Legal online sports betting and mobile apps in the Centennial State
Colorado is a full-service sports betting state. Coloradans are able to wager on sports from their mobile devices and from several of the land-based casinos in the state.
This new bloom of gambling activity became a reality in Colorado after the passage of Proposition DD in the November 2019 election. The legislatively referred measure authorized the creation of sports betting in the state as a means to fund the state’s water projects.
The first online sportsbooks in Colorado debuted in May 2020. Read on for all the latest news, updates, and promotional codes that are coming to the great state of Colorado.
Just in time for the first game of the NFL season, both William Hill and Betfred introduced sports betting apps to Colorado residents.
The two operators join a list of big names currently live in the Centennial State. William Hill, though, carries the most weight as it has long been considered an industry leader not only in this country by also overseas.
As for Betfred, the UK-based company rolled out its first US products in tandem as betting apps went live in both Colorado and Iowa.
As the NFL season gets ready to kick into full swing, bettors in Colorado now have access to 14 online sportsbooks:
Of all the sports betting apps in Colorado, DraftKings is one of the best for free bet offers. The company in black and green gives every new player who joins in the Centennial State $25 worth of free bets. There’s no need to deposit or anything.
On top of that, players who deposit and make their first wagers with DraftKings also have some free bet insurance in place. The first bet up to $500 that you make on DraftKings is entirely risk-free – a loss on the bet will result in you receiving free bet vouchers equivalent to the amount of your wager.
Taking your first step with FOX Bet is as painless as can be. The site, which is a joint effort between the Stars Group and Fox Sports, offers the opportunity to take your first bet with no risk at all.
All you have to do is make a deposit into your brand new FOX Bet account. After that, your first bet – up to $500 – is completely refundable if you happen to lose.
One of the best things about Colorado’s entry into sports betting has been the availability of online sports betting sites. The ability to place a wager through your smartphone is instrumental in a state with so much land area and, frankly, chances for inclement weather in the fall and winter months.
If you are interested in trying out a Colorado sports betting app, you’re in luck. Most online sportsbooks in Colorado offer dedicated versions of their app for both major types of smartphone format – Apple (iOS) and Android:
Coloradans are fortunate. Their state government, in its infinite wisdom, elected to allow players to register for an account remotely.
In other words, it is not necessary for you to travel from your home in Colorado – wherever it is – to one of the land-based sportsbooks in the state. You need only look for our links above in order to access the registration pages for available online sportsbooks in the Centennial State.
This ability is not universal across the US. States like Illinois, Iowa, and Nevada all require some bit of legwork to get started online. So, Colorado residents have already got a win under their belts in that regard – particularly during the winter storms.
In fact, it is not even necessary that you be in the state of Colorado to register, deposit, and withdraw from your sportsbook account. You can build bets, try different combinations, or explore your chosen app in almost its entirety from wherever you are.
The only thing that you cannot do from outside Colorado is complete the bet. Colorado sportsbooks are forbidden by state and federal law from accepting wagers across state lines.
However, like all things, it is ineffective to merely say a policy and have no way to enforce it. The more nefarious members of the sports betting community might not be bothered by any kind of prohibition if they can figure out a way to work around it.
Both the sportsbooks in Colorado and the Colorado Division of Gaming require that you submit your smartphone to geolocation verification before you can place a wager. This software will, in most cases, use the onboard global positioning software to verify that you are physically inside the borders of Colorado.
Geolocation verification software is actually quite effective. It can detect stationary targets fairly accurately. In fact, you are more likely to be rejected falsely by the software as being outside the state than you are to bypass its checks by playing near the state line.
The overall effect of this software is to create a virtual fence around Colorado. While that might seem a bit Orwellian, the truth is that the sportsbooks face terrible fines and sanctions for play originating outside Colorado, so they simply cannot afford to take enforcement lightly.
How legal sports betting works in Colorado
Legal sports betting works in much the same way as it does elsewhere. Most sportsbooks in Colorado, be they land-based or retail, should function identically to sportsbooks you’ve played elsewhere.
From single-match outcomes to parlays and professional props, the Colorado sports betting industry runs the gamut:
Moneyline: Sportsbooks offer lines that suggest the odds of any given team winning a single event. Each line is based on a $100 wager. Favorites carry a negative number; for example, -110, which tells bettors they need to bet $110 to win $100. On the flip side, underdogs can carry a positive number; for example, a +110 says bettors can win $110 on a $100 wager.
