Colorado sports betting launched in May 2020, six months after voters approved a referendum authorizing retail sportsbooks at casinos and statewide mobile sports betting.

Anyone 21 or older can register a Colorado mobile sports betting account from anywhere in the USA but must be located within state lines to place wagers from their desktop or mobile device.

Colorado also offers legal, regulated online horse racing betting and daily fantasy sports sites. Horse racing betting and DFS sites can apply for and receive a license from the state and can accept wagers from customers who are 18 or older.

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Colorado Sports Betting

Colorado legalized sports betting during the November 2019 election when voters approved a proposal to authorize casinos in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek to operate retail sportsbooks and mobile betting platforms.

The CO sports betting law took effect on May 1, 2020, and the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (LGCC) moved quickly to make sure sports betting sites were ready to go live.

The Commission made significant progress in a short amount of time to meet the ambitious launch date. In February 2020, the Commission began issuing licenses and approved regulations to govern sports betting. That April, the Commission approved the state’s catalog of sports wagering events to clear the way for legal sports betting.

As planned, mobile sports betting went live before retail sportsbooks in Colorado. The first mobile sportsbooks in Colorado launched on May 1, and a month later, Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk booked the state’s first in-person wager.

Mobile Sportsbooks in Colorado

Legal online sports betting is now available in Colorado for bettors 21 or older and located within state lines.

Fourteen mobile sportsbooks are live as of today:

Mobile sports betting providers must acquire licenses to offer their services in Colorado. To date, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission has issued licenses to the following mobile sportsbook operators:

  • DraftKings
  • theScore
  • PointsBet
  • FanDuel
  • Penn Sports Interactive
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • SuperBook USA
  • William Hill
  • Betfred
  • ISI Race & Sports
  • Digital Gaming Corp.
  • Wynn Sports Interactive
  • BetAmerica
  • SportsBetting.com (Carousel Group)

Licensed Retail Colorado Sportsbooks

More than 50 operators have applied for in-person and online sports betting licenses to date. That includes a combination of casinos seeking master sports betting licenses and operators seeking permission to manage in-person or online betting on behalf of licensed casinos.

Black Hawk Sportsbooks

Black Hawk is home to fifteen casinos and a handful of retail sportsbooks. Located just to the west of Denver, Black Hawk sportsbooks are the most convenient for sports betting fans from Denver, Boulder, and the whole northern half of the front range, looking for an in-person betting experience.  

Ameristar Casino Sportsbook opened in a temporary location on the second floor of the casino while it puts the finishing touches on a “spectacular space” in the main rotunda is completed. Penn National Gaming operates Ameristar Casino Black Hawk and has a partnership in place with Barstool Sportsbook, which is expected to offer mobile sports betting under the Barstool Sports brand.

The sportsbook is open seven days a week, and includes a bank of self-serve kiosks that are open for business 24/7.

DraftKings Sportsbook at Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk opened in July 2020. Customers 21 or older may stop in to bet on major US professional sports, college sports and international sports.

The Mardi Gras Casino Sportsbook launched at first in a temporary location with eight self-serve betting kiosks, teller windows, and a handful of HDTVs while construction continued on a permanent sportsbook location.

The sportsbook at Saratoga Casino occupies 1400 square feet and is powered by international betting operator Betfred. Inside, customers will find a large video wall, lounge area with comfortable seating and tables, teller windows, and self-serve betting kiosks.

Saratoga also offers statewide mobile betting in partnership with Betfred Sportsbook.

Monarch Casino in Black Hawk operates a retail sportsbook that describes itself as “the only in-house managed sportsbook in the state,” which provides increased flexibility, more personal customer support, and an integrated rewards program that covers in-person and online wagers.

The sportsbook offers some of the best lines in Colorado, such as 8-cent moneylines and 16-cent run lines for baseball. Monarch Casino also offers mobile betting under the BetMonarch brand.

Red Dolly Casino is partnered with Elite Sportsbook, a mobile betting provider based out of Iowa. In mid-2020, Red Dolly launched mobile betting under the Elite Sportsbook brand and installed betting kiosks for in-person visitors.

Cripple Creek Sportsbooks

Cripple Creek houses a handful of sportsbooks that provide the nearest in-person betting experience for fans in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and the state’s southern half.

The sportsbook at Wildwood Casino launched in July 2020 with a large video wall, full bar, food service, two teller windows, and self-serve betting kiosks. Customers can find the sportsbook at Woody’s Sports Bar and Grill.

Additionally, Wildwood Casino operates mobile betting under the BetWildwood brand.

