Legal Timeline for Colorado Online Gambling
The thriving casino industry in Central City, Cripple Creek and Black Hawk shows that Colorado gambling laws are progressive compared to many states. These casinos were made legal in 1991 – with betting limits increasing in 2009.
Other notable dates include the 2016 regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports contests. Bill H-1404 made these sites explicitly legal. This bought clarification, as the main DFS brands have been operating in Colorado for several years.
Sports betting online is the most recent addition to the CO statutes. Bill 1327 made this legal in 2019. The licensing process meant that the first mobile sportsbooks were available in 2020.
The legal gambling age in Colorado varies by the type of gambling. For casinos this is 21+, you can bet at 18+.
Online Sports Betting in Colorado
2020 saw the first retail and online sportsbooks open in Colorado. You can bet on pro sports, college action and international fixtures from your mobile devices from anywhere within state lines.
Jurisdiction over sports betting was returned to the individual states by the overturning of the PASPA in 2018. Legislation followed, with Bill 1327 making its way through the Colorado house before getting signed by Governor Jared Polis in December 1999. The final step – a state-wide referendum – took place in December 2019. It was passed, allowing for the licensing process to begin ahead of the May 2020 launch of both mobile and retail sportsbooks.
Every Colorado casino can apply for an online sports betting license. This will ensure that there is plenty of choice when it comes to brands, platforms and bonuses.
You’ll be able to bet on NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, soccer, auto sports, boxing, MMA, eSports, tennis, golf and more. Single match bets, props, parlays (and other multi-match bets) and sport-specific bets are all available.
New forms of betting come hand-in-hand with the ability to bet online. These include in-play betting. This lets you bet on games which are already underway. You can also redeem bets early with a new ‘cash out’ betting function.
Sports Betting Sites in Colorado
Casinos have partnered with many of the biggest and best sports betting brands. All of these brands have already released online gambling apps in other states – making the move online in Colorado easy.
Here are the key brands that should open an online sportsbook in Colorado:
- DraftKings: This brand has been offering DFS contests in Colorado for many years. They also run a full online sportsbook.
- FOX Bet: A partnership between the FOX Sports TV channel and Stars Bet includes many promotions based on the picks of popular TV anchors.
- PointsBet: This online sportsbook offers a novel way of betting on spreads, via their ‘Points Betting’ option. This brand has announced a partnership with the Double Eagle Casinos in Cripple Creek.
- FanDuel: Another DFS operator which is becoming well known for full retail and online sportsbooks in regulated states.
- William Hill: With years of retail sportsbook experience, several CO casinos could open ‘Will Hill’ themed books.
- Bet America: This brand is best known for their horse racing betting site. In other states, Bet America have opened a full sportsbook. They have announced a partnership with the Bronco Bill’s Casino in Cripple Creek.
- 888 Sports: This international gambling brand run sports betting sites, casinos and poker rooms around the world, including sites in the newly regulated states.
Colorado Online Horse Betting
You can bet on horse races online legally in Colorado. A carve-out in the (Federal) UIGEA of 2006 makes it possible to bet on horses and / or greyhounds in any state where this is possible in person. Simulcast betting is legal in the Centennial state – making it possible to access the pari-mutuel pools online too.
The sites that handle horse racing bets are different to those offering full sports betting. Bet American is the only exception – this brand has expanded to offer both types of betting.
When you bet on horses online, you are entering the same pools as those at the tracks or betting from OTB offices. You can bet on individual horses (win, place, show), or on multiple selections to finish in the correct order (exacta, trifecta, superfecta).
It is also possible to ‘box’ bets, so that your selections can finish in any order. Other bets include pick 5 / 6, where you are betting on multiple races at a single meeting.
Betting brands include Bet America, TVG (which is tied to the TV channel of the same name) and TwinSpires. All sites offer welcome bonuses and promotions which include odds boosts and no-lose bets. Taking advantage of all 3 will help get your horse racing betting bankroll off to a flying start.
Other benefits of betting online include live feeds of the races, and detailed form / past performance data to help you make the best picks.
Daily Fantasy Sports Contests Online in Colorado
DFS contests first came to Colorado in 2009. These are skill-based games, where you pick line-ups of players to compete with others. These were formally made legal in CO in 2016. Act 1404 regulated the DFS sites – requiring licensing for bigger sites and ensuring player protections were in place. This move was welcomed by the major operators.
Two big names dominate when it comes to Daily Fantasy Sports. These are DraftKings and FanDuel. Both brands are also entering the online sports betting market in Colorado.
You can pick line-ups in many major sports. This includes eSports and MMA – as well as the big pro leagues and soccer. Your line-ups need to be within a specified salary cap. You then choose whether to enter your rosters into cash games (small contests against 1 or more opponent), or tournaments. There are many variations of these games, including opportunities to win your way through a series of smaller buy-in tournaments (called steps) which can win you entry into a bigger buy-in contest.
