On May 1, 2020, the U.S. sports betting market welcomed a major new player. Colorado online gambling launched with retail and online sports betting. When this new industry fully develops Colorado will host one of the most vibrant sports betting scenes in the U.S.
The Centennial State permitted legal casino gambling starting in 1991. Retail casinos legally operate in the towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek.
Just about all the biggest brands in legal sports betting are setting up shop in Colorado. They will partner with the state’s retail casinos as Colorado’s gaming economy is set for a massive expansion.
Colorado Online Gambling: An Overview
|Game Type||Colorado Gaming Options|
|Online casinos||Online casinos not legalized in Colorado
|Online sports betting||Legalized in November 2019; official launch date of May 1, 2020|
|Online horse race betting||Legal and available on TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires mobile apps|
|Online lottery||Not available in Colorado|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||Formally legalized in Colorado in 2016|
|Online poker||Online poker not legalized in Colorado|
|Sweepstakes casinos||Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots available to Colorado players|
|Sweepstakes poker sites||Global Poker open to Colorado players|
Colorado’s Mobile Sportsbooks
The passage of Proposition DD makes Colorado the latest U.S. state to embrace sports betting after the fall of PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act). PASPA was a federal mandate that outlawed sports wagering. In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the act.
With PASPA overruled, a new era of legal sports betting dawned in the U.S. Colorado is set to be a significant player.
Proposition DD legalizes both retail and online sports betting in Colorado. The May 1, 2020 launch date allows the state’s land-based casinos to operate on-property sports betting for the first time in the 30-year history of Colorado’s casino industry.
The legislation also allows Colorado casinos to offer online sports betting. These mobile sports wagering platforms likely will produce most of the revenue realized by the state’s sport betting industry as a whole.
Access To Sportsbooks Statewide
Colorado limits land-based commercial casinos to the towns of Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City, apart from a pair of tribal casinos in the southwest part of the state. Players can access mobile sports betting apps offered by these casinos, however, from anywhere within state borders.
Mobile apps give bettors superior ease of access to the entire lineup of online sports betting platforms available in the state. Deposits and withdrawals, line shopping, and research are all far more convenient on mobile wagering sites, versus their land-based counterparts.
Colorado’s mobile betting platforms use geolocation software to determine a user’s location. This gives players the ability to wager from anywhere in the state. It also offers bettors from surrounding states the opportunity to drive into Colorado and place a sports bet with ease.
Anticipated Success Of Mobile Sports Betting
Colorado’s land-based casinos will operate with strategic technology partners for their online sports betting platforms. This new market has attracted just about all of the biggest brands in the sports betting industry.
FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook are two of the industry’s leaders in U.S. mobile sports betting. They will operate two of what could be 20 or more different apps that will eventually be available to Colorado bettors.
Sports betting powerhouse William Hill, along with Fox Bet (owned by The Stars Group), PointsBet, BetFred, Circa Sports, and Wynn Sports have all been granted licenses to operate in Colorado.
The presence of these major brands will make Colorado a key player in the U.S. sports betting market.
Colorado’s Online Gambling Options
Online casinos are not legalized in Colorado, but there have been past efforts by state casinos to at least introduce the possibility.
The Colorado Gaming Association, a collaboration of the state’s retail casinos, drafted a potential internet gaming bill in 2012. That bill never made a serious run at becoming law. No other online casino or poker bills have been produced by any state gaming interest since.
Colorado is home to a live casino industry with more than 30 properties. This includes six live poker rooms. With a healthy backbone of live casino gaming, Colorado could one day revisit the discussion about legal, state-regulated online casinos and poker.
Colorado Online Sports Betting
Colorado voters legalized live and mobile sports betting in November 2019. The passage of Proposition DD set the groundwork for a potentially massive sports betting industry in the state.
Online sports wagering launched in Colorado on May 1, 2020. When this new market reaches its full potential, Colorado will host a number of mobile betting options that will rival any U.S. state.
Just about all of the biggest names in the sports betting industry are partnering with Colorado casinos to offer mobile sports wagering. Those names include FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, Fox Bet, Barstool Sports, William Hill, BetFred, PointsBet, and many others.
The number of different online sportsbooks available to Colorado bettors could go as high as 20 when all is said and done.
Retail sportsbooks are also coming to state casinos. By law, Colorado’s commercial casinos are confined to the towns of Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City. Colorado’s expansion into legal sports betting is heavily focused on the mobile market but retail sportsbooks are planned.