Totals: These over/under numbers indicate how many points, goals, runs, etc., are expected to score in a single game. Bettors simply wager on more or less than the given amount.
Spreads: These numbers tell bettors how many points/goals/runs a team is favored by. The public can lay money down on the underdog to “cover the spread” (losing by less than the given amount or winning outright) or for the favorite to win by more than the number indicated.
Parlays: Bets that involve multiple events. Though risky, parlays provide better returns from a smaller stake. That said, one leg’s loss results in a parlay’s loss.
Teasers: This form of parlay includes spreads, which reduce the risk of individual contests. Wins come more often, but returns remain low.
Props: Any bet which is on the performance of individual players: yards rushed, points scored and so on. As noted, prop bets in Colorado are only available for pro sports.
Futures: These wagers rely on a season’s outcome rather than a single game. Betting on a conference, division and league winners are examples of futures wagers.
In-play: Bets made on an event while the event is ongoing and with odds changing in real-time.
Colorado also allows players to engage in live betting, an exciting and fun type of prop bet. You can bet on hundreds of different microevents throughout the course of a single match. So, the days of making a bet and having to sweat for two hours are at an end – unless you prefer to sit and sweat.
What you can’t bet on in Colorado
Some states have a laundry list of restricted bets enumerated in their sports betting bills and/or existing laws. Some of the restrictions leave one to wonder what the lawmakers in those states are trying to protect. Thankfully, the roster of what you can’t bet in Colorado is quite short and mostly makes sense.
The first restriction is universal, though. No Colorado sportsbook, either online or live, is permitted to take bets on high school events. Every state that has allowed sports betting so far has had similar language in their laws, and you can basically assume that this prohibition will be in place no matter which states legalize sports betting going forward.
Colorado also restricts wagering on any video game competition unless the competition itself has the thumbs-up from a sports governing body. Exactly which governing bodies will suffice is unclear, but this restriction is clearly meant to curtail the craziness that can follow behind esports.
Finally, Colorado law does not permit proposition betting on collegiate games at all. While most types of prop bet are somewhat rarer choices for betting, this restriction is aimed at pulling back the reins on live betting, since live betting is a type of prop bet. Presumably, Colorado lawmakers are worried about the corrupting effect that having live bets throughout the fourth quarter might have on the potential for moral hazard and ruin at the collegiate level.
Betting on futures in Colorado
One of the most popular casual bets in Colorado is the futures bet. The swagger of placing a preseason wager on your favorite team or player and rooting as hard as possible throughout the season is quite enticing.
Thankfully, Colorado is a land of both size and population. So, there are many professional and collegiate sports teams that can serve as the basis for your futures bets of the, well, future.
Here are some of the teams and futures bets that you can make:
Bet on the Denver Broncos: Super Bowl Winner, AFC Winner, NFL AP MVP, NFL Offensive / Defensive Player of the Year, NFL AP Offensive / Defensive Rookie of the Year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Bet on the Denver Nuggets: NBA Championship Winner and NBA Eastern Conference Winner
Bet on College Football: NCAA National Champion – Colorado, Colorado State
College Basketball: NCAA National Champion – Colorado, Colorado State
How online sports betting works in Colorado
Colorado is home to 31 commercial casinos. The properties are located within the city limits of three Rocky Mountain towns – Black Hawk, Century City, and Cripple Creek. The state also hosts two tribal casinos in the southwestern corner of the state. By virtue of their compacts, the tribes are allowed to add any games authorized elsewhere in the state.
Under the law, every one of these casinos is able to apply for a master license for sports betting. The master license authorizes the casino to offer both retail and mobile wagering.
Furthermore, the license allows the bearer to partner with up to two strategic operators. The in-state casinos can use a company for land-based sports betting, a company for online sports betting, or the same company for both types of betting.
There are no restrictions regarding registration or any other type of activity through mobile sports betting. This freedom is likely critical to Colorado’s success in sports betting, since the state contains such wide swaths of famously-rugged terrain.
The only restrictions on betting are on high school sports and esports. Prohibitions on wagering for high school events are ubiquitous throughout the US, and eSports remain a somewhat suspicious commodity for some state lawmakers.
How to sign up for a Colorado sportsbook account
Once you have downloaded and installed the app, the next step is to register for an account. There should be a prominent button in the top right of your appscreen that says something like “Register” or “Sign Up.” Pressing that button takes you to the registration form or forms for the site. There, the app asks you for various bits of personal information in order to generate your new account.
