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Reverend Al Sharpton Urges Colorado to Halt Licensing

The state of Colorado has plans to launch its now legalized sports betting industry in May, and the state has started the process of issuing licenses to sports betting companies. The process has appeared to go smoothly over the last few weeks, but now they are receiving some major backlash from a very well-known individual.

Reverend Al Sharpton is urging Colorado lawmakers to suspend the licensing process to review the potential impact on casino workers.

Sharpton is mainly concerned that out of state companies with hedge funds will be able to make money off of job loss from casino workers. The coronavirus pandemic has caused closures of casinos and sports betting companies throughout the country, and Sharpton is worried about the potential impact that this could have in Colorado.

Sharpton recognizes that most casino workers are either of color or that they come from low-income situations. Both of those groups of people are the most vulnerable to lose their jobs if another pandemic like this occurs after Colorado launches sports betting.

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Sharpton has made it clear that he has no issues with the legislation itself, but wants the state to reconsider issuing licenses to out of state companies.

Even though Sharpton’s letter to the governor of Colorado addresses concern over all out of state sports betting companies, he specifically points out Twin River, a Rhode Island-based company.

Twin River has partnered with both FanDuel and DraftKings to provide sports betting in the three casinos that it just recently acquired in Black Hawk Colorado. Those three locations are the Golden Gulch, Mardi Gras, and the Golden Gates.

Black Hawk Colorado is viewed to be the center of the new sports betting industry in the state.

Biggest Concern

Twin River’s biggest shareholder is a man by the name of Soohyung Kim, who owns 32 percent of Twin River. Kim was recently appointed chairman of the company, and his investment comes from hedge fund Standard General.

Kim’s hedge fund has seen massive firings at other companies throughout the country, and Sharpton is worried that the same thing will happen to the casinos in Colorado.

Sharpton is worried that people of color and low-income families are not safe in the hands of Twin River or, more specifically, Kim.

Governor Polis has not given an official response to the letter written by Al Sharpton, but the licensing process is expected to continue in the state even though the sports betting industry is at a standstill with the sports world being shut down.

Colorado is hoping to have everything in place to launch the industry when things get back up and running.

The sports betting debate was very intense in the state of Colorado, and it was narrowly approved by voters last November. The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) was put in charge of the new industry, and they were tasked with issuing licenses to prospective companies.

The first set of licenses were issued in mid-February, and at least seven out of state companies have already submitted an application in hopes of obtaining a new license.

The CLGCC has now approved close to 12 sports betting operator licenses, and almost all of them have been awarded to companies that are not based in the state. DraftKings was perhaps the biggest winner so far in the race to get control of the betting industry.

The CLGCC approved DraftKings to offer online and mobile betting in the state of Colorado as well as operate a retail sportsbook. Penn National Gaming was also awarded a license as they continue to grow throughout the country.

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