Online gambling in Colorado is already available for sports bettors, and there are high hopes that casinos and poker rooms will follow in due course.
In the meantime, if you like gambling, then you’ll love Colorado. The Rocky Mountain State boasts 33 retail casinos located in the three mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. It has also offered online sports betting since May 1, 2020, so the state’s status as an all-encompassing playground of fun remains intact.
Colorado does support and promote responsible gambling.
As with all of the states that have legalized gambling in the last few years, it took a series of events to make online gambling in Colorado a reality.
Casino gambling has been legal in three former mining towns since 1991. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that sports betting looked like it was going to get any traction in the state. That is when the Supreme Court made its historic ruling that allowed states to create their own sports gambling laws.
One more hurdle was removed when, in the same year, state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said that the state could pass new sports gaming laws without having to change the state’s constitution. That opinion made things substantially easier for lawmakers, who got right to work crafting a new bill.
Proposition DD was passed by lawmakers in early 2019. In May, the governor signed it, and in November, voters approved it. And then, on May 1, 2020, online sports betting went live in Colorado.
Once upon a time, Colorado had a thriving sports betting industry, with horse racing going back to the 19th century. But that is an era that was long gone, with only one racetrack - Arapahoe Park in Aurora - open and operating over the last 25 years.
As for other sports betting in the state - there was none.
But as time passes, attitudes change, and so do the laws. A few starts and stops in the mid 2010s to expand the legalized casino gaming market indirectly led to the sports betting market gaining favor.
When SCOTUS made its decision in 2018 to get the federal government out of the way of sports betting, the state of Colorado took action.
Because the new sports betting law involved a tax, albeit a tax on the operators, the voting public was required for final approval. That approval came by a mere 2% of voters, and sports betting for both retail and online was officially legal.
There are 33 retail casinos in the state that are eligible to apply for a sports betting license. At last count, 28 of those casinos have filed for a license, and more than 20 have been granted so far.
So, in theory, this could become the most crowded online sports betting market anywhere in the country, with the possibility of more than 30 open sportsbooks.
As of right now, there are only five sportsbooks that have officially launched online operations. Those five make up a Who’s Who of the biggest and best names in the business.
All sportsbooks that operate in Colorado must have a retail casino partner.
We can therefore expect the above list to grow and continue growing over the coming months and years.
The laws governing online gambling in Colorado, contrary to those in some other states, allow betting on games and events that involve the colleges and universities in the state. You can also wager on all NCAA sporting events in the state, such as a regional in the NCAA Tournament or College World Series.
So, if you want to place bets on the annual Colorado-Colorado State Rocky Mountain Showdown, you can.
Note, however, that you are not allowed to bet on high school sports or any esports.
As for the type of wagers that you will find at Colorado sportsbooks, the range is vast. Here are some of the most common types:
Also called live betting or in-game betting, in-play wagering allows you to be on sporting events that are already in progress. There are quarter and halftime bets, multiple buyout options, and as the score of the game and time remaining changes, so do the odds.
The most basic of all bets, the moneyline requires you to place a straight wager on who will win the game. Take the underdog and get paid more. Bet on the favorite and win a little less.
Instead of the odds you play on the moneyline, these wagers use a point spread to separate the favorite from the underdog. So your team can actually lose, and you can still win.
This is a bet on the total combined points scored for both teams in a single event, and you take either over or under the posted line. That’s why it’s also known as an over/under bet. You can also find over/under bets on a team’s win total for the entire season.
A series of small bets that, when combined into one large bet, become a parlay. These can involve two bets, three bets, or more. If each individual bet wins, the parlay wins and pays off bigger odds. But if just one bet loses, the entire parlay becomes worthless.
Similar to a parlay in that you play a series of small bets. But unlike with a parlay, each bet plays its own odds and pays off if it wins. It’s similar to boxing a trifecta in horse racing.
Proposition bets are bets that take place inside regular gameplay and are particularly popular during special events, like the Super Bowl. They can involve event props, like the total number of rounds in a UFC fight; team props, like the first team to score a touchdown; and individual props, like which quarterback throws the most touchdowns.
Futures are bets on events that have yet to take place, like betting on the winner of next year’s World Series, NBA Finals, or The Masters.
To revive the fledgling old mining towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek, Colorado legalized limited casino gaming in 1991. And when we say limited, we mean it. The maximum allowed bet at the time was $5.
That state-imposed limit has now been raised to $100, and the number of casinos in those three mining towns now stands at 33. There are also two tribal casinos in the southwest corner of the state: Black Hawk and Central City are near Denver, and Cripple Creek is near Colorado Springs.
As of this moment, there is no legal online casino gambling in Colorado. But with online sports betting having gone live in the state in 2020, the expectation is that there will soon be a concerted effort to also bring casino gaming to the internet.
The laws governing online gambling in Colorado do not yet permit online casinos to operate. However, predicting which online casinos are the most likely to come to Colorado at some point in the future is fairly easy.