Information you may have to provide includes:
Date of Birth
Cell phone number
Social Security number (or last four digits)
You are going to need to designate a username and password to allow you access to your account. Additionally, the site may ask you to provide answers to selected challenge questions in order to construct an extra layer of security.
Finally, there may be an optional box for a bonus code somewhere in the registration area. If our link indicates that there is a code, make sure to enter it here.
How to deposit and cash out at CO sportsbooks
As is the case with any gaming, you need to able to transfer funds in and out of an online sportsbook to play. The idea of putting actual dollars into cyberspace might seem daunting, but it’s actually a safe and easy process (in most cases).
Typical options that you might find for making a deposit into a sportsbook account include:
Credit or debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.)
Online bank transfers (similar to online bill pay)
Electronic checks (ACH or VIP Preferred)
Prepaid cards (Play+)
Electronic wallets (PayPal, Skrill, etc.)
PayNearMe (via 7-Eleven)
Cash at the land-based casino cage
Checks or money orders
Cashing out of CO sportsbooks
Of course, the hope when you put money into your sportsbook account is that you will be getting it (and more) back out. So, online sportsbooks have to offer several methods for withdrawal, too.
Now, in most cases, there are fewer methods for withdrawal than there are for deposits. The simple truth is that not all deposit methods can flow both directions.
Furthermore, some withdrawal methods are only available if you used that method to deposit in the first place. PayPal and Skrill often fall under this restriction, so make sure to investigate withdrawal methods before you deposit.
Generally speaking, most sportsbooks prefer to process withdrawals through either electronic or paper checks. So, if you can receive e-checks, that’s probably going to be the fastest method to withdraw.
Paper checks process and are sent to your mailing address on file. Obviously, this method is slower than many, but it’s mostly a reliable source for getting your money back.
Possible withdrawal methods on online sportsbooks include:
Online bank transfers (similar to online bill pay)
Electronic checks (ACH or VIP Preferred)
Prepaid cards (Play+)
Electronic wallets (PayPal, Skrill, etc.)
Cash at the land-based casino cage
Current sports betting options in CO
Sports betting options are blossoming like spring flowers in Colorado. The state’s population made it a target for almost anyone with a sportsbook, and operators have rushed into the Centennial State since May 2020.
Colorado’s population also means that there is representation from every major league in the Centennial State. Naturally, these teams are based around Denver, but in practice, they represent the entire state of Colorado.
With sports betting in full force, you now have the opportunity to place wagers on all of these teams. Some of these wagers are universal, like moneylines and spreads, but others are unique to each sport. So, here are the local teams that you can now put bets onto, and a quick refresh about the types of bets that you’ll find.
NFL Betting in Colorado
There is a single NFL team that calls Colorado home. The Broncos have an illustrious team history with three Super Bowl wins and a reputation for fielding strong contenders each year.
Denver Broncos: Empower Field at Mile High, 1701 Bryant St, Denver
Betting on NFL games is usually pretty straightforward because the games tend to have plenty of scoring. Thus, bets that involve game outcomes are easy to host and handicap.
NFL games also lend themselves to numerous opportunities for proposition wagering. Even if you set aside the tremendous number of bets that you can place in-game, there are props surrounding the yardages that various players or teams can accrue during the game. You can also make wagers about the timing and method of scores that will occur.
NBA Betting in Colorado
Denver is also home to a single NBA franchise. The Denver Nuggets don’t have quite the illustrious pedigree of their NFL brethren, but the team from the Mile High City is usually in the playoff mix.
Denver Nuggets: Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Cir, Denver
In terms of betting on the NBA, games are similar to NFL games in that no game passes without the scoring of many points. The scoring yields opportunities for almost any kind of sports bet that you’d want to place.
More specifically, NBA betting breaks down for many different grades of totals and proposition wagers. Notably, you can wager on the outcome of individual quarters of play, regardless of whether the Nuggets manage to win.
MLB Betting in Colorado
Major League Baseball fans in Colorado are always fans of the Rockies. The team, which sports one of the better uniform color schemes, has had a reasonably solid run since its introduction as an expansion team in 1993, and would have added a World Series trophy to its resume were it not for running into the Boston Red Sox in 2007.
Betting on baseball games is a bit different than wagering on football or basketball. Because baseball games tend to be lower-scoring affairs, they use a “run line” in place of the typical point spread. The run line always designates the favorite and underdog as 1.5 points apart, and the book adjusts the odds through manipulation of the payout ratio. In many ways, the run line is quite similar to the moneyline bet.
