Colorado has expansive gambling laws that allow 22 land-based gaming venues in the state. Online gambling is legal in the state. While Colorado has no online gambling regulations, its officials don’t prosecute residents who play at real money offshore online casinos.

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Our Online Casino Guide to Colorado

This article features a survey of Colorado’s gambling laws and the various online betting sites that accept Colorado players. We discuss the state’s many gaming laws, plus give a timeline of Colorado gaming history. Once you finish this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to engage in safe and fair online casino gambling in Colorado.

Colorado Gambling Laws

Colorado gamblers must be 18 or older to play the lottery, make bingo bets, or engage in pari-mutuel wagering at horse tracks. If you want to play in land-based casinos or sportsbooks, you’ll need to be 21. Underage gamblers face stiff fines and criminal charges, so don’t break the law.

Colorado online gamblers have many options. Sports bettors can play using in-play sports betting apps from any of Colorado’s 16 online sportsbooks. They also can play at offshore online sportsbooks, poker sites, and casinos. The offshore gaming market has a lot of options, but only a handful of safe and fair gaming sites that we recommend. If you play at offshore gaming sites, read honest reviews and pick wisely.

Poker

Colorado Land-Based Casinos

Colorado has a lot of land-based casinos – 34 of them in all.

You’ll find 15 casinos in Black Hawk, 6 casinos in Central City, and 11 casinos in Cripple Creek. The towns of Ignacio and Towaoc each have one casino apiece.

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Colorado Betting Tracks / Shops

Colorado has one horse track with pari-mutuel betting: Arapahoe Park in Aurora.

Beyond that, Colorado has 8 off-track betting facilities. You’ll find OTBs in each of the following Colorado cities: Arvada, Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Greeley, and Pueblo.

Bingo Balls

Colorado Charitable Bingo

Colorado has many charitable bingo organizations that run their own bingo halls.

For instance, Arvada has the Bingo Company, while Aurora has Turn of the Century Bingo and Winner’s Bingo. If you’re in Denver, you can play at Barry’s Bingo or Turn II Bingo. Gamblers in Colorado Springs can play at Bingo World or Carefree Bingo, and so on.

Live Blackjack

Colorado Social Gaming Laws

Colorado allows people to host private home poker games, but the host cannot collect a poker rake.

In fact, the host of poker nights can play in the game and win poker stakes. If they collect a poker rake, though, the game is illegal and the organizer will be prosecuted. Legal poker games require two factors: (1) a bona fide social relationship and (2) no profit motive. The gamblers must have a social relationship outside of the game, while the organizer cannot have a profit motive.

Roulette

Colorado Casino Nights

“Casino nights” are strictly regulated. For gambling to occur, three factors must be present: consideration, chance, and reward. The Colorado Department of Revenue clarifies these factors as “payment, luck, and prize”. If these three things exist at a poker night, then it’s considered gambling and therefore illegal.

Colorado Gambling Timeline & History

Colorado has a colorful gambling history. Here’s a timeline of Colorado’s gambling history.

  • Colorado Gambling Laws: A Timeline

    Colorado Gambling Laws

    Casinos existed in most of the Colorado mining towns in the late 1800s, though the state later banned casinos during the Age of Reform. They returned again in 1991 and the number has grown ever since. Colorado also allows pari-mutuel wagering, sports betting, lottery gaming, and charitable bingo.

  • 1877: Leadville is Founded

    Leadville Colorado Saloons

    Leadville is a Colorado city founded as a mining town during the Colorado Silver Boom of 1877. At one point in the 19th Century, Leadville boasted a population of 10,000, making it the largest city in Colorado.

    When it sought to take the state capital away from Denver, the effort failed in part because Leadville was home to an estimated 150 casinos. These existed in saloons, public theaters, and concert halls.

  • 1879: Texas House Faro Games

    Leadville Colorado Saloon

    Texas House, a Leadville saloon owned by Bailey Youngston and “Con” Featherly, operated a dozen faro tables 24 hours a day. Texas House was one of a handful of famous Leadville casinos.

    Others included Tom Kemp’s Dance and Gambling Hall, which boasted Eddie Foy, a famous vaudeville song-and-dance man at the time. Pop Wyman’s Great Saloon also hosted gaming. It had a sign that read, “Don’t Shoot the Pianist — He’s Doing His Darndest.”

