Is Sports Betting Legal in Colorado
Out of state changes were required before the Colorado house could pass a sports betting bill. New Jersey has been challenging an act called PASPA for many years. This act denied the states jurisdiction over sports betting. In 2018, it was overturned at the Supreme Court. This returned jurisdiction over sports betting (and other forms of gambling) to individual states.
Since then, many states have already introduced both retail and online sports betting. Places where this is currently live include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Iowa. Many other states have passed legislation.
Bill HB 1327 was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis in May 2019. This includes tax changes, which meant a state-wide referendum was needed for it to become law. This took place, and narrowly passed.
Unusually, Bill 1327 included a start date. Sports betting will go live in Colorado on the 1st of May 2020. This provided time for the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission to set up a licensing system. Sports betting brands will partner with the brick and mortar casinos, setting up online betting sites and apps – plus branded retail sportsbooks.
Details of Bill 1327: What Colorado Sports Betting Will Look Like
There are few exclusions or rules in this bill which could adversely affect sports betting in Colorado. This bill does not include provisions for online casinos or poker rooms. DFS contests and pari-mutuel betting are already legal.
Highlights from Bill 1327:
- Minimum age for sports betting is 21
- Brick and mortar casinos can apply for a ‘Master License’. This allows for a retail sportsbook and an online one. Partnerships with 3rd party operators are allowed.
- Bets on high school sports and prop bets on college games are excluded. eSports bets are allowed, as long as the event is sanctioned by a recognized governing body.
- Licenses will not cost more than $125,000 with a 10% tax rate on gross revenues for the sportsbook operators.
Which Colorado Casinos Will Have Sportsbooks
Until the licensing process is completed, we will not know exactly which CO casinos will have new sportsbooks. There are 33 casinos in Central City, Cripple Creek and Black Hawk – plus the tribal casinos at Ute Mountain. With so many small venues it is improbable that they will all open sportsbooks.
Two partnerships are already known.
- PointsBet will partner with the Double Eagle Hotels in Cripple Creek.
- Bet America will partner with Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek.
Here is the full list of venues which could have sportsbooks in 2020:
|Casino||City||Application Status||Partner||Launch Date
|Saratoga Casino||Black Hawk||Approved (ML)||Betfred||
|Double Eagle Casino||Cripple Creek||Approved (ML)||PointsBet||
|Dostal Alley Saloon||Century City||Approved (ML)||
|Monarch Casino||Black Hawk||Approved (ML)||
|The Brass Ass Casino||Cripple Creek||Approved (ML)||
|Midnight Rose Casino||Cripple Creek||Approved (ML)||
|JP McGill’s Casino||Cripple Creek||Approved (ML)||
|Bronco Billy’s Casino||Cripple Creek||BetAmerica / Smarkets / Wynn Resorts||
|Golden Gates Casino||Black Hawk||FanDuel / DraftKings||
|Golden Gulch Casino||Black Hawk||FanDuel / DraftKings||
|Golden Mardi Gras Casino ||Black Hawk||FanDuel / DraftKings||
|Century Casino & Hotel||Century City||Circa Sports||
|Century Casino||Cripple Creek||Circa Sports||
|Ameristar Casino||Black Hawk||
|Bull Durham Casino||Black Hawk||
|Isle Casino||Black Hawk||
|The Lodge Casino||Black Hawk||
|Red Dolly Casino||Black Hawk||
|Z Casino||Black Hawk||
|Bronco Billy’s Christmas Casino||Cripple Creek||
|Wildwood Casino||Cripple Creek||
|Easy Street Casino||Century City||
|Sasquatch Casino||Black Hawk||
|The Gilpin Casino||Black Hawk||
|The Famous Bonanza Casino||Century City||
|The Wild Card Saloon||Black Hawk||
|Grand Z Casino Hotel||Century City||
|Lady Luck Casino||Black Hawk||
|Colorado Grande Casino||Cripple Creek||
|Johnny Z’s Casino||Century City||
|Johnny Nolon’s Casino||Cripple Creek||
The Colorado sports betting law puts the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission in charge of issuing sports betting licenses to eligible applicants.
