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Legal Colorado online gambling exists in several forms, although not every type of gambling online has been legalized yet.
The biggest legal online betting option is sports betting, which is legal as of May 1, 2020, in Colorado.
The Centennial State joined the list of those with legal sports betting when its citizens voted “Yes” to Proposition DD in 2019. The new CO sports betting law contains full provisions for both retail and online wagering, the latter of which began in May 2020.
For now, at least, online casinos and traditional real-money poker sites are not authorized in Colorado. The state does, however, have an extensive brick-and-mortar casino industry and a number of popular live poker rooms.
Sweepstakes online poker and casino games are also offered legally in Colorado.
Online sports betting in Colorado is live as of May 1, 2020.
The 30+ casinos in the state — located in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek — hold the sports betting licenses. They then develop their own products or partner with third-party operators above for online sports betting and retail sportsbooks.
Colorado offers what should be a robust market for sports bettors, with a competitive marketplace that will allow most operators into the state, a modest tax rate, and little reliance on land-based wagering.
Daily fantasy sports is also legal in the state of Colorado. In 2016, the state became one of the earliest to pass a law allowing DFS to operate legally. Contests are available on just about any sport that exists, including football, baseball, hockey, basketball and golf.
DraftKings and FanDuel are the two leading DFS operators in Colorado and across the country.
Colorado legalized no other forms of online gambling beyond sports betting with the 2019 referendum.
Non-sports online gambling has started to gain some momentum in states around the country. Given Colorado has been on the leading edge of legalizing sports betting, there’s at least a chance other forms of online gambling are authorized in the future.
Like online casino gambling, real-money online poker is not legal in Colorado.
Like the majority of US states, horse betting can be conducted legally over the internet in Colorado.
Pari-mutuel wagering on races predates the 2018 repeal of PASPA and the inception of other forms of legal sports betting in the greater US. Advance-deposit wagering apps like TVG are available for use in Colorado.
The Colorado Lottery does not directly offer instant online lottery games or online ticket sales. It does, however, offer an app where customers can scan tickets to check for winners.
Some lottery courier services also operate legally in Colorado. This now includes the third-party service Jackpocket, which doesn’t even require physical delivery of tickets in most cases. Using that site is almost like playing online, with purchases and small wins coming in and out of a digital account. Only in the case of big wins is the winning ticket delivered to the winner to be redeemed in person.
There’s currently no legal option for conventional real-money online poker and casino gambling in Colorado. Sweepstakes sites, however, operate legally and provide the same opportunity to win cash prizes.
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about online gambling in Colorado.
So far, sports betting is the only major form of legal online gambling available in Colorado. Daily fantasy sports, horse betting, and sweepstakes gambling sites also operate legally in the state, as do some online lottery courier services.
No, traditional real-money online poker is not legal in Colorado. Sweepstakes online poker sites, however, are compliant with state law.
Yes, Colorado voters approved sports betting — both retail and online — via a statewide referendum in 2019. The first legal sports wagers were booked on May 1, 2020.
Yes. There are horse racing tracks in the state, and advance-deposit wager apps take online wagers.
Yes. The state legalized it in 2016.
Not directly. Colorado’s lottery, established in 1983, only sells tickets through brick-and-mortar retailers. Some online lottery courier services do, however, operate legally in the state.
The state of Colorado taxes online sports betting revenue at a rate of 10%.
Depending on the type, horse betting is taxed at between 0.5% and 1.5% of total wagers.
There is no dedicated state tax on fantasy sports in Colorado.
Right now, that’s mostly the subject of speculation. The possibility exists for sports betting to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, in turn creating tens of million in tax revenue for the state.
Daily fantasy sports creates a relatively small amount of revenue compared to what online sports betting will ultimately produce.
The Colorado Limited Gambling Control Commission (CLGCC) licenses and regulates sports betting in the state.
17301 W. Colfax Ave.
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: (303) 205-1300
Email: [email protected]
The CLGCC is a five-member regulatory body appointed by the Governor. It was created by the Colorado Limited Gaming Act of 1991 in order to oversee the state’s casinos. By extension, this authority has come to include sports betting as well.
For horse betting, the relevant authority is the Racing Division of the Department of Revenue. For fantasy sports, it is the Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Here’s a brief timeline of the relevant laws and regulations involving gambling in Colorado.
The first forms of legal gambling in Colorado were pari-mutuel wagering on races and charitable bingo, both dating back to 1950.
The state lottery was established in 1982 and was initially limited to scratch tickets. Land-based casino gambling then came to the state in 1991. The maximum bet at that time was a paltry $5 before being raised to $100 in 2008.
In 2005, the state’s tribes signed an agreement not to offer any form of gambling not available at the state’s commercial casinos, receiving a tax break in return.
During first decade of the 21st century, online gambling in the US was a gray market.
Colorado was among those states to take action on its own to prevent unregulated online gambling. In 2005, the state outlawed online casinos.
The following year, the federal government passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Nearly a decade later, there was a failed attempt to expand gambling in the state. This included bills for online casino and poker and a referendum on allowing casino gambling at the state’s racetracks. The online bills failed to pass, and racetrack casino gambling was voted down.
The appearance and rapid popularization of daily fantasy sports in the early 2010s caught US legislators by surprise. Despite falling under a carve-out for season long fantasy sports, DFS allowed wagering at a pace more closely resembling conventional sports betting.
Even now, some states have yet to adopt a clear position on DFS. Colorado was among those quick to take action, however.
In 2016, it became the fifth state to pass a law legalizing and regulating DFS, and a fairly permissive one at that. It was, perhaps a sign of changing attitudes among the public and the state’s legislators.
That set the stage for sports betting to be legalized a few years later after the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, which had until that point made it illegal at the federal level.
House Bill 1327, legalizing sports betting, passed the state’s legislature in April 2019. It couldn’t become law immediately, however.
Colorado’s Tax-Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires that any law implementing a new tax get direct voter approval by way of a referendum before it can become law. That included H 1327 due to its 10% tax on operators’ gross revenues.
That November, Colorado voters went to the polls to cast their ballots on Proposition DD. Over 1.5 million people voted in the referendum. In the end, the Proposition passed by a margin of less than 3% — with 800,745 in favor and 756,712 opposed.