Smarkets, a newcomer to the U.S. sports betting market, launched its SBK app in Colorado on June 4. It was more of a soft launch with limited betting options and the operator’s first foray into the United States, but Colorado now has a seventh betting app live in just over a month of legalized sports betting.
Sports betting in Colorado launched on May 1 with BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Fox Bet and BetMonarch also began taking bets in the month of May. Across those six sports betting operators, Colorado Gaming officials announced that the state took in $25.5 million in gross, unaudited revenue during a month in which most sports were kiboshed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Only UFC, NASCAR, horse racing, a couple of charity golf matches, and European sports were available for bettors, but they still found things to bet on.
Smarkets will an interesting operator to follow in Colorado. The SBK app is a much different offering than what we’ve seen in the United Kingdom from Smarkets. In the UK, Smarkets operates as a betting exchange, in which a commission is taken from each winning bet and is more of a peer-to-peer betting system. Betting exchanges are not currently in the United States and would face a lot of logistical challenges because there would only be so many bettors within a state to make up the market and the Wire Act prevents gambling across state lines.
Perhaps with the U.S. in mind, Smarkets launched the SBK app in Europe prior to unveiling it across the pond. Smarkets has its license in Colorado through Bronco Billy’s Casino and Full House Resorts, which has also granted licenses to Wynn and BetAmerica.
SBK was released in the UK last September and branded as a much different, much more social gambling experience. Smarkets has been operating for more than a decade in the UK and one of the alluring things about the SBK App is that the betting odds from Smarkets are now incorporated into the U.S. market. Betting exchanges consist of one user betting one side and then offering a price to a user willing to take the other side.
Because the house gets its cut via a commission on a winning bet, lines are not shaded in order to balance the books. The market basically sets itself based on buyers and sellers that are willing to take positions. As a result, some of the betting lines available at SBK may not be available anywhere else in the market. A betting exchange eliminates some of the biases or traditional operators, so if SBK truly sticks to using those Smarkets odds, this could be a really beneficial app to sign up with for bettors in Colorado.
Smarkets also has plans to launch the SBK app in Indiana because of its existing partnership with Full House Resorts.
To this point, the Gaming Control Commission in Colorado has given out 35 licenses, so SBK will be involved in a crowded market as a name not known to most U.S. sports bettors. It will be a challenge for SBK to carve out a market share with national names like DraftKings and FanDuel, but word of mouth will create a buzz if the betting odds at SBK live up to the reputation and if the interface tailored around a more social form of betting takes hold.
In the Smarkets Press Release, CEO Jason Trost said “It is our mission to upend this old-fashioned industry so I’m excited for Americans to enjoy some of the best odds in the world, as well as the carefully crafted customer experience we provide compared to the big sportsbooks.”
Everything certainly sounds great about this app, but Colorado’s betting populace will ultimately decide in the Rocky Mountain State and Indiana’s will do the same in the Hoosier State once SBK goes live there.
More Colorado betting apps will be launching as we get closer to the return of the major pro leagues and the start of the football seasons in the United States. We’ll continue following it for you here at ATS.