They say timing is everything, but it turns out that isn’t always the case. Despite some absolutely terrible timing, Colorado online sports betting is thriving, and it looks set to get even bigger in the future.
Colorado legalized sports betting in November 2019 with an eye on opening in May 2020. But just as state regulators were finalizing the rules and gearing up to open, COVID-19 hit, and everything slowed to a crawl.
The retail casinos that hold the sports betting licenses had to close, and the committee that was hammering out the rules could no longer meet in person.
But where there is a will, there is a way. And in spite of a sudden and unexpected pandemic-sized hurdle thrown into their path, online sports wagering went live on May 1, 2020. As sports have returned to the betting calendar, even more sportsbooks in Colorado are coming to the market.
In the spring of 2019, lawmakers in Colorado began working on a bill that would legalize sports betting at retail casinos and online. But because the new bill included a tax - albeit a tax on the sportsbook operators themselves - it would need voter approval before it became law. That happened in November 2019, by a narrow margin of just 2% of the vote.
Colorado now offers three types of sports betting licenses. These are a master license, a sports betting operator license, and an internet sports betting operator license.
The more than 30 casinos operating in the state can apply for a master license. If that license is approved, they can partner with a sportsbook operator with a sports betting operator license (for retail sportsbooks) and an internet sports betting operator license (for online and mobile sportsbooks.)
So far, 28 casinos have applied for a master license, and the number of Colorado online sports betting operators continues to grow each month.
With only high school and college prop bets off-limits, Colorado sportsbooks have some of the largest menus of available sports betting anywhere in the country. These include all major American sports and events, and sports from across the globe. Be it soccer in Asia, basketball in Europe, or rugby in Australia, you can place a wager.
The types of available wagers that can be placed in Colorado is also comprehensive, and include the following:
Take the points, or give them away. If you have ever placed a bet on team sports, chances are it involved a point spread and uncontrolled screaming at the TV in the last two minutes of the game.
A win/loss bet that uses odds to determine the difference between the favorite and the underdog. With moneylines there are no spreads to worry about - just win, and you're in the money. How much profit you make is determined by the odds offered by the sportsbook.
Also known as an over/under bet, this bet is on the total combined points scored, and if the number will go over or under the posted line. This bet also comes with uncontrolled late-game shouting.
Small bets combined into one large bet, which, if it wins, pays off big. The big potential payoff is why players love them, but since it takes just one loss to sink the entire parlay, bookmakers love them too.
Pick some teams and bet them as parlays in every possible combination. Each winning combo is a win for the player. Unlike an actual parlay bet, not all bets must win. This is similar to boxing a trifecta at the horse track.
These are individual or team bets inside an event. Prop bets may include the first team to score, which starting running back finishes with the most yards, or how many strikeouts a pitcher records. In Colorado, these are only available for professional sports.
Bets placed on events and games already in progress are known as live bets or in-play bets. As the event progresses, the odds and point spread automatically change, giving players new bets to place every few minutes.
Even though the Colorado online sports betting market is one of the newest in the country, there are still plenty of sportsbooks to choose from.
All online sportsbooks in Colorado have paid a lot of money for the privilege of opening up shop in the state, and all of them are tightly regulated. That means that all of them are more than fit for purpose, but it is still possible to select a few that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Ranking sportsbook isn't an exact science. But there are several attributes that must be present for any to be considered extra special.
One of the original Colorado Four that opened on May 1, 2020, BetMGM brings with it loads of experience and is one of the most iconic brands in gaming. It also has partnerships with the NBA, NHL, and MLB, making it one of the more unique sportsbooks on the market.
Its tech partner is GVC, and its casino partner is the Midnight Rose Casino in Cripple Creek.
BetMGM offers great incentives for new players, good daily odds boosts, an easy-to-operate banking system, and an overall excellent sportsbook experience.
DraftKings has been active in Colorado for several years because of its daily fantasy sports offerings. And now that sports betting is legal, it's one of the biggest players in the Colorado online sports betting scene.
Partnered with tech giant Kambi and the Golden Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, DraftKings has one of the most responsive platforms anywhere in the business. They also offer considerable sums in risk-free bets and deposit match bonuses.
Tons of sports, user-friendly banking, and a seemingly endless parade of daily bonus offers and special contests make DraftKings one of the very best sportsbooks on the market.
Another daily fantasy sports operator that has successfully remade itself into a complete online sportsbook, FanDuel also went active in Colorado on the first day it was legal. On the master license of the Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, FanDuel has a technology partnership with IGT/GAN.
FanDuel has a great website and mobile app. When it comes to offered sports and wagers, there is almost nothing you can't play.
You'll like the bonuses on offer here, and you'll find a banking option that fits your needs. You will also enjoy the intuitive and smooth wagering experience.
Coming to the market three weeks after the other three that we've just mentioned, FOX Bet combines the Stars Group's technology and talents with the credibility and name recognition of FOX Sports. Their online sportsbook in Colorado is through the master license held by the Lady Luck Casino in Black Hawk.
FOX Bet offers a good range of bonuses from the outset, so be sure to make the most of them. When you're signed up, you'll find that the app is great and the betting options plentiful.
The timing of the legalization of sports betting in Colorado with the arrival of COVID-19 didn't ultimately stop the implementation of online sportsbooks. There are many, and they are thriving.
However, when it comes to retail sportsbooks, it did have an effect. The casinos where those sportsbooks were due to open were told to close their doors, and customers were forced to stay away.