For more information, see our comprehensive Guide To Colorado Online Sports Betting.
Online Horse Racing
Like most other states, online horse race betting is legal in Colorado. Legal mobile horse race betting, in general, has been around longer than any other form of online gambling in the U.S.
The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) permits online horse race betting. It allows players to use mobile horse race betting apps like TVG, BetAmerica, and Twin Spires to bet on horse races throughout the country.
These three mobile horse race betting apps are available to Colorado bettors, as well as most of the U.S. Colorado is also home to 12 off-track betting (OTB) venues and one operating live horse racetrack, Arapahoe Park.
The Colorado Lottery mobile app does not have an option to purchase lottery tickets directly. The app provides information like draw game winning numbers, geolocation directions to the nearest lottery retailer, and a way to scan instant win and draw tickets to see if they are winners.
There are currently no plans in place to establish an online purchase feature on the app. The recent gaming expansion in the state, however, suggests that a future online lottery could someday be a reality.
In-state drawings include Colorado Lotto Plus, which is a bi-weekly drawing with seven-figure jackpots. Colorado also participates in multi-state lotteries like MegaMillions and Powerball.
Fantasy Sports In Colorado
Colorado was among the first states to regulate daily fantasy sports (DFS). Former Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1404 into law on June 10, 2016. The law made Colorado the fifth state to pass legislation to legalize DFS.
Colorado’s DFS laws have a few unique provisions. DFS operators with less than 7,500 users don’t need to apply for a license. They still must register with the state.
Industry leaders FanDuel and DraftKings far surpass that number of users in Colorado. The state, therefore, required them to apply for licenses through the Division of Professions and Occupations.
Colorado is one of 21 states to regulate DFS, although FanDuel, DraftKings, and other DFS operators operate in numerous other states without regulation laws in place.
Colorado Sweepstakes Casinos
With no state-regulated online casinos on the horizon in Colorado, players in the Centennial State do have access to sweepstakes casino sites like Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots.
Sweepstakes casinos offer a variety of traditional casino games. This includes slots, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and video poker. In order to operate legally, the games at these sites play as mini-sweepstakes games.
At Chumba Casino, “Gold Coins” are available for purchase. With every purchase of Gold Coins, the buyer also gets an amount of “Sweeps Coins,” which can be redeemed for real money. The Gold Coins can only be used in play money games.
Players use Sweeps Coins (SC) for Sweeps Coins games, which are separate from the real money games. SC 1 is the equivalent of $1 USD.
VGW Malta Limited operates Chumba Casino and sister site Global Poker, both of which are available to players in most states.
Colorado Sweepstakes Poker
Global Poker is an online poker room that operates with the same sweepstakes model as its sister site Chumba Casino. Global Poker is available to players in most states. It is by far the biggest, highest-traffic sweepstakes poker room.
The Gold Coins/Sweeps Coins purchase model from Chumba Casino is used on Global Poker too. For example, a $10 Gold Coins package is good for 50,000 Gold Coins for play money games, and the buyer also gets SC 9 as a gift.
That SC 9 can be used to play the Sweeps Coin poker games on the site. Global Poker offers these Sweeps Coins games in traditional cash game and tournament format, at a variety of stakes.
Players can also look for offers to get a small amount of SC for free yo get started on Global Poker.
Timeline For Gambling Regulation In Colorado
Here are some of the key dates in the history of Colorado gambling:
- 1948 – The state legalized Pari-mutuel horse race and greyhound race betting. The Colorado Racing Commission is established to oversee the industry. The first race took place in 1949. The Colorado Racing Commission, along with the later established Division of Racing Events (1983), are the governing bodies that regulate Colorado’s horse racing industry to this day.
- 1983 – The Colorado Lottery started selling instant win tickets in January. The lottery added drawing games later in the year.
- 1990 – Casino gambling legalized when Colorado residents vote Initiative 4 into law. Initiative 4 is known as the Colorado Limited Gaming Initiative. The constitutional amendment passes with more than 57 percent of votes. The initiative allowed retail casinos to operate from the towns of Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City. The language of the original law allowed for maximum bets of $5. The casinos could only operate slot machines, blackjack, and poker.
- 1991 – Senate Bill 91-99 is signed into law. The law allows for interstate simulcasting of horse racing (the predecessor to mobile horse race betting apps), as well as off-track betting (OTB) parlors.