  • 1880s: Frontier Gambling Stories

    Doc Holliday Colorado Saloons

    The Leadville casinos hosted a number of famous gamblers. Sometime lawman and gambler Ben Thompson shot the lights out at a Leadville casino when he dropped $3,000 in one session — the outburst sent patrons scrambling out of the casino.

    In another incident, Doc Holliday shot a sporting man (gambler) named Billy Allen over a $5 bet. Bat Masterson and Luke Short also were known to have gambled in Leadville’s saloons.

  • 1800s: Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek Founded

    Black Hawk Casinos

    Coloradans founded the state’s chief casino destinations in the 19th Century. Black Hawk was founded in 1859. Central City was founded in 1878, while Cripple Creek was founded in 1892. All came about during the successive gold rushes of the 2nd half of the 19th Century.

    During the gold rush of the 1899, Black Hawk (pictured right) reached its peak population of 2,000. After the gold rushes, though, all three cities had population decline.

  • 1940s: Arapahoe Park Opens

    Arapahoe Park

    Arapahoe Park opened as a horse racing track in the 1940s. Since then, the track has had its ups and downs. Since 1990, the park has featured continuous races and pari-mutuel wagering. Its owners sought to turn it into a racino in 2014, claiming they could not remain open without such gaming.

  • January 24, 1983: Colorado Lottery Begins

    Colorado State Lottery

    The Colorado Lottery was established on January 24, 1983. The state lotto had its first drawing on April 23, 1983.

  • November 1990: Land-Based Casinos Legalized

    Colorado Casino - Buffalo Gold Slots

    By the 1990s, the economy of all three mining towns needed a boost. In November 1990, Colorado voters approved land-based casinos. By 1991, licensed casinos began to appear, with most situated in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. The Colorado casino industry in all three have grown since.

  • 2001: Colorado Joins Powerball Lottery

    Powerball Lottery

    Colorado became a member of the Powerball multi-state lottery association in 2001.

  • May 16, 2010: Colorado Joins Mega Millions Lottery

    Mega Millions Lottery

    Colorado also joined the Mega Millions multi-state lottery associated on May 16, 2010. It joined the same day as South Dakota.

  • 2014: Arapahoe Park Casino Referendum Fails

    Arapahoe Park Vote

    Amendment 68, a ballot initiative to bring casino gambling to Arapahoe Park, the state’s only full horse racing track, failed.

  • November 2019: Colorado Passes Licensed Sports Betting

    Colorado Sports Betting

    In early 2019, State Rep. Cole Wist (pictured) and Rep. Alec Garnett introduced a bipartisan sports betting bill. This led to a November 2019 referendum on sports betting. With 1.5 million people voting, Colorado passed sports betting by 45,000 votes. Sites would begin launching in 2020.

  • May 1, 2020: 4 Mobile Sportsbooks Launch

    Colorado Online Sportsbooks

    DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, and BetRivers launched mobile sports betting apps on May 1, 2020. Each of the gaming apps were tied (respectively) to land-based casinos: Golden Gulch Casino, Golden Gates Casino, Midnight Rose Casino, and JP McGill’s Casino.

    Monarch Casino Resort & Spa launched the BetMonarch sports betting app. FoxBet and Isle Casino Hotel & Lady Luck Casino launched their own sports betting app on May 19.

     

  • June 2, 2020: Sky Ute Sportsbook Launched

    Colorado Sports Betting Apps

    Sky Ute Casino Resort launched its own sports betting app on June 2. Two days later, Sportsbetting.com and SBK by Smarkets launched their own licensed sports betting app.

    Later in the summer, SportsBetting partnered with Johnny Nolon’s Casino to launch their own licensed sports betting app. Johnny Nolon’s online sportsbook partner should not be confused with Sportsbetting.ag, which operates in the unregulated gaming market.

  • Fall 2020: Barstool Bets and Ameristar Casino Launch Sportsbook

    Ameristar Casino Sportsbook

    Ameristar Casino partnered with Barstool Bets to launch its own licensed sportsbook. Bet365, BetFred USA, SuperBook, William Hill, and Wynn Sports all plan their own mobile sports betting operations, though these haven’t launched yet.