The state’s 33 land-based casinos can apply for master licenses, which are a prerequisite for any sort of sports betting. Each master licensee can then go it alone, or work with partners for retail sports betting and online and mobile sports betting operations. Any partners must also apply for either an operator or internet operator license.
The application process started in February 2020 and all but five of the 33 eligible Colorado casinos have applied for master licenses. The Commission issued the first seven CO sports betting master licenses on Feb. 20, 2020.
The following CO casinos were approved to launch retail and online sportsbook operations starting May 1, 2020:
- Brass Ass Casino, Cripple Creek
- Dostal Alley, Central City
- Double Eagle, Cripple Creek (PointsBet)
- JP McGills, Cripple Creek
- Midnight Rose, Cripple Creek
- Monarch Casino, Black Hawk
- Saratoga Casino, Black Hawk (Betfred)
The companies listed above in parentheses are that casino’s named sports betting partner and are applying for operator and/or internet operator licenses.
There are seven more sports betting operators that have partnered with various Colorado casino operators awaiting master license approval, including
- Circa Sports and Century Casinos
- BetAmerica and Full House Resorts
- Smarkets and Full House Resorts
- Wynn Resorts and Full House Resorts
- theScore Bet and Jacobs Entertainment
- DraftKings Sportsbook and Twin River
- FanDuel Sportsbook and Twin River
BetAmerica Sportsbook Colorado
In September 2019, horse racing and casino giant Churchill Downs signed a deal with Full House Resorts to offer retail and online sports wagering under its BetAmerica brand and Full House Resorts’ license for Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek.
Churchill Downs is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky where it runs its flagship horse racing event – The Kentucky Derby. It also owns and operates the largest online horse racing wagering platform in the US, TwinSpires.com, brick-and-mortar casinos in eight states, and online sports betting and online gambling operations under its BetAmerica platform in multiple states.
Betfred Sportsbook Colorado
In January 2020, UK based bookmaker Betfred Group and its subsidiary Betfred USA Sports signed a deal with Saratoga Casino Black Hawk to offer Sports Wagering throughout Colorado.
Betfred and Saratoga Casino plan to open a full retail sportsbook at the casino and offer mobile and internet betting for customers inside the state.
Betfred has been around since 1967 and is one of the biggest sports betting brands in the UK with over 1,500 retail outlets and an online platform.
Las Vegas based Betfred USA Sports launched in 2019 targeting the expanding US sports betting market. It has since launched a retail sportsbook in Iowa and is preparing to go live with retail and online sports betting in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Colorado in 2020.
Circa | Sports Colorado
Circa | Sports is Derek and Greg Stevens’ newest sports betting brand. The Stevens brothers own and operate a Circa | Sports retail sportsbook location inside their Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, and a satellite sportsbook at their D Las Vegas Casino Hotel, both in downtown Las Vegas. Plus, a Circa | Sports Nevada mobile sports betting app.
Circa Resort & Casino is the brothers’ newest hotel and casino project currently under construction in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. It should be ready to open by December 2020 with a three-story, stadium-style centerpiece sportsbook that will be the largest in Las Vegas.
In February 2020, Circa | Sports signed on to become Century Casinos Colorado Internet sports betting operator.
Century Casinos owns and operates Century Casino & Hotels in Cripple Creek and Central City, Colorado.
DraftKings Sportsbook Colorado
In January 2020, DraftKings announced a new market access partnership with Twin River Casino Holdings that will see DraftKings to offer retail and online and mobile sports betting in Colorado. The DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app is currently available in Indiana, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Colorado partnership will see DraftKings Sportsbook launch online in Colorado and at a new retail sportsbook operation inside the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk. DraftKings also operates retail sportsbooks in Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York.
Twin River also inked a deal with DraftKings rival FanDuel Sportsbook to launch online and mobile sportsbook operations in Colorado.
FanDuel Sportsbook Colorado
In January 2020, FanDuel and Twin River Casino Holdings agreed to a market access partnership that will see the FanDuel Sportsbook app launch in Colorado. FanDuel Sportsbooks already operates online in four states across the country.