- 2008 – The citizens of Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City passed Amendment 50. The Amendment allowed the cities’ casinos to raise the maximum bet to $100, add more games, and extend hours to 24-hour-a-day operations.
- 2019 – Colorado voters approve Proposition DD to legalize sports betting in the state. The bill permitted the state’s casinos to add retail sportsbooks on the property, as well as to offer online sports betting. Land-based casinos are permitted to partner with existing technology brands to develop online sports betting platforms.
- 2020 – Legal sports betting launched on May 1, 2020.
History Of Colorado Online Gambling
State voters passed Proposition DD on November 5, 2019. The law legalized retail and mobile sports betting. This event set Colorado on a path to become a force in the U.S. sports betting market.
Both land-based and online sports betting in Colorado launched on May 1, 2020. State casinos went right to work after Proposition DD passed. They applied for sports betting licenses through the Colorado Division of Gaming.
Arrival Of Top Brands In Colorado
Colorado’s new sports betting laws allow for casinos to collaborate with strategic technology partners. With the Centennial State set to become a major sports betting hub, the industry’s top brands are coming to Colorado.
Those brands include FanDuel SportsBook, DraftKings Sportsbook, PointsBet US, William Hill, and Fox Bet, among several others. When Colorado’s mobile sports betting platforms launch, players will have access and be able to place bets from anywhere in the state.
Colorado’s population of nearly six million, as well as its status as a major sports city in the U.S., make the state a prime market for sports betting.
All four major U.S. sports leagues have teams located in Denver, as the Colorado Rockies (MLB), Denver Broncos (NFL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), and Colorado Avalanche (NHL) all call Colorado home.
Colorado’s expansion into sports betting is set to give a major boost to the local casino industry, and the overall state economy as well.
The Future Of Gaming In Colorado
Proposition DD does not include legislation to bring online casino gambling or poker to the state, but that could change in the future.
Colorado’s casino industry attempted to introduce an online poker bill in the past. In 2012, the Colorado Gaming Association (an association of state casinos) attempted to send an online gaming bill to state legislators for consideration. The bill never went to vote.
Colorado’s Live Gaming Market
History Of Live Gambling In Colorado
Pari-mutuel horse and greyhound race betting were the first forms of legal gambling approved in Colorado. Both went live in the state in 1949. The Colorado Lottery began in 1983.
The modern era of gambling in Colorado began in earnest with the 1990 passage of Initiative 4. Known as the Colorado Limited Gaming Initiative, this bill amended the state constitution to allow casino gambling in the mountain towns of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk.
The original language of Initiative 4 only allowed casinos to offer blackjack, poker, and slots to be offered. The law limited maximum bets to only $5. Amendment 50, passed in 2008, marked a big step in the evolution of Colorado’s casino industry. The Amendment raised max bets to $100. The casinos could also start to offer craps and roulette on casino floors.
Future Growth Of Colorado Gaming
As of 2020, more than 30 commercial casinos are located in the three mountain towns.
Further growth is to come for these properties, as sports betting was legalized in Colorado with the passage of Proposition DD in November 2019. The bill allows for Colorado casinos to operate retail sportsbooks on property, as well as online sports betting platforms.
Facts On Colorado Gambling
|Is lottery legal in Colorado?||Yes; the Colorado Lottery started operations in 1983. Colorado is also a participant in national lotteries like MegaMillions and Powerball.|
|Does Colorado have casinos?||Yes; Colorado hosts more than 30 commercial casinos, all of which are located in Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk. Two tribal casinos also operate in the state.|
|Does Colorado have racetracks?||Yes; Colorado operates one horse racetrack, Arapahoe Park Horse Track|
|Where else can I gamble in Colorado?||Online sports betting is legal and launched on May 1, 2020. Colorado’s mobile sports betting platforms will allow players to bet from anywhere within the state.|
|What is the minimum gambling age?||21 (18 for lottery)|
|Who regulates gambling?||The Colorado Division of Gaming (CDG) and Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC)|
Colorado Live Casinos At A Glance
The Centennial State is home to more than 30 casinos. Aside from a pair of tribal casinos, all Colorado casinos are required by law to operate from within the mountain towns of Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City.
These three locales all have origins as gold-mining towns from the 1800s. They were on the verge of becoming ghost towns by the late 20th century.
