As of May 1, 2020, sports betting is now legal in the state of Colorado. Though the PASPA ruling came back in favor of sports betting back in May 2018, state legalization was up to the individual governments, so the Colorado lawmakers took their time to finally introduce sports betting to the state.
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There are nearly 5.6 million people living in the rocky mountain state, and from what we gather, many have been in favor of sports betting being legalized since day one of the PASPA rulings. The state has always had fairly well-regulated gambling laws, including casino, tribal gambling, online gambling, daily fantasy betting, horse racing, bingo, social and charitable gambling as well as their state lottery.
Colorado is home to 33 casinos, located within the three Rocky Mountain towns that are legal to operate a casino. These three cities and their 33 casinos will host sportsbooks within casinos if they obtain a license when the pandemic ends. The strict laws around the locations of gambling facilities played a big part in the delay of legalization and operational logistics from the start.
While it may be a rough start for Colorado sports betting, launching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic with no sports to wager on, we are happy to see the state of Colorado offering their residents the option to bet. With so few betting options currently, sports betting could give slight relief to casinos during the pandemic shutdowns.
Colorado Sports Betting Timeline
The road to sports betting legalization in Colorado has been long and fairly eventful.
The start of a change in 2018
It first began back in 2018, when the first signs of change began to set in as lawmakers tabled their intent for change with new legislation. Democratic Assemblyman Alec Garnett and Republican Assemblyman Cole Wist announced their intention to change the state’s gambling laws.
Shortly after, in August of 2018, we saw Attorney General Cynthia Coffman issued a voter referendum and an amendment to the state constitution would not be necessary to bring new Colorado sports betting laws. This was realized in 2019 when the Colorado sports betting bill finally passed to the State House. Though, despite Coffman’s opinion the goal was to have voters decide the fate of the bill via ballot, with the vote being passed by two-thirds. The pill was eventually passed and passed to the State Senate.
Progress with the bill in 2019
In May 2019, the Governor passed the bill by a 28-7 vote. The supermajority for the bill meant it had to be put on the ballot, with governor Jared Polis signing off the bill at the end of the month of May. In November that same year, companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel spent over 1.5 million dollars trying to convince citizens residing in Colorado to approve the bill. The bill was passed by a margin of 51% on the 5th of November.
Going live in 2020-2021
Fast-forward to May 2020 and we see sportsbooks going live in Colorado on the first of the month. On the same day, brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and BetRivers all launched in the state, while many other companies joined just a month later. Then, in July 2020, in-person betting was launched, with companies like DraftKings offering retail sportsbook betting. Venues in casinos were launched across the state and continue to be launched into 2021.
Can I bet on sports in Colorado?
Yes, you absolutely can bet on sports in Colorado as of May 1, 2020. Currently, no casinos have physical sports betting venues open due to the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down most of the world, but you are able to sign up at the licensed online sportsbooks.
For now, the main Colorado sportsbook activity will happen online. Sports bettors can sign up at the following online sportsbooks that are legal in Colorado:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
And the following sportsbooks will be next in line to launch:
- Carousel Group
- Circa Sports
- Digital Gaming Corporation
- Fox Bet
- Internet Sports International
- Monarch Casino
- Penn Sports Interactive (Barstool Sportsbook)
- Superbook USA
- theScore Bet
- WIlliam Hill
- Wynn Resorts
Casinos legally can only be situated within three towns: Central City and Black Hawk, serving the Denver Metro, and Cripple Creek serving Colorado Springs. There are two outlier casinos on Indian reservations in the southwest as well.
Black Hawk Casinos:
- Ameristar Casino Black Hawk
- Bull Durham Saloon & Casino
- Bullpen Casino
- Bullwhackers Black Hawk Canyon and Grand Plateau Casino
- Colorado Central Station Casino
- Dan Cooper’s Eureka! Casino
- The Gilpin Casino
- Golden Gates Casino
- Golden Gulch Casino
- Golden Mardi Gras Casino
- Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel
- The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk
- Red Dolly Casino
- The Richman Casino Wild Card Saloon & Casino
- Monarch Casino Black Hawk
- Saratoga Casino Black Hawk
- Silver Hawk Saloon & Casino
Central City Casinos:
- Century Casino Central City
- Doc Holliday Casino
- Dostal Alley Brewpub & Casino
- Easy Street Casino
- Famous Bonanza
- Reserve Casino Hotel
- Scarlet’s Casino
- Teller House
Cripple Creek Casinos:
- Black Diamond Casino & Saloon
- Brass Ass Casino of Cripple Creek
- Bronco Billy’s Casino
- Colorado Grande Casino
- Creeker’s Gaming Hall
- Double Eagle Hotel & Casino
- Double Eagle Hotel & Casino & The Gold Creek Casino
- Gold Rush Hotel and Casino / Gold Digger’s Casino
- Imperial Casino
- J.P. McGillis Hotel & Casino
- Johnny Nolon’s Casino
- Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino
- Uncle Sam’s Casino
- Wild Horse Casino
- Womacks Casino & Hotel
The two southern casinos are the Sky Ute Lodge & Casino in Ignacio and the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel & Resort in Towaoc.
Betting on Colorado Sports Teams
Colorado is home to a few professional sports teams that bettors might want to keep an eye on. While it’s sometimes a conflict of interest to bet on sports teams from your hometown or state, there’s no rule against it!
Colorado is home to an NFL team: The Denver Broncos. They began their franchise in 1960, and went through a rough beginning, being one of the worst teams in the league until about 1973. They improved greatly in 1975 and began winning division and conference championships.
They were Super Bowl champions in 1997, 1998, and 2016. Since Peyton Manning retired, they have been a little rocky (no pun intended) and have had fairly inconsistent seasons since their Super Bowl victory.
The Colorado Rockies are the state’s only MLB team, and the first team based in the Mountain time zone. They were established in 1991 and obtained their first National League championship in 2007. Unfortunately, they were no match for the Boston Red Sox, who swept them in the World Series that year.
The resident NBA team in Colorado is the Denver Nuggets. Founded in 1967, they have won seven division titles, but have failed to ever secure a conference championship or league championship. They have qualified for the playoffs in over 18 seasons throughout the years, but have been unable to make it any further.
The Colorado Avalanche is the state’s NHL team and the only team in their respective division that isn’t based in the Central Time Zone. They were founded in 1972, and have won nine division titles, two conference championships, and two Stanley Cups. Their first eight-division titles were in a row, which is the longest streak in the history of the NHL.