Twin River owns and operates three casinos in Colorado, including:
- Golden Gates Casino — Black Hawk, Colorado
- Golden Gulch Casino — Black Hawk, Colorado
- Mardi Gras Casino — Black Hawk, Colorado
Twin River also inked a deal with FanDuel rival DraftKings Sportsbook to launch both retail and online and mobile sportsbook operations at the Twin River Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk.
PointsBet Sportsbook Colorado
On July 30, 2019, Global sportsbook operator PointsBet announced it had entered a multi-year partnership with Double Eagle Hotel & Casino in Cripple Creek. The partnership includes the launch of both retail and mobile sportsbook operations in Colorado, pending regulatory approval.
PointsBet is a US online sportsbook originally founded in Australia. It first came to the US in New Jersey. It is now in Indiana and seeking regulatory approval to launch in several other states as well.
SBK Sportsbook Colorado
SBK is a UK-based betting exchange Smarkets’ new mobile sports betting app. In October 2019 Smarkets signed a deal with Full House Resorts to come on as one of the Colorado casino owner’s Internet sports betting operators.
Full House Resorts is the owner and operator of Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado. It has also inked Colorado sports betting deals with casino operator Wynn Resorts and horse racing and casino giant Churchill Downs and its emerging online gaming brand BetAmerica.
Wynn Resorts Sportsbook Colorado
Luxury casino brand Wynn Resorts signed a deal with Full House Resorts in October 2019 to come on as one of the casino owner’s Internet sports betting operators in Colorado.
Full House Resorts owns and operates Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado. It has also signed similar partnership agreements with UK betting exchange operator Smarkets and US horse racing and casino giant Churchill Downs.
In April 2019, Wynn Resorts also partnered with Scientific Games Corporation to launch new Wynn Resorts digital sports betting and iGaming applications in the US. Colorado may be the first state to see the launch of a Wynn Resorts-Scientific Games sports betting product.
What the Colorado sports betting apps should provide
- PointsBet: This brand is huge in their native Australia. PointsBet will partner with the Double Eagle Casinos in Cripple Creek for retail and mobile sports betting. They offer a novel form of spread betting, where you win (or lose) one betting unit for each point the score beats the spread in your favor. PointsBet offer you risk free first bets for both regular betting and pointsbetting – up to $1000.
- Bet America Sportsbook: This book has announced a partnership with Bronco Billy’ in Cripple Creek – owned by Full House Resorts. Bet America have been online for years, offering horse racing betting in Colorado and around the country. They have now moved to full sports betting in other states. New bettors can get $1000 risk free first bet – the funds are returned as free bets if your selection loses.
- theScore: This mobile sportsbook is owned by the Canadian media company of the same name. They have launched a sportsbook in New Jersey with ties to their popular content app and website. This book offers a deposit bonus for new bettors. You’ll get a 100% match up to $100 on your first deposit. This takes the form of a single free bet.
- FOX Bet: This sports betting brand is a partnership between Stars Group (the company behind PokerStars and Stars Bet) and the FOX sports TV channel. Bonuses and promotions are tied into the picks of the show presenters. You’ll also benefit from the innovative ‘Stars Rewards’ loyalty scheme at this sportsbook.
- DraftKings: You might know this brand best for their Daily Fantasy Sports product. DraftKings have a full sportsbook in other regulated states, and also partner with casinos to brand / run retail sportsbooks. New bettors get a $25 free bet with no deposit at DraftKings. If you enjoy their app, you can get a risk free $500 first bet after you deposit too.
- BetMGM: This is the online arm of the hotel and casino giant MGM Resorts International. They have decades of experience running retail sportsbooks, and recently partnered with gambling giant GVC to move into website and app betting. While there is no MGM property in Colorado, MGM could still partner with one of the land-based or tribal casinos.
- FanDuel: Another giant of Daily Fantasy Sports contests, FanDuel already have a big player base in the Centennial State. They have full sportsbooks online and in retail locations in other regulated states. This brand takes the risk away for your first bet. If you lose, you get free bets in return up to $500.
- William Hill: This international sports betting giant have been running Nevada sportsbooks for many years – making them ideal candidates to run multiple CO retail locations. William Hill also have apps and betting websites, covering a long list of international sports. William Hill offer new sign-ups $10 in free bets, as well as a deposit bonus.
Which Colorado Teams Can I Bet On?