State voters approved the Colorado Limited Gaming Initiative in 1990, with the bill signed into law in 1991. That bill brought casino gambling to the three towns. It revitalized those areas and reinvented them as a hub for live casino gaming in the state.
Colorado Casino Locations
|Ameristar Casino||Black Hawk|
|Bull Durham Saloon and Casino||Black Hawk|
|Bullpen Casino||Black Hawk|
|Bullwhackers Casino||Black Hawk|
|Canyon Casino & The Grand Plateau||Black Hawk|
|Colorado Central Station Casino||Black Hawk|
|Dan Cooper’s Eureka! Casino||Black Hawk|
|The Gilpin Casino||Black Hawk|
|Golden Gates Casino||Black Hawk|
|Golden Gulch Casino||Black Hawk|
|Mardi Gras Casino||Black Hawk|
|Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel||Black Hawk|
|The Lodge Casino||Black Hawk|
|Red Dolly Casino||Black Hawk|
|Wild Card Saloon & Casino||Black Hawk|
|Monarch Casino Resort Spa||Black Hawk|
|Saratoga Casino||Black Hawk|
|Silver Hawk Casino||Black Hawk|
|Black Diamond Casino||Cripple Creek
|Brass Ass Casino||Cripple Creek
|Bronco Billy’s Casino||Cripple Creek
|Colorado Grande Casino||Cripple Creek
|Creeker’s Gaming Hall||Cripple Creek
|Double Eagle Hotel & Casino||Cripple Creek
|Gold Creek Casino||Cripple Creek
|McGills Hotel & Casino||Cripple Creek
|Johnny Nolon’s Casino||Cripple Creek
|Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino||Cripple Creek
|Uncle Sam’s Casino||Cripple Creek
|Womack’s Casino & Hotel||Cripple Creek
|Century Casino & Hotel||Central City|
|Doc Holliday Casino||Central City|
|Dostal Alley Casino & Microbrewery||Central City|
|Easy Street Casino||Central City|
|Famous Bonanza||Central City|
|Grand Z Casino Hotel||Central City|
|Sky Ute Resort||Ignacio|
|Ute Mountain Casino & Hotel||Towaoc|
Black Hawk and Central City are within two miles of each other. Both towns are about 40 miles west of Denver. Cripple Creek lies about 110 miles south of Denver. Both of Colorado’s tribal casinos are in the southwest part of the state.
Success Of Colorado’s Casinos
The state’s first full year of casino operations (1992) saw more than $180 million in adjusted gross proceeds (AGP). Revenue grew in each of the next 10 years. In 2002, Colorado’s casinos brought in more than $719 million. That’s nearly a 300 percent growth in that 10-year span.
Since 2002, the total AGP for state casinos has remained steady. The two biggest revenue-earning years in the history of Colorado’s casino industry occurred in 2017 ($828 million) and 2018 ($838 million).
By law, only the towns of Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City can host commercial casinos. As of 2020 those casinos, along with a pair of tribal casinos in southwest Colorado, bring the total number of state casinos to 33.
Until 2008, casinos in the three towns only offered slots, poker, and blackjack under the law. Maximum bets were limited to $5 and casinos had to close from 2 am to 8 am daily.
In 2008, voters from the three mountain towns passed Amendment 50, which raised the max bet to $100. The Amendment also added craps and roulette to the casino floor and allowed for 24 hour-a-day operations.
Other Gambling Offerings In Colorado
The Colorado Lottery was one of the first forms of legal gambling available in the state. The lottery started with scratch-off instant win games in January 1983. The Colorado Lottery expanded to include drawing games in April of the same year.
Colorado is also a part of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). The state started to offer purchase options for Powerball in 2001 and MegaMillions in 2010.
The state overhauled the in-state Lotto drawing game in 2019. The newly branded Colorado Lotto Plus raised the ticket price to $2, while also improving game odds and the number of ways to win.
Proceeds from the Colorado Lottery go to the state’s public parks, recreation, and outdoor interests, as well as the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) fund. The lottery has directed more than $3.4 billion in revenue to these causes since its inception.
Proposition DD doesn’t include the legalization of online lottery, which various other states legalized.
The Colorado Lottery offers a mobile app, with up-to-date information on upcoming drawings and winning numbers. The app includes a feature for scanning tickets to see if they are winners. It also includes geolocation software to locate nearby lottery retailers.
