Entertainment

Sports betting arrives at Ute Mountain Casino

A new sportsbook betting venue is launching Tuesday at the Ute Mountain Ute Casino.

The opening ceremony will begin with a blessing from a tribal member at 11:30 a.m., and a ribbon-cutting will follow at noon. A member of the tribal community will place the first bet, said Jack Breslin, marketing director for the casino.The casino is able to embark on this venture after Proposition DD was passed in November 2019, enabling sports betting in Colorado.

The casino is pairing with International Game Technology to make it happen. The company’s Playsports platform is backing the sportsbook initiative.

“It was an exhausting, long process,” said Rick Scheer, casino general manager. “We’re just so pleased we’ve gotten to the finish line.”

While the casino will house three betting stations and four self-service kiosks, as well as a betting cage reserved for larger wagers, it’s also looking forward to rolling out a mobile sportsbook application: UteBet.

It should be available a week or two after the NFL season kicks off, Scheer said.

Whether the app will cater to statewide betting is another story.

The casino is currently working with the state to be able to offer statewide betting on its app without paying certain taxes, Scheer said.

If approved, it would allow users to bet anywhere within the state lines of Colorado — not just within the realm of the casino, as is currently only approved.

Proposition DD’s approval authorized a state tax on net sports betting proceeds, which would largely be used for the regulation of the betting.

Under the motion, however, remaining tax and fee revenue would be dedicated to the Colorado Water Plan and other water projects.

Because Ute Mountain has its own waters and is thus challenging those terms, Scheer said.

“The way we see it, the computer that runs everything for us is on the reservation, and that’s where the bet is made,” he said

The Ute Mountain Sportsbook will feature sixteen 55-inch LED screens and a 98-inch LED screen displaying events and odds, according to a news release.

The casino also is in the process of building a newly remodeled 24/7 sports bar, which likely would be constructed within 60 days, Scheer said.

“I think it’s the best place in the area to watch a game,” he said.

Ute Mountain follows in Sky Ute Casino Resort’s footsteps.

“Really there’s no other place other than Ignacio,” said casino representative Everisto Lehi. “We get a lot of people here.”

The venue has been in the works for a little over a year, and has been a topic of discussion for about two years, Lehi said.

“We had something going last year, and COVID came and pushed us back,” he said.

Bringing the concept to fruition was a long process, and saw the casino navigate state, tribal and Gaming Commission restrictions, he said.

“This passion project has been our best kept secret over the past year, as we’ve persevered through the global pandemic and brought together all the moving parts in order to make this happen,” General Manager Rick Scheer said in the press release. “On August 24, we will make history as we open the doors to our first-ever sportsbook.”

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