Johnny Nolon’s sportsbook is operated in partnership with ISI Race & Sports and the Carousel Group, a smaller iGaming company established in 2017. In a press release, Carousel Group revealed its plans to offer mobile betting in Colorado in partnership with Johnny Nolon’s under the SportsBetting.com brand.

The sportsbook at Colorado Grande opened in August 2020 and is powered by ISI Race & Sports out of Nevada. ISI has been in business since 1999 and now operates several Colorado sportsbooks. In particular, ISI is noted for offering very competitive betting lines.

Central City Sportsbooks

None of Central City’s casinos have opened sportsbooks yet, but that is set to change soon.

Dostal Alley, Century Casino, the Famous Bonanza, Easy Street Casino, Grand Z Casino, and Johnny Z’s Casino have all been approved for master sports betting licenses.

In a February 2020 meeting, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission issued its first batch of licenses. Additional sports betting licenses have been issued since then.

Other casinos likely to launch retail sportsbooks in the near future include:

  • Billy’s Casino
  • Brass Ass Casino
  • Bronco Billy’s Casino
  • Bill Durham Saloon & Casino
  • Century Casino
  • Century Casino Cripple Creek
  • Century Casinos
  • Christmas Casino & Inn
  • Dostal Alley
  • Double Eagle Hotel & Casino
  • Easy Street Casino
  • Gilpin Casino
  • Golden Gates Casino
  • Golden Gulch Casino
  • Grand Z Casino
  • Isle Casino Black Hawk
  • JP McGill’s Hotel & Casino
  • Johnny Z Casino Operator LLC
  • Lady Luck Black Hawk
  • Midnight Rose
  • Red Dolly Casino
  • The Famous Bonanza Casino
  • The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk
  • Z Casino Black Hawk

Under state law, licensed mobile sportsbooks must partner with land-based operators to offer online betting in CO. Each of the following sports betting providers has confirmed it has such a partnership in place to enter the Colorado market:

  • BetAmerica Sportsbook: Partnership agreement with Full House Resorts will authorize a retail sportsbook to launch at Bronco Billy’s in Cripple Creek along with mobile betting across the state.
  • PointsBet Sportsbook: Partnership agreement in place with Double Eagle Hotel and Casino in Cripple Creek to offer in-person and online wagering.
  • DraftKings: DraftKings is partnered with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, the parent company of the Golden Gates, Golden Gulch, and Mardi Gras casinos. DraftKings now offers statewide mobile betting and operates a retail sportsbook at Mardi Gras Casino.
  • FanDuel: Twin River Worldwide Holdings is also partnered with FanDuel for mobile betting. With three Colorado casinos to its name, Twin River can launch up to three mobile betting apps.
  • William Hill: William Hill US is partnered with Caesars Entertainment to offer retail betting at Isle Casino Black Hawk and Lady Luck Casino Black Hawk in addition to statewide mobile betting.
  • theScore Bet: theScore is partnered with Jacobs Entertainment Inc, the parent company of the Lodge Casino and Gilpin Casino in Black Hawk. Under the agreement, theScore provides mobile betting in Colorado on behalf of Jacobs Entertainment.
  • SuperBook: SuperBook, the famed sportsbook out of Nevada, plans to launch a retail sportsbook and mobile betting in Colorado in partnership with The Lodge Casino in Black Hawk.
  • Circa Sports: Circa Sports is a Vegas-based sports betting operator that manages retail sportsbooks at two Vegas casinos and a mobile app in Nevada. Circa Sports is partnered with Century Casinos Inc, the parent company of Century Casino Cripple Creek and Century Casino Central City.
  • ISI Race & Sports: ISI Race & Sports is a Nevada-based sports betting company that provides turnkey sports betting and racing betting solutions to casinos. ISI is partnered with Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek to manage its sports betting hardware, software, and marketing under the BetWildwood brand. ISI is also partnered with Colorado Grande and Johnny Nolon’s.
  • Bet365: Bet365 is partnered with Century Casinos, Inc., which is the parent company of a Century Casino property in Cripple Creek and another in Central City. The partnership appears to be for mobile betting only.
  • Betsson: Betsson is a Swedish online gaming company that has a favorable reputation among European bettors. In Colorado, Betsson is partnered with Dostal Alley Casino to offer online sports betting in early 2021 pending regulatory approval.
  • SBK Sportsbook: SBK parent company Smarkets is partnered with Full House Resorts to offer mobile betting in Colorado. Full House Resorts operates Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek, but the partnership agreement is specific to online wagering only. SBK launched CO sports betting in June 2020.
  • Sky Ute Sportsbook: USBookmaking out of Las Vegas is partnered with Sky Ute Casino to operate a retail sportsbook and mobile betting. The Sky Ute Sportsbook app is now available for iOS and Android devices.
  • Stadium Technology: Stadium Technology Group and parent company GVC Holdings supply the technology for numerous sports betting operators in the US. In Colorado, Stadium Technology powers BetMonarch, the mobile sportsbook of Monarch Casino Black Hawk.
  • SportsBetting.com: Online gaming operator Carousel Group has a partnership in place with Johnny Nolon’s to operate a retail sportsbook and statewide mobile betting via SportsBetting.com.
  • Elite Sportsbook: Elite Casino Resorts out of Iowa manages an in-house online betting platform for its properties in Iowa. In August 2020, Elite Casino Resorts launched mobile betting in Colorado in partnership with Red Dolly Casino.

