The gateway to the West has officially opened, as Colorado sports betting debuted to residents in May 2020. Such gaming expansion provides the Centennial State with a taste of an ever-expanding industry, one that includes retail and online sports betting.
For the time being, sports betting remains the only form of regulated online gaming for the Coloradans. Already, though, the public has access to four operators with online sportsbooks and surely more to come in the near future.
This page is an introduction to the legal status of all gambling in Colorado. Below, you’ll find a guide to the various kinds of legal online gambling. We cover sports betting and horse race wagering, including information on betting apps.
A new age dawned on the Colorado gaming world in May 2020, as the state’s first online sportsbooks made their debut.
While Coloradans await the first brick-and-mortars to open, they have access to nine betting apps:
No doubt, that group expects to welcome more competition in the coming weeks.
Online sports betting in Colorado pretty much puts a Las Vegas sportsbook in your pocket, with all kinds of single-game wagering, futures, props and live betting options available on mobile devices throughout the state.
The launch of this new market represents a great time to try sports betting.
CO online sportsbooks will offer a variety of risk-free bets, no-deposit and matched-deposit bonuses to draw in new players.
Voters in November 2019 approved the regulation of retail and online sports betting. And six months later, on the first possible day of legalized wagering, four operators launched mobile sportsbooks.
The last time any Colorado lawmakers tried to get an online poker bill passed was in 2013. The effort quickly died even before any votes were cast.
Colorado offers legal daily fantasy sports (DFS).
It did so in 2016, with a bill allowing the state’s Division of Professions and Occupations to govern DFS activity and set license and renewal fees for operators. It also allows smaller DFS operators with less than 7,500 users to operate without a license.
Colorado voters passed Proposition DD on Nov. 5, 2019, legalizing retail and online sports betting in the state. And on the first official day of legal wagering, four online sportsbooks hit the market.
Retail sports betting is limited to licensed sportsbooks inside licensed casinos in the cities of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. However, the law also allows these casinos to apply for licenses to run statewide online and mobile sports betting, either by themselves or with outside partners.
Colorado does offer online lottery sales. However, the Colorado Lottery does have a mobile app and website with information and game tools.
It is possible to purchase tickets for drawings in advance, using the state’s “Advance Play” option for Powerball, Mega Millions, Colorado Lotto+ and Lucky for Life tickets. However, Colorado does not offer an online or mail-in subscription service. The Advance Play feature is only available through lottery retailers.
There is no online poker in Colorado. The last legislative effort to bring legal poker sites to Colorado was in 2013, and it didn’t even get to a vote.
Global Poker, using a sweepstakes model, remains to be the only legal online poker option for players in the state.
There are also six live poker rooms in Colorado, including:
Colorado legalized pari-mutuel wagering on horse races in Colorado in 1948.
Colorado’s first horse racing facility, Centennial Race Track, opened in Littleton, which is outside of Denver, in 1950. It went out of business in 1983.
Pikes Peak Meadows opened in 1965, south of Denver in Colorado Springs, but it became a racecar speedway in 1993.
Finally, Arapahoe Park opened in 1992 in the Denver suburb of Aurora. Arapahoe Park remains the only live horse racing venue in Colorado.
It offers live racing, running a mixed thoroughbred and quarter horse meet from May to August.
It also offers simulcast wagering. There are 12 off-track betting (OTB) parlors throughout the state that do the same.
Colorado once had dog racing, but it was made illegal in 2008.
Colorado also permits online horse betting.
Making bets online on horse races is legal due to a carve-out for pari-mutuel betting pools.
Three major US-owned and operated horse betting sites and apps cover Colorado and most other states: TVG, BetAmerica and TwinSpires.
You can bet on races that occur outside of the state. These sites allow you to bet on tracks across the country and international races, and the special bets include the winner of the Triple Crown.
This section is a directory of some of the largest casinos you can gamble at in Colorado.
In 1990, Colorado voters initially approved limited-stakes gaming in Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk.
The first limited-stakes casinos launched in October 1991. The maximum bet allowed was only $5. Slots, blackjack and poker were the only games allowed and casinos had to close from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
In 2008, CO voters passed Amendment 50, raising the maximum bet to $100, adding craps and roulette, and allowing the casinos to stay open 24 hours, starting in July 2009.
