Colorado Online Sports Betting and Gambling Laws
Gambling in Colorado is diverse and the state is one-of-only 5 states to offer six major types of gambling (charitable, horse racing, lotteries, commercial casinos, tribal casinos and daily fantasy sports, i.e. DFS).
However, Colorado Gambling Laws took almost 170 years to fully legalize casinos, and online casinos in Colorado are still fictional for-the-time-being.
Please see the chart below for the current legal ‘state-of-play’ on gambling online, sports betting in Colorado, and other forms of gambling.
|Gambling Type||Legal Land-Based||Legal Online|
|Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)||N/A||Yes|
Colorado Gambling Tax Rate
The gambling tax rate in the state of Colorado is 4 %.
Large gambling wins over $1200 may be subject to Federal Taxes.
Colorado Gambling Age
Sports Betting Laws in Colorado
Despite the state’s relatively open-minded approach to most forms of gambling, Colorado’s sports betting laws are practically non-existent. Far from being a deterrent to establishing sports betting online and land-based in Colorado, the lack of legislation before the Colorado State Legislature could very well be a blessing in disguise.
In a contrary development to most American sports betting laws, the Colorado State Attorney-General Cynthia Coffman announced in August 2018 ‘legalizing sports betting would not require an amendment to the state constitution’. It is still early days, however, if Coffman is correct, Colorado voters may get a free-vote opportunity on the topic by way of a state referendum.
It’s clearly apparent that an appetite for sports gaming exists in Colorado, after the adoption of DFS laws in 2016. Regardless of the State Attorney-General’s comments, state legislators are already advocating for Colorado sports betting, and from their point-of-view, a legislative push for sports betting and online casino laws in Colorado appears likely. The action will not start until 2019 at the next sitting of the State House, however, expect Colorado sports betting to become a hot topic for impending discussion.
Sports Betting in Colorado
The State Attorney-General’s comments assist in establishing the required landscape for sports wagering to be considered in 2019. However, broad-sweeping adoptions of different forms of gambling in Colorado historically struggle on the first legislative push, and the legalization of sports betting could face industry opposition from the remote area casinos.
Remote casinos obviously want exclusivity to Colorado sports betting, which also could limit or potentially delay the expansion of mobile and online sports betting in the state.
Sports Betting Online
Sports Betting Online is currently unavailable in Colorado. Online gambling laws and online casino laws may be required to be debated by the State’s lawmakers once sports betting is permitted and how/where those wagers can be placed.
Like many other states, sports betting may well be offered first in Colorado’s land-based casinos before being offered online.
In good news, all online players over the age of 18 in Colorado currently have access to online Horse Racing Betting and DFS sites that are available to accept online players from the state of Colorado.
Casinos in Colorado
The State of Colorado has a hybrid mix of Tribal & Commercial Casinos. After legalization in 1991, the number of casinos (both Commercial and Native American) Colorado has snowballed to almost 40. At these Colorado casinos, you’ll find more than 14,300 slots and gaming machines and over 220 table games.
Colorado Land-based Casinos
From larger casino resorts, to tribal casinos and smaller ‘boutique’ casinos, the range of casinos in Colorado is vast.
The popularity of Colorado’s Casino gambling has soared since it’s legalization in 1991 and it’s not only residents of Colorado that frequent the state’s casinos. The casinos are also a major hot-spot for tourists, especially those who come to ski the majestic slopes of the Rockies. Colorado’s Casino business is significantly increased by those who visit on skiing and hiking vacations in the Mile-High-State.
As a result, many smaller Colorado gambling casinos are located throughout the state, contributing to a large assortment of slot machines and casino table games. An ever-increasing number of tourists looking to avoid the crowds of the larger casinos are discovering that the amenities the smaller Colorado casinos are excellent and surprising options.
Colorado Online Casinos
Whilst there are no specific online casino laws, gambling online in Colorado is assumed to be banned under the broad definition of ‘gambling’ in the State that outlines that specific gambling-types require to be licensed by the State.
Consequently, our advice to Colorado residents or visitors is simple: Obey all implicit guidelines that casinos online are illegal for the time being, and avoid using online casinos (US-based or Offshore) within Colorado state limits.
Players looking for legal online betting options, Daily Fantasy Sports and online Horse Racing Betting sites are all open to accept online players from within the state. (Please note, Geolocators are used to determine if your mobile device or PC are physically located within Colorado).
Horse Racing Betting in Colorado
Horse Racing Betting is legal (both on course/track side and online) for all residents of the state of Colorado. Federal laws allow each state to determine the legality of horse racing betting and most states allow their residents to wager on horse races both Track side, Off Track Betting and online. Many of the largest horse betting websites across the United States have a presence in the state of Colorado, given the Mile-High-State’s history with the development of horse racing and horse racing betting across the United States.
Track Side: Colorado currently has one live horse racetrack facility that runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for 13 consecutive weekends between May and August. No live greyhound racing currently runs in Colorado.