It is also possible to create your own contests or leagues.
Online Casino Gambling via Social Casinos
You can legally gamble at social casinos online from Colorado under laws designed for sweepstakes contests. Brands including ChumbaCasino and LuckyLand Slots have been live country-wide since 2016. They offer slots, keno and limited casino table games – treating them as sweepstakes contests.
To stay legal, social casinos can’t directly charge players for chips.
What they do instead is sell you play-money only chips (known as gold coins) and then give you ‘Sweeps Coins’ for free. You can play with either of the two currencies. Gold coins are for entertainment and ‘bragging rights’ only. Sweeps coins can be exchanged for dollars and withdrawn if you win.
You’ll find the slots are every bit as high quality as those you will find in the online casinos in states which have regulated this activity (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia).
To stay legal, the social casinos need to provide a way to enter their sweepstakes contests for free. You can get free sweeps cash at Chumba Casino simply for registering. You can also send a letter to their HQ, getting a small amount of sweeps cash this way. Bonuses and promotions, including some that are linked to social media are alternative ways of getting sweeps cash for free.
Online Poker in Colorado
Global Poker is available nationwide as well as in Colorado. They have quietly grown into one of the bigger online poker sites – offering both cash games and tournaments to poker fans.
This site uses the same social gambling approach as the casinos covered in the section above. You’ll play for sweeps coins – which Global Poker can’t sell you directly. You buy play-money chips (gold coins) and are given sweeps cash for ‘free’.
All the action takes place in your web browser, with no software or app download needed. You’ll find the majority of the games feature No-Limit Texas Hold’em. Some Pot Limit Omaha is also on offer.
Online Lottery Games in Colorado
The first lottery draw took place in Colorado back in 1983. Since then the lottery has expanded. These days you will find in-state draws alongside the huge multi-state games like Powerball, Mega Millions and Lucky for Life. There are also instant games including scratch cards and keno type games.
While you can’t buy lottery tickets online, there is a detailed website and apps available for players. Bonus draw games are available for scratch cards (even if you lost the original game). You can enter a unique 22-digit number to see if you win a prize.
There is a lot more online than just the results. The Colorado lottery website tracks the luckiest stores and luckiest numbers. You can also find out about the winners and which good causes the lottery revenues support.
MyLottery is an optional account, which gives you access to a dashboard showing all your bonus draws and results. This is available via the apps or through the main website.
Funding Your Online Gambling Account
You’ll need to make a deposit to enjoy the many online gambling options in Colorado. This is safe, as long as you stick to the legitimate sites and avoid offshore / grey-market operators.
The exact mix of payment options on offer vary across the different gambling verticals. DFS sites and social casinos / poker rooms have a limited number of options compared to the new regulated sportsbooks. Credit and debit cards are welcomed at all types of gambling site operating in Colorado.
Here are the main gambling site deposit options, along with an explanation for each one:
- Bank Cards: Both debit and credit cards can be used. Visa and MasterCard are welcomed by almost all gambling sites. Amex and Discover branded cards are less frequently allowed. Making a payment with your card follows the same process as making an online purchase.
- Branded Debit Cards: FanDuel and other gambling sites have introduced their own branded debit cards in other states – and are expected to do the same in Colorado. These are perfect for bettors that want the ease of use of a card, though prefer not to use their own cards for gambling.
- PayPal: This well-known electronic wallet is used by DFS sites as well as the sportsbooks. You can use it for both deposits and withdrawals. The advantage is security, with the separate account effectively keeping your bank and the gambling sites separated. Other brands which are similar include Neteller and Skrill.
- eChecks: You can transfer directly from your bank account to a gambling site in several ways. The easiest and (once verified) the fastest is called eChecks or ACH transfers. This can be used for withdrawals too.
- Bill Pay: Paying into a sportsbook the same way you might pay a utility bill will online work at the biggest banks.
- Bank Wires / Money Orders: These traditional banking methods are slower, though can be used for funding your gambling accounts.
- Cash at Cage: For online sportsbooks, each mobile book will have a license holding brick and mortar casino. You can take cash to the cage, funding your account in person.
- Cash at 7-Eleven: If you are not close to Cripple Creek, Central City or Black Hawk, then taking cash to your local convenience store could be faster. Note than fees will be charged.
When you withdraw from any gambling site the default payment option will be to return the funds the same way you deposited them. When this is not possible, an alternative can be used. Many gambling sites can send paper checks to you.