Now, a proposal is in the works that would allow the casinos to remove the $100 betting limit altogether.
Former Cripple Creek Mayor Bruce Brown and former Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman are making a push to get Initiative 257 onto the November 2020 Colorado ballot. It would allow residents of the three casino towns to decide whether they want to remove that $100 limit and approve new games.
To get it on the ballot, they will need to submit 125,000 valid signatures to support it, representing at least 2% of the registered voters in each of Colorado’s 35 Senate districts, by August.
Initiative 257 would then need to get 50% of the vote to allow residents of Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk to decide if they want to raise or eliminate the betting limits and add new types of games starting in May 2021.
According to the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission, the number of open and operating licensed commercial casinos and Indian casinos in the state has dipped from 42 in 2013 to 33 in 2020.
The hope is that the launch of sports betting can be a boost to the local casino economy.
Here’s a look at the Colorado casinos with definitive plans for online sports betting in 2020:
Bronco Billy’s Casino Hotel offers more than 800 slots and video poker, 21 and keno machines.
Plus, there are a handful of table games, including blackjack, craps, three-card poker and roulette. The casino is open 24/7, and there is a 24-room hotel on the property.
Bronco Billy’s is owned and operated by Full House Resorts.
Full House signed a deal in September 2019 with Churchill Downs to offer retail and online sports wagering under its BetAmerica brand at Bronco Billy’s.
Full House has also signed deals with UK-based betting exchange Smarkets (SBK sportsbook) and Wynn Resorts to offer online sports wagering under the Bronco Billy’s master license.
Saratoga Casino Hotel in Black Hawk offers nearly 500 slots and a handful of table games, including blackjack, craps and roulette.
The casino is open 24/7, and there are two bars and a cafe on the property.
Saratoga Casino signed a deal in January with UK-based bookmaker Betfred Group and its subsidiary Betfred USA Sports to offer retail and online sports wagering at the casino.
Century Casino & Hotel features nearly 500 slots and video poker machines and a small table games area. The casino is open 24/7, and there is a hotel with 26 boutique-style rooms.
There is also a Century Casino & Hotel in Cripple Creek with a smaller casino and 21-room hotel.
In February, Century Casino signed a deal allowing Circa Sports to become Century Casinos’ online sports betting operator.
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort has 650 slots and video poker machines, 12 blackjack tables, two craps tables and a roulette table.
The casino is open 24/7, and there are two restaurants on the property. Twin River owns and operates the casino.
In January, DraftKings inked a deal with Twin River that will see it offer retail and online and mobile sports betting in Colorado. The agreement includes the launch of a new retail sportsbook operation inside the Mardi Gras Casino and the DraftKings online sportsbook and app statewide under the Mardi Gras Casino’s license.
Golden Gates Casino features almost 275 slot machines and eight table games, including blackjack, craps and roulette and an 18-table poker room. It is connected via a pedestrian bridge to Mardi Gras Casino.
Twin River owns and operates Golden Gates.
In January, FanDuel and Twin River agreed to a market access partnership that will see the FanDuel Sportsbook app launch online in Colorado.
Double Eagle Hotel & Casino features almost 450 slot machines and a selection of table games. It is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. There are two top-rated restaurants on the property.
In July 2019, sportsbook operator PointsBet entered a multiyear partnership with Double Eagle to launch both retail and mobile sportsbook operations from the casino.
The following Colorado casinos were also approved for sports betting master licenses in February:
Brass Ass Casino offers live-action blackjack, high-five poker, craps, three-card poker and roulette action 24/7. It also features video poker and slot machines.
It’s the oldest casino in Cripple Creek and is home to the Miner’s Pick restaurant.
It is one of the three Triple Crown Casino properties.
Dostal Alley Casino is also a microbrewery and restaurant. There are 500 slot machines and 10 table games on the property.
McGills Hotel & Casino has more than 320 slots and video poker games. Table games are available at its sister Triple Crown Casino properties. There is an Irish pub called J.P’s Pint & Platter inside.
Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino is the third connected Triple Crown Casino property.
It has a nine-table poker room and nearly 400 slots. Dining is available at the Down Under steakhouse and Dynamite Dick’s Dining Emporium.