Colorado is home to one major horse racetrack, Arapahoe Park in Aurora. Pari-mutuel betting is the oldest form of legalized gambling in the state. It’s been legal since 1949.
At least 12 off-track betting (OTB) facilities operate in the state. Major online horse race betting apps like TVG, BetAmerica, and Twin Spires permit betting on both domestic and international horse races.
More Resources On Colorado Gambling
Colorado.com Casinos & Gaming
A History of Gambling in Colorado
Colorado Division of Gaming
Colorado.gov Sports Betting Page
History of Horse Race Betting in Colorado
Colorado Online Gambling FAQ
What is the legal minimum gambling age in Colorado?
To gamble inside a casino, place a bet on a mobile sports betting app, or place any kind of horse racing bet, players must be at least 21 years old. The minimum age to purchase lottery tickets in 18.
People under the age of 21 can go inside a Colorado casino. They are not permitted to gamble, drink alcohol, loiter on the casino floor, or interact with casino gaming operations in any way.
Is casino gambling legal in Colorado?
Yes. Colorado legalized casino gambling in 1991. By law, the Colorado government limits legal commercial casino operations to the mountain towns of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk.
The only exceptions to this law are a pair of tribal casinos in the southwest part of the state. Outside of the tribal casinos in Ignacio and Towaoc, for a land-based casino to be legal in Colorado, it must operate from within one of the three approved mountain towns.
Is online gambling legal in Colorado?
Yes, in some forms. The state legalized online sports betting with the passage of Proposition DD in November 2019. The state’s first legal, regulated online sports betting platforms launched on May 1, 2020.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission regulations online sportsbooks that operate in partnership with retail casinos. Players age 21 and over can wager on online sportsbooks if they are located within the state’s borders.
TVG, BetAmerica, and Twin Spires offer online horse race betting on mobile apps.
What is the tax rate on gambling winnings in Colorado?
In general, the IRS levies a federal tax on gambling winnings at 25 percent for wins of $5,000 or more. The casinos provide players with the proper forms needed to report to the IRS in cases of wins of this size.
Colorado’s state tax is 4.63 percent. For wins less than $5,000, it is the responsibility of the player to report gambling winnings.
Are casino games rigged?
No. The Colorado Division of Gaming and Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) regulate Colorado’s live casinos.
These are government agencies that oversee Colorado’s gaming industry. This ensures the state’s casinos are bound by law to offer fair, regulated games.
All table games operate exactly as presented and are not rigged. Slot machines in Colorado must pay out 80 to 100 percent over the life of a machine, by law.
How old do I need to be to bet on Colorado’s mobile wagering apps?
The minimum age for sports betting in Colorado is 21. This applies to both online and retail sportsbooks. You cannot register for an account, place bets, deposit, or withdraw unless you’re 21 or over.
The same state gambling laws that apply at a land-based casino apply to the state’s regulated, legal online sports betting platforms as well.
How can I deposit and withdraw on Colorado’s mobile sports betting apps?
Colorado’s online sports betting platforms will likely use the same methods for deposits and withdrawals as seen in other states with legal online sportsbooks.
These methods include ACH/eCheck, prepaid debit card, bank-issued credit/debit cards, PayPal, eWallet, and wire transfer. It also includes deposit/withdrawal at the casino cage of the land-based casino that operates an online sportsbook.
Who regulates Colorado’s online sportsbooks?
The Colorado Division of Gaming (CDG) and the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC). These government agencies oversee Colorado’s casino industry.
These state agencies regulate mobile sports betting sites under their jurisdiction. The agencies award licenses to operate to all legal online sportsbooks.
Any online gambling site not approved and licensed by the CDG and CLGCC are operating illegally.
Is online sports betting safe?
Yes. The CDG and CLGCC regulate all of Colorado’s legal online sportsbooks. Because of this, bets on a state-regulated online sportsbook come with the same level of safety as they would at a legal retail casino.
Colorado’s state-regulated online sportsbooks will all carry a seal of approval from one or both of these agencies.
Who owns and operates Colorado’s mobile betting sites?
Land-based casinos, in collaboration with strategic technology partners. The state’s retail casinos, which are permitted to partner with technology companies, will offer all of the state’s legal online sports betting sites.
For example, FanDuel Sportsbook will operate in Colorado in partnership with the Golden Gulch Casino. Likewise, Fox Bet partnered with Lady Luck Black Hawk in Colorado.