DENVER — Sports betting without sports, it's quite a predicament for gamblers. But, gamblers have the itch and sportsbooks are willing to do what they can to scratch.
"We’ve looked to try to find content that keeps people engaged. Gives them a reason to get away from the day today stuck in quarantine," said John Scheeran, director of risk and training for FanDuel.
Companies like FanDuel, Draft Kings and Circa Sports are seeing some less than conventional sports to bet on like table tennis, darts, and even Russian chess tournaments. All three companies tell Denver7 eNASCAR has been keeping things going for now. While the NFL Draft has been an afterthought for bettors in the past, this year is quite different.
"The NFL Draft has really been the light on top of the hill," said Mike Van Ermen, strategic sports book manager for Circa Sports.
Johnny Avello with Draft Kings said they’re going all in on the 2020 draft.
"What we wrote last year, we are two-and-a- half times passed that and by the time the draft goes off we will probably be three times," Avello said.
All that doesn’t mean too much to us here in Colorado until May 1 when sports betting becomes legal.
"We are probably not going to get the revenue that we thought we were going to get but I think it will build up," said Dan Hartman, director of Colorado’s Division of Gaming.
He knows the current situation is going to be a curveball when the books are set to open, but the state has taken note of the current landscape of betting and are prepared for what’s to come.
"We came up with a pretty expensive catalog of sports. We don’t have chess on it but we do have table tennis, we do have some of the other different sports leagues around the world," said Hartman.
FanDuel and Draft Kings say their apps will be ready come May 1. Circa Sports, partnering with Century Casinos in Colorado, plan on delaying their app launch until more sports are available.
"Once we get a little more clarity of when sports are going to come back, then we will come out like gang busters, then the citizens of Colorado will be pleasantly surprised with what we have to offer," said Van Ermen.
Hartman believes these more obscure sports and the bets that follow could be a good thing down the line.
"I tend to think that some of them, with the extended catalog, if the better comes in and he’s only playing the big four, then he may not be looking past what the other sports are and what other options are out there," said Hartman.
Hartman told Denver7 19 casinos have applied for in-person betting. So far, 11 have been accepted.