Because baseball games don’t have much scoring, there are some books that will offer the opportunity to wager on a totals bet for the entire day of games. Irrespective of whether the Rockies are playing, you might be able to lay down a bet about whether the offensive output will be explosive for most teams.
NHL Betting in Colorado
Finally, Colorado sports fans have a lone NHL team to call their own. The Colorado Avalanche, also known as the “Avs,” have brought two Stanley Cup wins back home to the Centennial State since moving to the state in 1995. The Avs share their home facility, the Pepsi Center, with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
Colorado Avalanche: Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Cir, Denver
Betting on NHL games is quite similar to betting on MLB games. Like baseball, hockey is a lower-scoring game, so sportsbooks have a 1.5-point puck line as a counterpoint to baseball’s run line. Both types of lines function in the same manner as the other, and vary the payout ratios rather than the amount of the spreads themselves.
You can also wager on Avs’ games according to the numerous proposition wagers that are available on most sportsbooks. Questions about which player or team will be first to score and the exact score that the game will yield are common prompts for betting on the NHL.
With so many options, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, at the risk of going overboard, sports betting is not the only type of wagering on sporting events that you can do in Colorado. There are also numerous options for betting on races in the state.
Betting on horse races in CO
There is but one active horsetrack in the state of Colorado at this time. Arapahoe Park in Aurora has implemented stringent procedures to guard against the spread of COVID-19, but hosts live races on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays each week.
Big events that Arapahoe Park typically hosts include the Mile High Derby and the Mile High Futurity – both quarter horse races with purses in excess of $100,000. The track also hosts the Gold Rush Futurity for thoroughbreds and several graded races for Arabians.
Colorado is also home to 10 off-track betting locations scattered throughout the state. Naturally, one of these locations is at Arapahoe Park. The rest are mostly concentrated in the eastern part of the state. The lone exception is The 8 Track, which calls Grand Junction home. Here are the locations:
The 8 Track – Grand Junction
Arapahoe Park – Aurora
Big D’s OTB at El Bandido Nightclub – Garden City
Celtic on Market – Denver
Elevated Stakes – Colorado Springs
Havana Park – Aurora
Off to the Races – Pueblo
Pick Six Lounge at the Mirage Sports Bar & Grill – Littleton
Post Time at the Playing Field Sports Bar – Colorado Springs
Softball Country – TBA
Sundance Steakhouse & Saloon – Fort Collins
Pick Six Lounge at Fox & Hound – Lone Tree
Bear in mind that you can also bet on horse racing through your computer or smartphone. Sites like TVG are more than happy to offer you the chance to bet on races not just in Colorado, but throughout the US.
Sportsbook locations in Colorado
Up to 33 casinos in Colorado could house brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, so of course there are plenty of sportsbooks that are open for business now, too. Every one of Colorado’s casinos is a potential site for a retail sports betting operation.
That fact helps narrow down the locations for the sportsbooks themselves, however. Since Colorado’s casinos are almost entirely confined to Black Hawk, Century City, and Cripple Creek, the sportsbooks are there, too.
The only places that other sportsbooks might pop up are the two tribal casinos in the western part of the state. However, neither the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio or the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc have any definite plans about a retail book.
So far, these are the only retail sportsbooks that are either open or will open soon in Colorado (according to the state website):
Sportsbook at Ameristar Casino: Open
Colorado Grande – Cripple Creek: Open
Johnny Nolon’s – Cripple Creek: Open
Golden Mardi Gras Casino – Black Hawk: Licensed
Monarch Casino Black Hawk – Black Hawk: Licensed
Saratoga Casino Black Hawk – Black Hawk: Licensed
Unsurprisingly, given the convenience of online sports betting, there are more online sportsbook apps open for business in Colorado right now than there are retail sportsbooks. In total there are nine online sportsbooks in Colorado accepting wagers. These are:
Colorado sports betting laws
Sports betting became legal in Colorado at the conclusion of the November 2019 election. The narrow (51-49) passage of Proposition DD set things in motion to allow every commercial casino in the state to host retail and online sports betting.
By law, Colorado had to launch sports betting on May 1, 2020. Regulators and operators managed to do exactly that, with four online sportsbooks launching on that momentous Friday morning.