How Colorado Legalized Sports Betting

Colorado legalized sports betting by first passing HB19-1327 through the legislature. The governor signed the bill into law, but because it instituted a new tax (on sports betting operators), it had to go to a statewide referendum and be approved by a majority of voters.

The question was added to the November 2019 ballot as Proposition DD and was written as follows:

Shall state taxes be increased by twenty-nine million dollars annually to fund state water projects and commitments and to pay for the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos by authorizing a tax on sports betting of ten percent of net sports betting proceeds, and to impose the tax on persons licensed to conduct sports betting operations?

This measure could not have been worded worse if its goal was to turn voters off to sports betting. Proponents feared many voters would read the words “shall state taxes be increased” and instantly object without reading the rest of the question.

The awkward phrasing of the question was not, in fact, a clever ploy undertaken by anti-gambling types in Colorado. It was worded that way because Colorado’s TABOR Amendment requires all tax increases to be approved by voters and the question phrased a certain way.

The CO sports betting legislation did not actually raise taxes on anyone; it merely legalized sports wagering and established a 10% tax rate. Even so, that was enough to trigger TABOR protocols dealing with voter approval and question phrasing.

Colorado voters ultimately approved sports betting by a narrow margin.

Each existing casino in Colorado can apply for a master license for sports betting. A master license allows each casino to launch an in-person sportsbook as well as one mobile betting app accessible to customers across the state.

Casinos in Colorado may also partner with third-party operators to manage their sportsbooks and betting sites. One casino might partner with DraftKings Sports, another might partner with Rush Street Interactive, and so on.

State law establishes a reasonable 10% tax rate on Colorado sports betting and does not include either of the controversial measures requiring an integrity fee or the use of official data that have been installed in some other states.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission is tasked with regulating the industry, considering licenses, monitoring licensees, and issuing additional regulations as needed.

CO sports betting licenses and fees:

License Fees Description
     
Master License $2,000 Allows a casino to operate in-person and online betting
Sports Betting Operator $1,200 +$10,000 background check deposit Allows a third party to manage a casino’s sportsbook
Internet Sports Betting Operator $1,200 + $10,000 background check deposit Allows a third party to develop and manage a casino’s online and mobile betting platform
Vendor Major $1,200 + $10,000 background check deposit Required for persons or entities who occupy certain key roles in an operation or who provide an operation with products, services, information or assets and/or receive a percentage of gaming revenue
Vendor Minor $350 Required for persons or entities who provide services or act on behalf of operators and who are not required to obtain a Vendor Major license

State law is fairly permissive in terms of what types of wagering are allowed. Colorado law permits betting on pro sports, college sports, esports, and amateur events such as the Olympics. Wagers on high school sports are prohibited.

However, the bill does restrict proposition bets on college games. This means customers are not permitted to wager on how many TDs the current QB for the Buffaloes will throw in his next game.

In April 2020, the Limited Gaming Control Commission published an initial list of events (Excel file) upon which licensed sportsbooks in CO may accept wagers. The list of approved events does not yet include college sports, but the LGCC will be authorizing that later.

In the meantime, licensed CO betting sites may accept wagers on all of the following sports plus many international leagues:

EsportsFantasy Sports (betting on fantasy totals)Aussie Rules
BadmintonBaseballBasketball
BiathlonBowlsBoxing
CricketCyclingDarts
FloorballFootballFutsal
Gaelic GamesGolfHandball
Field HockeyIce HockeyLacrosse
MMAMotorsportsPesäpallo
PoolRowingRugby League
Rugby UnionSnookerSoccer
Beach SoccerSummer / Winter AthleticsSwimming
VolleyballBeach VolleyballWater Polo

Colorado Horse Racing Betting

Horse racing betting is legal in Colorado.

