Colorado’s Two Tribes Want A Piece Of The Online Sports Betting

The chairmen of both the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute tribes in Colorado are attempting to increase tribal economic development by pushing for their inclusion in online sports betting. Colorado’s online sports betting business cannot benefit from the Native American tribes.

The chairmen took the issue to Denver and addressed it with members of the state legislature last week. Specifically, the two tribes have requested that steps be taken to include them in online sports betting. Regardless of whether or not their request is granted, this serves as an interesting case study for tribes and states throughout the United States as they continue to seek ways to create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Ute Tribe Excluded From Sports Betting

Colorado’s Proposition DD made waves when it was passed in 2019, legalizing online sports betting and giving Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek residents the right to vote for in-person sports betting at their polls. The proposition left out any mention of the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute tribes.

This is not a surprise because tribes are sovereign entities with their jurisdictions and laws. In some cases, where a state doesn’t permit commercial casino gaming, like Florida, chosen tribes can operate full-fledged casinos. Even though this act didn’t give them the same rights as others in Colorado, it doesn’t mean that these tribes shouldn’t expect to gain certain rights from future propositions or federal acts of legislation down the line.

Effect Of Integration Of Tribes Into Online Sports Betting On The Utes

The Southern Ute Chairman Melvin Baker’s point that the Colorado tribes should be included in online sports betting to provide a new revenue source can only benefit them and their members. Not only could this fund public services that are currently lacking, such as water systems, but it could also improve the many existing services they offer.

These include human, health, community, and financial assistance programs and other events that bring to life the culture of the tribe. Revenue obtained through online sports betting would allow even more robust programming for their members and the general public alike. For instance, the Ute Mountain Ute tribe provides its members with comprehensive health services, such as Community health programs, Substance abuse programs, WIC, Diabetes programs, and Public Safety.

Could The Ute Tribes Provide Online Sports Betting Opportunities?

In conclusion, tribal leaders must speak to state legislators to form a new agreement that includes online sports betting. If the tribes and the state can reach an agreement on online sports betting, it will be an uphill battle for the tribe. The state of Colorado already has 26 legal sports betting apps, making it a crowded marketplace.

To make matters more challenging, big names like DraftKings Colorado and FanDuel Colorado are some of the competitors they must carve out their place among. However, there is a generous payoff should they succeed. In November 2020 alone, $540 million in the handle and $35 million in pre-tax revenue was generated from mobile sports betting apps – these figures are only expected to increase over time. To join in on the growing profits, the tribe will need to find ways to stand out among its competitors in this exciting industry.