As sports betting progresses, the state will continue to work with operators and other stakeholders to refine the rules surrounding the practice. At present, here are the major highlights of Colorado’s sports betting law and rules:
All of the state’s casinos can apply for master licenses to offer sports betting.
Master licenses permit the holder to offer a retail sportsbook and one online sports betting skin.
Pursuant to the retail and online sides of the operation, a master license holder may partner with up to two different operators.
The state will collect 10% of net sports betting proceeds as taxes.
Betting on high school sports and esports is strictly prohibited.
Proposition wagers on collegiate events is forbidden. This restriction extends to live betting.
Mobile registration is allowed.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Commission is the oversight body for sports betting in the state.
How big will the sports betting market be in Colorado?
Original estimates said the state could generate $20 million or more from the 10% tax it will charge legal sports betting operators in the state. That would mean operators posting $200 million a year in sports betting revenue.
However, estimates now say the state will collect between $1.4 million and $1.7 million in sports betting tax revenue in the first year. That’ll go up to $10.4 million in the first fiscal year, which is a more conservative estimate of $100 million in gambling revenue in the first full year with legal sports betting in Colorado.
Background on Colorado sports betting laws
Gaming expansion in Colorado has not fared well in recent years.
In 2014, voters decisively shot down a proposal to expand racetrack casinos. That came a year after lawmakers in the state attempted to craft legislation to legalize online poker; such an effort faced a similar fate as the expanded casinos.
Attitudes appeared to shift following the US Supreme Court’s repeal of PASPA in 2018. Nearly a year later, a bill to legalize sports betting, H 1327, sailed through the Colorado House and the Senate Finance and Appropriations committee.
Still, another hurdle remained before celebrations began. The state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires a public vote on any bill that would raise taxes. As such, the effort to legalize wagering, known as Proposition DD, hit the November 2019 ballot.
Many believed a roaring success was in store. Instead, the public created a nail-biter. After two days of back-and-forth ballot counting, Proposition DD passed with 51.16% of the vote. As a result, regulated sports betting arrived in Colorado by May 2020.
State law limits brick-and-mortar betting to casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. Properties in those towns have mostly secured their master licenses and are authorized to launch land-based sports wagering, online sports betting or both.
Regulated by the Colorado Division of Gaming, sports betting now has net revenue taxed at a 10% rate.
Colorado Sports Betting FAQ
Is online sports betting legal in Colorado?
Yes. Online sportsbooks went live in Colorado on May 1, 2020. The first sportsbooks to launch were BetMGM, BetRivers, FanDuel and DraftKings. Colorado bettors can expect to see over a dozen betting sites by the end of the year.
Where will the retail sportsbooks open?
Up to 33 casinos could apply to operate retail and online sportsbooks. Land-based operations, however, would be limited to the three areas of the state that host casinos:
What's included in Colorado betting laws?
Casinos can apply to operate land-based and online sportsbooks with net revenue taxed at a 10% rate. These funds will go toward the state’s water management plan as well as toward efforts to address problem gambling.
Bettors can wager on professional and college sports, but prop bets for collegiate events will be prohibited.
There aren’t wagering on high school sports or video games in “not sanctioned by a sports governing body as an electronic competition.”
Bettors must be at least 21 years old to bet and within state lines when gambling online.
Do I have to live in Colorado to bet online?
No. Both residents and visitors to Colorado will be able to access its sportsbooks. The only requirements are that you’re of legal age and physically inside the state lines when you bet online.
Can I bet using my iPhone or Android?
Yes, online sports betting is part of the Colorado industry, and operators maintain products that are compatible with Android and iOS devices.
What kind of bets are legal in Colorado?
The bill that legalizes sports betting details the types of bets that will be allowed by regulators. And, for the most part, the list resembles that of nearly every other state:
Prop bets on professional sports only
Can I bet on Colorado sports teams?
As the bill is written, yes. Not only on Colorado’s professional teams but also the state’s colleges.
The list includes:
Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Denver Broncos (NFL)
Denver Nuggets (NBA)
Colorado Rapids (MLS)
University of Colorado
Will CO sportsbooks offer bonuses?
Yes. There is and will be a lot of competition between CO sports betting apps, and a lot of opportunities to grab a welcome bonus. These take several forms:
Free play bonuses: Small amounts (for example $20) simply for registering
Matched first deposit bonuses: Usually a 100% match to your first deposit
Risk Free Bets: Refunds if your first bet is not a winner (Up to $500 or more)
Promos / special offers: It is worth keeping an eye on the “promotions” pages for extra deals