You can bet on any team you like at the new Colorado sportsbooks. Naturally the local teams will be popular. Here are the biggest pro league teams in Colorado:
- Denver Broncos: As a member of the NFL AFC West Division, the Broncos have represented Colorado at the highest level in Football since the AFL merger in 1970. This team is based at the Empower Field at Mile High.
- Colorado Avalanche: This ice hockey team are members of the Western Conference of the NHL. This team won the Stanley Cup finals in 1996. They are based at the Pepsi Center, Denver.
- Colorado Rockies: This team joined the MLB (National League, West Division) as an expansion team in 1993. They have since qualified for the post season 5 times. The Rockies are based at the Coors Field, Denver.
- Denver Nuggets: Colorado are also represented in the NBA. The Nuggets have been through 2 name changes (from the Larks to the Rockets before settling on the Nuggets). They qualified for the play-offs in 19 separate occasions and play at the Pepsi Center.
Colorado are well represented in other sports and in minor leagues. You can bet on the Colorado Rapids MLS team, the Eagles (hockey), Buffaloes (basketball), the Air Force Falcons (baseball) and many more.
Range of Betting Markets at Colorado Sportsbooks
Colorado based teams are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to betting opportunities at the new sportsbooks. You’ll be able to bet on matches covering the major / pro leagues, minor leagues and colligate action in all the popular sports.
You’ll find the depth of coverage for individual sports and international events impressive. All the sportsbooks cover US leagues in depth. You’ll find variations when it comes to the breadth of coverage for international games.
Here are some of the key sports you can bet on at both online and retail sportsbooks in Colorado:
- Football: This is the biggest betting market of them all. NFL games are where the action is, though only a part of the overall coverage. College football, minor league, the play-offs and Super Bowl all have multiple bets (including props) on offer.
- Basketball: You can enjoy a bet on the Nuggets or any other NBA team. Lines are given for minor leagues, college games and the international (EuroLeague) matches. When March Madness comes around, college basketball adds many more basketball betting opportunities.
- Baseball: It is the large number of matches which makes Baseball a popular sport for betting on. You can back the Rockies, or any MLB / minor league team. Betting on baseball reaches its peak when the World Series comes around.
- Hockey: You can back NHL teams including the Avalanche, and minor league teams from both coasts at online sportsbooks. Play-offs and Stanley Cup betting is also available – as are international competitions including the World Championship.
- Soccer: While you can bet on MLB and minor league domestic matches, a lot of the interest from sports bettors is on international leagues. You can bet on the English Premiership, Champions League, Spanish La Liga and World Cup / European Championship events at Colorado sportsbooks.
- Golf: Big competitions including the Masters, Ryder Cup and Open are always popular for betting fans. There are tournaments around the world taking place most weeks. The main tours include the PGA and European Tour.
- Tennis: This is another sport which has multiple tournaments occurring around the world through much of the year. The big events like the US Open and Wimbledon are popular – though only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opportunities to bet.
- Fighting Sports: Boxing and MMA (especially high-profile UFC matches) are both big betting markets. The biggest bouts are showcases which attract millions of viewers these days, though smaller bouts are taking place every week.
- Auto Racing: You’ll be able to bet on NASCAR, Indy Car and Formula 1 at most Colorado sportsbooks. Other racing sports (for example Moto GP and rallying) may be available via some brands.
- Niche / International Sports: There are many more sports, both domestic and international, that you can place bets on. These include Rugby, Cricket, Aussie Rules Football, Cycling, Snooker and Athletics.
What Types of Bets are Available at Colo Sportsbooks?
The move to Colorado online sports betting allows for types of bets which would not be possible in a retail sportsbook environment. These include in-play betting, which allows you to place bets on matches which are already underway – and cash out (also called early-redemption) betting.
These new bet types are in addition to the many ways you can wager on single matches or combine matches into multiples bets. Note that PointsBet add one more way to wager. This is ‘pointsbetting’, a new way of betting on the spread which gives you the chance to win many times your stake.
Odds are expressed in terms of a $100 bet. Keep in mind that this is for clarity only – you can wager any amount you like. If you see a positive number (for example, +350) this is the amount won per $100 staked. Negative numbers are common. This is the amount you’d need to bet to win $100. For example, a -200 line means you need to bet $200 to win an additional $100.