Monarch Casino is in the middle of a renovation that will significantly expand the property when it’s completed sometime this year.
Monarch Casino Black Hawk currently features 30,000 square feet of casino space with 740 slot machines and 14 table games. Visitors can enjoy the 250-seat buffet-style restaurant and a snack bar on the property.
Once completed, the Monarch Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk will nearly double the casino space and add a 23-story hotel tower with approximately 500 rooms, a spa and pool facility, three new restaurants and additional bars.
The following casinos are considered the largest in Colorado and should soon release plans to launch sports betting on the property and online:
Ameristar Casino Black Hawk opened in 2001.
With more than 1,250 slot machines, 40 table games, a 22-table poker room, a 500-plus room luxury hotel with access to the casino via a ski lift, a spa, mountaintop recreation park, and night club, it is the largest casino complex in the state.
Gaming and Leisure Properties owns it, and Penn National Gaming manages the casino.
Penn National Gaming has a series of partnership agreements with four marquee sports betting operators including:
However, it remains to be seen which company, if any, will gain market access in Colorado through Ameristar Black Hawk.
Sky Ute Casino Resort is an Indian casino and hotel with more than 600 slots, blackjack, craps, roulette, three-card poker and bingo.
There’s also a hotel on the property with 140 luxury resort rooms, including eight culturally themed suites. It offers Las Vegas-style gaming, unique and creative dining options, and a day spa and salon. Also, visitors can enjoy the swimming pool and sun deck, fitness center and other amenities. Sky Ute Casino Resort is one of the few full-service gaming properties in the state.
Ute Mountain Casino Hotel was the state’s first tribal gaming facility and it remains the largest casino in the Four Corners area.
It features 780 slots with more than 50 multi-denomination, multi games featuring video keno, video poker and video reels. Plus, six table games, including blackjack, roulette, three-card poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
There’s also a 400 seat bingo hall on the property and a full-service hotel, restaurant, gift shop and travel center.
The Colorado Lottery launched on Jan. 24, 1983, with just scratch tickets. The first draw games began on April 23, 1983.
Games include Cash 5, Pick 3, Colorado Lotto+ and multistate draw games, including Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, and Powerball scratch tickets.
Colorado Lottery retailer started selling Powerball tickets in 2001 and Mega Millions tickets in 2010. The Colorado Lottery launched Lucky for Life in 2016.
Fifty percent of Colorado Lottery proceeds go to a trust fund administered by Great Outdoors Colorado, which distributes the funds to local governments and land trusts.
Another 40% goes to the Conservation Trust Fund and 10% to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The Colorado Lottery has a free mobile app that allows you to:
Colorado passed a law regulating the daily fantasy sports industry in 2016.
There is no tax on operator revenue.
According to the American Gaming Association’s 2019 “State of the States” casino revenue roundup, casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek posted a combined $842.1 million in revenue in 2018.
That marked a record for Colorado gaming and a 1.7% increase over the $828 million the industry posted in 2017. It was also a 13% increase over 2014 when there were even more commercial casinos operating in Colorado.
Thanks mostly to the launch of legal sports betting, 12 of 24 states with commercial casinos also posted record revenues in 2018. The US casino industry brought in an all-time high of $41.7 billion in revenue, up 3.5% over 2017.
Eight states made betting on sports legal in 2018 with US-wide sports betting revenue going up 64% to $430.2 million.
Original estimates claimed the state could generate $20 million or more from the 10% tax that it will charge legal sports betting operators in the state. That would mean Colorado casinos and online gambling operators will be posting an additional $200 million a year in gambling revenue.
However, the governor’s office now estimates it will collect between $1.4 million and $1.7 million in sports betting tax revenue in the first year, ramping up to, at most, $10.4 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year. It is a more conservative estimate of an additional $100 million in gambling revenue in the first full year with legal sports betting in Colorado.
Colorado has allowed pari-mutuel betting on horse races since 1949. Plus, there’s been a state lottery in Colorado since 1983.
However, Colorado gambling didn’t kick off until legal casino gambling came to the once sleepy mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek in 1991.