The following casino operators either have a presence in the state for sports betting or have shown aggressive action when other states have legalized online casino gaming.
One of the first casinos on the scene in other states has been DraftKings, and this operator was one of the first to open a sportsbook in Colorado. DraftKings has gone from a daily fantasy sports site to a complete one-stop-shop for all things betting, and without question, they will open an online casino in Colorado when given the chance.
FanDuel also has a sportsbook operating in Colorado and has been one of the first on the scene when other states have legalized online casino gaming. They, too, are a no-brainer to open in Colorado.
In places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the BetMGM app integrates seamlessly between its sportsbook and casino offerings. With a sportsbook already in operation in Colorado, it will be very easy for BetMGM to open a casino there as well.
Like MGM, Fox Bet has multiple sportsbook/casino combos successfully on the market in other states. They have been aggressive in getting their brand out there, and when Colorado legalizes online casinos, we are sure to see a Fox Bet entry.
PokerStars is the wildcard in this group. If along with online casino gaming, Colorado also legalizes online poker, then PokerStars is certain to eventually come to market. However, if online poker is legalized at a later time, then a PokerStars website in Colorado will probably come later too.
All online gambling in Colorado is regulated by the Colorado Division of Gaming. Any online casino game playable in the state will therefore have to be approved by that governing body. Having said that, we have a very good idea of what to expect by looking at the games that are legal right now at retail casinos.
Because of the limited betting at the beginning of Colorado’s foray into casino gaming, slot machines were the game of choice. They remain so today and are sure to be the largest feature on any online casino.
Not all of the Colorado casinos offer table games, but Blackjack is available at all that do. It will most definitely be on any future Colorado online casino apps.
An easy game to understand and simulate online, Roulette is popular on the casino floor and will become a popular online offering.
A social game that is hugely popular at retail casinos, it might suffer some of the excitement when it’s put online. Still, we expect to see it offered by online casinos.
Easy to play, popular, and a shoo-in to be offered by Colorado online casinos.
If you’ve been inside a casino, no doubt you’ve seen or played the video poker machines that feature a wide variety of poker variations. No question that video poker will also make it to online casinos in Colorado. The only question is which variations of poker will be included.
Just as with online casinos, online poker has yet to be legalized in Colorado. The good news is that most of the 33 casinos in the state have large poker rooms so that poker players can get their fix.
Sweepstakes poker, which can be played through sites like Global Poker, is legal and currently available. It’s not played with real money, but it is competitive and available from your personal computer.
Setting up an account with an online sportsbook, or with a future online casino when the law permits, is easy to do. You will be asked to provide the following basic information:
You will choose your username and password at the time you register.
If your name, address, and social security number aren’t enough for the operator to establish your identity, you will be asked to provide a utility bill bearing the same name and address that you submitted. In very rare cases, a Colorado operator will require photo identification.
Making deposits and withdrawals is also quite easy on a Colorado gaming website and app, with the following options being the most likely that you’ll encounter.
Any time that you can use a method of deposit that creates an electronic connection between your bank account and your gambling account, consider doing so. It makes depositing and withdrawing cash as easy as it gets.
Online bill pay, ACH, bank transfers, and e-wallet payments are always good options, even if some will have slightly more delays in processing your request.
If you engage in cash or check transactions, you will have to withdraw funds through a personal check. That works fine too, but you will need to allow extra time for processing.
Yes. Sports betting, casinos and poker rooms are all legal in Colorado.
Online gambling in Colorado is much more restricted. Currently it is legal to bet with online sportsbooks, but the state does not allow online casinos or online poker rooms.
At the moment, the only online gambling that is legal in Colorado is sports betting.
Each of the state’s casinos can apply for a sports betting license, and so far, more than 20 of those casinos have been granted licenses. Five of them are now operating online sportsbooks.
Online casino gaming and online poker are expected to be legalized in the future, but there is no definitive timeline.
If you are at least 21 years old and physically inside the state lines of Colorado, you can place online sports wagers. You do not need to have Colorado residency. Anyone living in or visiting the state can place legal bets.
Your age is verified when you register for an online account. Your location is verified through either your computer’s IP address or the location services inside your mobile device.
Yes. As with other states that have legal sports gambling, players, coaches, and other team and league officials who can have a direct influence on the outcome of a sporting event may not place any bets on the events in which they have involvement.
So if you are a coach, trainer, referee, or anyone else that can impact a final result, you are not allowed to wager on that game. But if you are in ticket sales for the Denver Broncos, this does not apply to you.
As a sports betting customer, you are required to report all gambling winnings to the IRS.
The sports betting operators will pay a 10% flat tax to the state on all sports betting profits. When applying for a license, they pay a $10,000 non-refundable fee. If that license is granted, it costs them $125,000 for the two-year life of the license.
All legal online sportsbooks in Colorado are regulated by the Colorado Division of Gaming. This ensures the safety and security of all customers.
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