Single Match Bets:
- Moneyline: Colorado sportsbooks will offer you odds on each team to win and you simply back one or the other.
- Totals: Here you bet on whether the combined score of both teams will be under or over a specified total. Books balance things so that both the under and over have -110 lines.
- Spread: Sportsbooks add set (fractional) points to the underdog, levelling the chances of the teams. If you back the favorite, they need to win by more than the spread.
Multiple Match Bets:
- Parlay: This is the easiest way to back multiple matches in the same bet. What you win from match A will be staked on match B and so on. All matches need to win for you to bet paid.
- Teasers: You might see this bet called an ‘Alternative Spread’. It works like a parlay, only with wide point spreads. Teasers are easier to win than straight parlays, though the pay outs will be smaller.
- Round Robins: This bet involves multiple combinations of multi-team wagers. For example, you might bet on 5x 5 of a kind and 5×4 of a kind bets for 5 teams.
Props, Futures and Period Bets
- Proposition Bets: Any bet on something other than the outcome of the match is a prop bet. This can be player performance (most points), first team to score, time of first goal and many other things which are sport specific.
- Period Betting: Many of the single match bets can also be made for specific periods. For example, you can get on the totals for the 2nd
- Futures Betting: You can bet on season long or other longer-term events. Examples include backing a team to make the play-offs, or which player will win the player of the year.
Downloading a Colorado Sports Betting App
There are two ways to access online sports betting in Colo. From your desktop, the web-browser versions of the sites make the best of your larger screen. If you are using an iPhone or Android smartphone, then you’ll need to download one of the Colorado sports betting apps.
The first step for downloading sports betting apps is to visit the website of the book. This will detect what type of device you are using – and prompt you to download the correct app.
It only takes a couple of minutes to install an app. Note that Android users will need to download directly from the sports betting brands. Google won’t allow any US betting apps in their ‘Play’ store. Apple users will not have this issue.
Once your app is installed, you’ll be prompted to create an account. While the details of the process and order of the steps is slightly different from book to book – the overall information needed is the same each time. This will include the following:
- A username / screen name
- Date of Birth
- E-Mail Address
- Last 4 Digits of your SSN
Backup documentation is not required for Id as a default, though could be needed if your account is flagged for a security check.
Quick Guide: Using Sports Betting Apps / Websites
Each sportsbook website and app will have unique design elements. What you’ll find is that the processes of finding your match, listing the odds for each type of bet and placing your wagers are almost identical. Icons, how the different leagues are listed, and the terms used will be different for each app.
You’ll go through the following 3 areas of a site each time you place a bet:
- List of Sports: The popular leagues at the top, with an A-Z or listing underneath. This can be a text list or displayed as ball icons. Many books display the ‘in-play’ (live) betting options at the top of this list.
- List of Matches and Odds: Once you choose a sport, the display shows the popular or next fixtures. Navigate with filters for different leagues / divisions or scroll down until you find your game. Odds for each match are displayed here, with the full list of bets for each match on a separate screen.
- Bet Slip: You can select as many matches and bets as you wish. Clicking them will add them to your bet slip. To place a bet, you need to visit this slip. You can now join bets into multiples, remove them or add the amount to bet before committing to your wager.
Other important areas of the sports betting apps and websites include the cashier, account pages (which show any bonuses and your progress towards clearing them) and the latest bonuses and promotions. Apps also include FAQ / Customer Service sections and a responsible gambling section which includes tools to limit and manage your betting account.
Other legal states with sports betting
It’s All Change for Colorado Sports Betting
As of May 2020, it is all go for sports betting in Colorado. Retail sportsbooks will open in the casinos in Central City, Cripple Creek and Black Hawk. Mobile sports betting, via apps and websites, will become available to use from anywhere inside state lines. More meetings still need to occur, but you can follow Colo sports betting updates and learn more about the proposed changes.
With some big partnerships to be announced, many of the biggest and best-known names in sports betting are expected to become available. You’ll be able to take advantage of many competing bonuses and promotions. With a mix of free bets, no-lose first bets and odds boosts, your betting bankroll will have every chance to get off to the best possible start.