sports-betting water funding model who works for the Environmental Defense Fund. "Once money starts flowing, it'll flow every year. It's just this weird process to get things started."