Colorado is an interesting area of the United States. Known mainly for being a mountainous region, home to some of the best ski hills in the country, the state is also a hotbed of gambling activity.
The choice by the state to legislate and regulate the sale and use of cannabis a few years back was an early sign that they may also have a progressive view on gambling. Let’s review all forms of gambling and how each is presented in Colorado.
Sports Betting in Colorado
Given how many professional and college sports teams are based in Colorado, it is easy to see that the state is full of sports fans. Add in all the outdoor sports that are available, and it certainly seemed that Colorado would be an early adopter of sports betting regulations when they were allowed to consider them.
However, even though PASPA was repealed in May 2018, it took all the way into 2019 before significant discussion on the topic was initiated. All told, it was a very contested issue and was finally put to a vote by the public in the fall of 2019. That vote was far closer than anyone could have imagined, and in early November, it was announced that sports betting would be legalized with a margin of less than 3%.
Regardless of how close the vote was, the rush is now on to complete a set of regulations and a licensing process that will allow operators to start taking wagers as soon as possible. Early indications are that sports betting will finally be operational by May 1, 2020.
In early December 2019, the state invited experts from all areas of the business to attend meetings on the subject of these new regulations, and the list of attendees included large operators, lawyers, and the sports leagues themselves. All these groups will be trying to ensure that they get a fair shake. However Colorado decided to set up its regulations.
Online Sports Betting
The good news for Colorado residents when reading through the new legislation is that while operators are not allowed to go live until May 1, 2020, they will be awarded one digital license each. This means that there could be as many as 30 different options for online sports betting in the state. With this kind of competition, potential players should find a very player-centric environment full of loyalty and promotional plans designed to make each site attractive in their own way.
Until the launch of these sites, Colorado sports bettors can still choose to bet with an offshore site. While these sites come with a risk of fraud or sudden closure, that hasn’t stopped Coloradans from gambling with companies based in countries like Costa Rica and Curacao for years. These companies have no intention of going out of business in the face of new regulated sites, but we expect that players will gravitate to the safer options available to them.
Horse Betting in Colorado
With the elevation causing some breathing issues for human athletes, it is interesting to note that there is, in fact, one horse racing facility in the state. There used to be a couple of greyhound tracks as well, but those have long since shut down. That doesn’t mean that people have stopped betting on the outcomes of races – in fact, there are many off-track betting facilities open to residents of the state. Here is an assortment of the properties that allow pari-mutuel betting:
- Off to the Races in Pueblo
- Bank 8 Billiards in Grand Junction
- Post Time at the Playing Field Sports Bar – Colorado Springs
- Fort Collins – Sundance Steakhouse & Saloon
- Colorado Springs – Elevated Stakes at Union Station
- Celtic on Market
- Softball Country
- Havana Park
Online Horse Betting
As for online horse betting, Coloradans are allowed to bet at any of the sites that are offered to them online. None of the local tracks or OTBs have a license for online betting, so this means using companies like Churchill downs (Twinspires) or TVG for betting purposes. When the new sports betting legislation is introduced, no doubt the horse racing community will weigh in to ensure they are taken care of as well.
Casino Gambling in Colorado
With Colorado being one of the main areas of the gold rush in the 1800s, the state was booming economically. However, when that era died, so did some of the smaller towns in the region. A couple of towns essentially shut their doors, while others were doing everything they could to survive.
One of these towns, Cripple Creek, decided to turn to gambling to help revitalize the area, and in 1991 approved the building of casinos. Since then, the small town has become a bit of a gambling hotbed, and today there are 10 casinos offering slots, table games, and other electronic gambling machines.
There are also a few other towns that have gambling halls (these are not the Mirage by any stretch), giving Colorado residents almost two dozen options that are available to them. There are also two tribal casinos on native land that are open to the public.
Online Casinos in Colorado
With all the news about sports betting being so positive around the country, the narrow margin of passing of the sports betting bill in Colorado has to give no comfort to those who are keen to see other forms of online gambling introduced into the market. Perhaps the climate will be more accommodating after the sportsbooks launch, but in the meantime anyone looking to play online slots or Baccarat is forced to search through the hundreds of unregulated sites open to players in the U.S. They will find it very difficult to move money to and from these sites which in time will simply dissuade them from even trying, focusing more on online sports betting and reserving casino play to entering one of the many land-based properties in the state.
Lottery in Colorado
The lottery has been around in Colorado in its current form (it was around in the Gold Rush days but was disbanded back then) since 1983. Like all the other lotteries in the United States, lottery games are managed on the state level, and proceeds from lottery profits are put back into the system to assist with education and other causes. The state also participates in the joint jackpots such as Mega Millions and Powerball, and they also offer loads of their own games including dozens of different scratch tickets ranging in price from one dollar to 50 dollars.
At this time, there is no online lottery game to be accessed by residents of Colorado, and no plans to expand the lottery outside of retail sales.
Is Sports betting legal in Colorado?
Finally we can tell residents of Colorado that, in fact, sports betting is legal in that state! A vote in November 2019 made sports betting legal, and once all the regulations are written and the license applications are accepted, gamblers in that state will have a significant number of options to choose from.
When will sports betting be legal in Colorado?
Now that the sports betting bill has been passed, the work has begun to write the regulations for anyone looking to acquire a license and operate in the state. What we know for sure is that no sportsbook will go live before May 1, 2020, but with the potential of over 30 operators, there will likely be many launching through the summer and in advance of the 202 NFL season.
What is the best Sportsbook in Colorado?
For the time being, we cannot recommend any legal sportsbooks in Colorado as we are not yet sure which players will be in the market. However, it is expected that all the big operators from other states like Fanduel, Draft Kings, Points Bet, and William Hill will be launching operations. Once the sites are active, we will be able to provide full reviews of every legal sportsbook in Colorado so that you can make your pick of what company works best for your bankroll and gambling needs.