These former mining towns were on the verge of becoming ghost towns when Colorado voters approved Initiative 4 to the Colorado constitution, allowing for limited gambling operations in these three cities only to save the failing local economies.
Only slots, blackjack, and poker were allowed, single bets could not exceed $5, and the casinos could not run 24 hours a day. Still, small casinos opened up and persevered under these restrictions in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.
In 2008, the hope for increased revenue came in the form of Amendment 50. It sought to approve craps and roulette, allow the casinos to take bets of up to $100 and stay open 24 hours. Voters approved and revenues have been climbing ever since.
All three towns have been transformed from failed mining towns to quaint gambling destinations.
Most of the smaller casinos are reminiscent of Old West saloons. There are 33 among the three towns, the largest of which are in Black Hawk.
Of course, Central City is just a few miles away, and both are less than an hour’s drive from downtown Denver.
Cripple Creek is about an hour from Colorado Springs in the southeastern part of the state. Two tribal casinos owned and operated by the Ute tribe have also opened on the western side of the state.
Colorado still has live and simulcast horse racing at Arapahoe Park, just outside of Denver. Plus, 12 other off-track betting locations throughout the state.
The state lottery still runs and participates in the Mega Millions and Powerball multistate draw games.
Now, sports betting is coming to the state. Also, 28 of the 33 casinos have already applied for sports betting master licenses, Colorado gambling appears on the verge of another boom.
One that will be spurred on even further by a recent movement to allow residents in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek to decide for themselves when it comes to increased betting limits and new games.
As the voice for the Colorado gaming industry, the Colorado Gaming Association (CGA) has issued the following responsible gaming position statement:
“(The CGA) defines problem gambling as any gambling behavior negatively impacting the lives of individuals, resulting in serious personal, financial, or legal consequences. Problem gambling takes two major forms: compulsive gambling and underage gambling, which affect both guests and employees. CGA believes problem gambling is a serious issue that deserves a proactive response from the casino industry. CGA is taking positive steps to address problem gambling because we do not want this behavior to harm our customers, employees, business operations, communities or industry. We have committed human and financial resources to promote education and awareness of compulsive gambling among our guests and employees. We have put in place policies and practices to deter underage gambling and discourage compulsive gambling. Our goal is to promote and support, to the fullest extent practical, responsible gambling behavior at every member casino of the Colorado Gaming Association.”
The CGA also offers training to casino employees, community and civic groups on the issues of problem and underage gambling.
The CGA also offers a self-exclusion program in conjunction with the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado (PGCC).
The program offers a voluntary self-exclusion program to those unable to gamble responsibly. Those taking advantage of the program can be removed from casino marketing lists, cancel slot club memberships, and cancel any check-cashing privileges with any and all casinos in Colorado.
The program is for those who want to cease gambling activities permanently. Casinos, including Ameristar and the Isle/Lady Luck Black Hawk, consider self-exclusion a permanent decision and will not allow even those who rescind self-exclusion to gamble.
Further resources for problem gamblers in Colorado include:
You’ll only be able to bet on sports and horses. Online casino games, including online slots, online poker and online lottery sales, are not yet legal in Colorado.
Geolocation technology is accurate. Sports betting operators will use it to pinpoint your location when you try to bet in Colorado. Books use an IP address and Wi-Fi to find out where you are. For mobile devices close to the border, you can also install additional software to verify you are in Colorado.
You need to be 21 years or older to bet on horses or play at a casino in Colorado. However, you only need to be 18 or older to buy lottery tickets. The minimum age for sports betting is 21.
Anyone 21 or older who is inside Colorado state lines can bet on sports online. There is no requirement to be a permanent resident.
Only Colorado’s 33 casinos can apply for and receive a master license. Of course, they can then partner with retail and online and mobile sports betting operators to run sports betting operations. These entities will then need to get their own licenses.
CO gambling sites will accept some credit cards. Banks sometimes decline transactions for online gambling. If your issuing bank does so, try another option.
No, accounts are limited to one per person and one per physical location/household. This is to prevent bonus abuse and ensure gamblers are of age.
Colorado is charging operators a 10% tax on sports betting revenue.
Yes, gambling winnings are taxed at 24% (federal) 4% (state) in Colorado
Yes, there are 12 off-track betting sites around the state.