Off Track Betting (OTB): Off track betting and simulcasts are offered at 10 OTB locations across the state of Colorado, during the track racing off-season (i.e. September – April). Wagering on races in Colorado and most major racing locations worldwide are all available.
Online Betting on Horse Racing: All major U.S. online horse racing betting sites accept customers from the state of Colorado. The major online horse racing betting sites headquartered in the United States all hold licenses to offer real money bets on horses and greyhounds for Colorado residents and visitors to the state.
Colorado’s Daily Fantasy Sports Laws
U.S. Federal legislation has found Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) to be exempt from Federal jurisdiction on gambling as DFS has been legally assessed at the Federal level to be considered a contest of skill, not a gambling game of chance.
At the Colorado State Level, on June 10, 2016, the Governor of Colorado signed legislation to specifically permit DFS contests in the state. Fantasy contests involving college sports are not allowed and other state provisions on DFS include;
- All sites be licensed
- DFS sites only accept customers over the age of 18
- DFS site employees are ineligible to play in Colorado
- Must be subject to independent audits and take steps to prevent problem gambling occurring and offer advice and assistance if/when it does occur.
All of the major DFS sites operate and to hold real money contests in the state of Colorado.
How DFS Contests Work
Most people across the United States have heard of DFS. However, being honest, many have no idea what DFS really is, or how it works (outside of the millions across the country who take part in DFS leagues). What began in the early 1990’s as a fun game played among friends, is now a multi-billion-dollar business for players and DFS companies alike.
Okay, but how does DFS work? DFS players generally compete against others by establishing a team of professional athletes from a particular league or competition (NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL etc.) while remaining under a salary cap, and earn points based on the actual statistical performance of the players in real-world sports matches.
Daily fantasy sports are an interesting variant of traditional fantasy sports that are conducted over short-term periods, such as a week or single day of competition, as opposed to those that are played across an entire season (season-long DFS events are also played for big money prizes).
Daily fantasy sports are typically structured in the form of paid competitions typically referred to as a “contest”; and the winners usually receive a share of a pre-determined pot funded by their entry fees. DFS aficionados join public leagues hosted by web sites and compete against unknown strangers for big weekly prize purses up to $1 million per pro sports league.
Winning DFS players are usually excellent ‘budget balancers’ generating the best value for money out of their chosen players. The best of all DFS teams usually have an absence of superstars and a plethora of bargain-basement consistent performing journeymen (Fans of the hit movie ‘Moneyball’ know the concept well).
Major U.S. sporting leagues all have a minimum of at least one or more associated DFS league running throughout the regular season and play-offs.
Poker Laws in Colorado
There are 4 dedicated poker rooms in the Colorado State area and most of the state’s casinos also offer poker. In total, you will find slightly more than 120 live poker tables to play at in Colorado. In Colorado casinos and Poker Rooms you will find access to the following games: No Limit Texas Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, High Five Poker, Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Crazy Pineapple, 7 Card Stud, Omaha and Four Card Poker.
Colorado Laws provide for social poker games to be legal for gambling that is “incidental to a bona fide social relationship” and that no one other than the players themselves can profit from the poker game or activity.
These two criteria – a no profit motive for organizers and a bona fide social relationship – must be present for any gambling activity (including Poker) to be legal ‘social gambling’ in the state of Colorado.
Online Poker in Colorado
No online poker is available in Colorado at this time. See above section regarding the future implementation of online casinos in Colorado.
eSports Betting in Colorado
To date, eSports betting is still unavailable in Colorado. It’s highly anticipated that eSports betting in Colorado will be introduced once the State Legislature rules on the legalization of sports betting in 2019.
For the uninitiated, eSports is the abbreviation for ‘electronic sports’, video game play at the highest level. eSports are often played in a team format in leagues and tournaments worldwide, not on the individual level. Many video game development companies have launched their own competitions, and as streaming platform technology has improved immeasurably, it has helped turn these competitions into global events.
High-profile games such as Overwatch, CS:GO, Fortnite, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Call of Duty all have their own leagues, tournaments and competitions. Enormous eSports 50000-seater-plus stadiums are now sold out in minutes across the world.
The boom in popularity of the Professional Gaming tournaments has led to eSports wagering growing in popularity every year. In mature sports betting markets such as Canada, Britain, France and Australia, sportsbooks now offer a range of betting markets across all major eSports tournaments.
Once sports betting is legalized in Colorado in 2019, look for eSports betting at your favorite sportsbook in the state.
History of gambling in Colorado
1882 – First Casino in the U.S, ‘Brown’s Saloon’ built on the intersection of the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah state lines.
1950 – Horse Racing Betting introduced.
1983 – Colorado State Lottery begins and access to inter-state lotteries opened up in 2001
1991 – Commercial Casinos open for the first time in Colorado and Tribal Casinos follow in 1995.
1999 – Charitable Gaming becomes legal.
2016 – DFS legalized in Colorado.
2019? – Sports Betting Legalized in Colorado? Online Casinos in Colorado to follow?