Boosting Your Online Gambling Account
You can get your bankroll off to the best possible start with welcome bonuses that almost all the gambling sites offer. These will vary depending on whether you choose sports, casino or horse racing bets. Here are the main types of bonus on offer to Colorado residents:
- Colorado Sportsbooks: High competition between the betting brands gives you a lot of bonuses to choose from. Look out for no-deposit free bets. These allow you to check out the different betting apps with zero risk. Matched welcome bonuses (usually at 100% of your deposit amount) and no-lose first bets are common incentives.
- DFS Sites: There is little competition with Daily Fantasy Sports – as the market is dominated by FanDuel and DraftKings. You’ll need to deposit to take advantage of their welcome offers, which are $5 / $25 in free bets. You can also take advantage of entry into the easy ‘beginner’ games.
- Horse Racing Sites: Matched bonuses and no-lose wagers also feature at the online pari-mutuel gambling sites. Your deposit will be matched at 100%, with the bonus coming in the form of free bets.
- Social Casinos: Bonuses are smaller at ChumbaCasino, LuckyLand Slots and Global Poker. You’ll get double the amount of sweeps coins to normal the first time you deposit. At $5 max, this is not a ‘big money’ bonus. Chumba Casino offer 2 free sweeps coins simply for registering. At Global Poker, you’ll get to enter a freeroll for depositors too.
Ongoing Rewards at Colorado Gambling Sites
Welcome bonuses will be gone very fast – many of them only apply to your first bets or have other short-lived incentives.
Savvy gamblers in Colorado understand that it is the ongoing rewards that make the biggest difference to your bankroll over the long run.
Things to look out for include loyalty programs, odds boosts, free to enter contests (slot tournaments, DFS games), freeroll tournaments (poker) and insurance against losing parlays by a single leg.
It can be worth checking the details of the loyalty schemes on offer. Some are flat rate. These reward you with a fixed amount based on the amount you bet. Others are tiered. These schemed increase rewards based on your betting over time. You can unlock extra bonuses and rewards. Some betting sites also link their online loyalty rewards to the casino partner’s comp schemes.
For those that are high rollers, it can also be worth comparing the different gambling sites for VIP rewards.
Are Colorado Online Gambling Sites Safe?
Regulated, licensed gambling sites have a huge advantage in any state – safety. When you play at a licensed site in Colorado, you will know that they met the requirements of the Limited Gaming Control Commission. Those requirements cover the separate handling of player funds, tools for players that might develop gambling problems and fair rules for bonuses and promotions.
Payments will use SSL – making them completely safe. You can even choose a 3rd party payment system like PayPal or pre-funded debit cards, this will keep your own bank account separate from the gambling sites.
The biggest difference in terms of safety comes from having a governing / licensing body to complain to if you feel you have been mistreated. Offshore sportsbooks, which are supposedly ‘licensed’ on Caribbean islands, have no governing body overseeing them that is capable (or willing) to listen to player complaints.
You can bet, enjoy casino and poker games or enter DFS contests legally and safely from Colorado these days – there is simply no need to take the risk of using offshore online gambling sites.
Other states with legal gambling
Colorado: Helping Problem Gamblers
With so many legal gambling options available, it is important to assist people who develop gambling problems. For retail casinos in the Centennial state, self-exclusion can be arranged – effectively a voluntary way of stopping individuals from entering any casino in the state.
This also exists online – as part of a suite of tools designed to help people manage their gambling. They include limits on deposits, bet sizes or the total amount bet in certain time periods. Shorter time-out periods can be arranged, as well as longer (or even permanent) self-exclusion.
If you are unsure about your own gambling or that of a friend or loved one, then a self-assessment questionnaire can help. This is a series of questions designed to understand how an individual approaches gambling. Links to help organizations, including the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado will also be provided.
The Future of Online Gambling in Colorado
Online sports betting is now legal – though unlike in other regulated states, casino games and online poker was not included in the bill. In states where online casino games are available, they are large revenue sources for state coffers. A successful roll-out of mobile sports betting could see a new bill proposed in future to regulate casino games and potentially online poker.
Lots of Options for Online Gambling in Colorado
Colorado residents have many options to gamble online. The most recent addition of sports betting joins horse racing betting, DFS, social casinos and poker – plus a lottery website.
Regulation ensures that these gambling options are safe, removing the risk and uncertainty. You can use regular deposit options including credit cards and bank transfers – and will find tools in place to protect individuals with problem gambling behaviors.
Many of the biggest and best sports betting brands are ready to enter Colorado. These include Pointsbet and Bet America, who have already announced partnerships with local casinos. Licenses for retail and online sportsbooks are available to all the live casinos. This will ensure that all the big brands that want to enter the Centennial state will have a choice of partner.
This level of competition between the online sportsbooks will ensure that you have a lot of bonuses, promotions and free bet offers to choose from.