But those casinos are back, as are the plans to open more retail sportsbooks in the coming months.
With a partnership at Golden Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, work has already begun on building the retail sportsbook there. This is likely to be the very first retail sportsbook to open in Colorado.
Also in Black Hawk, Monarch has already announced its intentions of opening a retail sportsbook before the end of 2020.
Many other casinos have been given licenses and are also likely to enter the retail sportsbook market in the near future. They are:
A part of the Rush Street Interactive family, Bet Rivers is already online and partnered with J.P. McGills Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek.
Operating online with Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino, which is the location of any future BetMGM retail sportsbook.
Working with Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk, FanDuel has opened retail locations in all other legal sports betting states.
They have FOX Bet online and are likely to bring a retail sportsbook to their partner, Lady Luck Casino in Black Hawk.
Partnered with Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk, Betfred has already announced its intentions of opening a retail sportsbook there.
The Century Casino in Cripple Creek and Circa Sports have partnered for a limited online sportsbook. A brick-and-mortar book is also in the future.
The Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek has opened its online sportsbook - Bet Wildwood - and a retail location is also to be expected.
It's important to know that it is highly unlikely that you'll find bonus offers when you visit a retail sportsbook. With no electronic record of your betting, there is no real way to make substantial bonuses work. Too much paper and too much cash used.
But when betting online at a Colorado sportsbook, bonuses should be the norm. And if they aren't, look elsewhere. You should have no problem finding free money in a variety of different forms.
One of the most common ways in which a sportsbook will seek to attract new business is with a welcome bonus. Often this is in the form of a risk-free bet that only triggers in the event you lose your first time out, but even that can have a lot of value. Be sure to look for these when choosing an online sportsbook.
For bigger bonuses, you'll want to look for deposit-matching bonuses. These can be worth as much as $500 and are usually awarded as a 100% match of a new customer's initial deposit.
There will be an attached playthrough requirement before the money becomes yours to withdraw. These are typically around five times the amount of the bonus - meaning that if you get $300 in matching funds, you'll need to place $1,500 worth of bets to make it cash.
Always read about deposit bonus offers before you make that first deposit into your account.
Loyalty programs are more common at casinos than online sportsbooks. However, because all Colorado sportsbooks are connected to Colorado casinos, it is worth checking to see if such a program is offered.
Some of the larger casinos, as well as the sportsbooks that double as online casinos in other states, may have a program worth signing up for.
Generally speaking, loyalty programs give customers bonus points for plays. Those points can then be redeemed for a series of prizes and gifts. If your sportsbook offers a rewards program, always sign up.
Daily odds boosts, special day-of-the-week promotions, and sport-specific insurance deals are all promotions that sportsbooks will run to keep their customers loyal. You may also find a refer-a-friend bonus offered. This is where you can get a free bet for encouraging a friend to sign up for their own sportsbook account. Your friend will get a free bet too, so everyone wins.
Be sure to explore all of the possible bonus options before settling on a sportsbook. You never want to leave free money on the table.
Whether you are accessing an online sportsbook through its website or its mobile app, you should have no problem going through the registration and account creation process.
The information required for registration is:
You will choose your username and password at the time of registration. If there are any issues with confirming your identification through your address and social security number, you may be asked to submit a recent utility bill in your name.
You will also be prompted to answer a pair of security questions and decide if you want to opt-in to two-factor notification. This means that each time your account is accessed, a PIN will be sent to your mobile phone. You must then provide that PIN to confirm that it really is you logging in.
Now that your account is officially and you've checked to see what kind of deposit bonuses are on offer, you're ready to put some money into your account.
Colorado sportsbooks offer the following deposit options:
Not all sportsbooks will offer a prepaid card, but many casinos do, so you may find that their partner sportsbook does. That is a great way to fund your account if you can do so.
It's worth noting that many credit card companies treat payments to gambling establishments like a cash advance, meaning that extra fees are attached. Always double-check with your issuing bank before making any deposits, so that you aren't surprised by any extra fees.
For this reason, and for an added layer of security, consider making deposits through online bill pay where that option is available.
One other main reason why online bill pay or another means of electronic deposit is preferred is because it can easily be reversed for withdrawals from your account. If, however, that isn't available to you, the following means of withdrawal are alternative options.
Just remember that when cashing out with a personal check there will be delays of between five and ten business days for processing and mailing. This is yet another reason why electronic banking is recommended by ourselves and almost everyone else in the industry.
Yes. It is legal to place bets on all professional and college teams located and playing in Colorado. By law, the only teams that you cannot wager on are Colorado high school teams. That prohibition has become the industry standard throughout the country.
If you are at least 21 years old and inside the state lines, you can place legal sports wagers.
There is no residency requirement for placing wagers. If you are of age and inside the state lines, it is entirely legal for you to place a bet at a licensed sportsbook, either in person or online.
Yes. As with many other states that have legalized sports gambling, players, coaches, and other team officials who have insider knowledge or have the ability to influence the outcome of a sporting event may not place bets on any events in which they have involvement.
This does not include everyone who works for a team. If you are a team trainer, you are ineligible to wager on any events in which you participate. If you sell tickets, you are allowed to place bets.
Yes. The sportsbooks pay a 10% tax on sports betting revenue, with that money going to fund water management projects in the state. As for sports betting customers – all winnings must be declared to the IRS when filing income taxes.
Yes. In fact, DraftKings is one of the best online sports betting options in the state. It is also going to be one of the first retail sportsbooks in Colorado, which is good news for DraftKings fans who also like to bet offline.
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