Fans 18 or older can place wagers online through licensed ADWs, in-person at one of 11 off-track betting facilities, and at the state’s single racetrack, Arapahoe Park in Aurora.

The Racing Division of the Department of Revenue oversees horse racing betting and parimutuel wagering in Colorado.

Colorado Horse Racing Betting Sites and Apps

The Racing Division also oversees online horse racing betting in Colorado. The division maintains an active list of licensed advance deposit wagering providers here.

The Racing Division has approved several ADWs to date, and all are regulated and headquartered in the USA. Additionally, wagers placed with licensed horse racing betting sites in Colorado are always paid at full track odds.

Colorado Racetracks

Live horse racing in Colorado consists of a single racetrack, Arapahoe Park in Aurora. Arapahoe Park hosts live racing every weekend from May through August, with simulcast racing available during the live racing season.

Arapahoe Park

26000 East Quincy Avenue
Aurora, CO 80016

OTB Locations

Eleven off-track betting facilities operate across the state. The full list of locations can be found here.

Greyhound Betting

Greyhound racing is not prohibited in Colorado, but there are no active greyhound tracks. Greyhound fans may bet on races through licensed ADWs – with BetAmerica being the most prominent option.

CO Daily Fantasy Sports

Colorado officially legalized daily fantasy sports in 2016 with the passage of HB 16-1404. The bill established a basic registration process for fantasy sports operators and created a variety of consumer protection regulations.

The Division of Gaming is responsible for regulating fantasy sports in Colorado. Its duties include issuing licenses to operators, investigating consumer complaints, ensuring compliance with all DFS regulations, and administering penalties to operators that violate state law.

Under state law, smaller fantasy operators (defined as fantasy sites that serve fewer than 7,500 active Colorado players) must register with the Division of Gaming but are not required to pay a licensing fee. Larger fantasy contest operators (those with 7,500+ active Colorado players) must also apply for a license and are subject to licensing fees.

Colorado DFS law also requires operators to:

  • Hold player funds in an account segregated from operational funds
  • Prevent anyone under the age of 18 from participating
  • Prevent the sharing of confidential information available to fantasy site employees
  • Submit to an annual third-party audit
  • Distinguish and conspicuously identify highly experienced players as such to all other players
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Online Gambling in Colorado

Colorado has never been a strong contender to legalize online gambling. The state’s last effort to legalize online poker was the introduction of a bill in 2013. That bill died before making any real progress and Colorado has seen no major pushes to legalize online gambling since.

The legalization of sports betting in 2019 and the launch of the state’s first online sportsbooks the following year have largely taken the focus off other forms of online gambling in Colorado. However, the revenues generated by online sports betting could potentially prompt lawmakers to take a second look at online gambling in the future.

In the meantime, sports betting, horse racing betting, and daily fantasy sports remain the only forms of legal online gaming in Colorado. State law generally prohibits all gambling that is not offered by an authorized provider.

Colorado Gambling Law

CO Rev Stat § 18-10-102 defines gambling as follows:

…risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device, or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, over which the person taking a risk has no control…”

The law includes exceptions for bona fide contests of skill, speed, endurance or strength that award prizes to participants and social gambling among friends.

The Colorado Division of Gaming states in no uncertain terms that online gambling is prohibited, both for organizers and players.

A statement on the Division of Gaming website reads in part:

Internet gambling is illegal under state and federal laws. Colorado law prohibits the transmission or reception of gambling information by any means. . . .

Many online sites advertise they are “legal” and “licensed” forms of wagering. They may be legal or licensed where the bets are received, but it remains illegal to place bets from Colorado with these businesses.

In addition, the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission prohibits persons and businesses licensed in the casino industry in Colorado from having any involvement with internet gaming sites that can be accessed by Colorado residents.

1948

Horse Racing

Parimutuel wagering is legalized in Colorado. The state’s first racetrack, Centennial Race Track opened in 1950.

1948
1983

Lottery

Colorado’s lottery launches with instant win tickets. Draw games would commence later that year.

1983
1991

Casinos

Colorado voters authorize casino gambling through a referendum.

1991
2016

DFS

Colorado was among the first states in the nation to legalize daily fantasy sports.

2016
2019

Sports Betting

Colorado voters narrowly approved the expansion of gaming to include retail and online sports betting in a 2019 referendum.

2019