Of all the states in the Western part of the country, Colorado is not exactly the first state you think of when you hear the words “casino gambling.” Despite this, Colorado is one of the best states—not only in the West—in the entire country for casino games.
The history of the state as far as casinos are concerned does not stretch back entirely far. But in the somewhat short period of time during which casinos have been built and open for business in the state, they have surged forward and created an industry that never before existed in Colorado.
Put simply, Colorado is extremely friendly to casino gamblers. With that said, the state does play host to some unique rules which govern the way you play. Do not worry, however, because these unique rules are nothing like Alabama’s unique ban on table games.
Colorado Online Casinos
Taking part in unlicensed gambling in Colorado is considered a misdemeanor and usually results in a rather minor fine. However, the state doesn’t have any iGaming laws and the local regulations don’t refer specifically to online play, which means that joining the action on one of the Colorado-friendly offshore sites is pretty much perfectly safe.
Many people believe that turning internet gambling into a major source of income isn’t allowed within the borders of the state due to the fact that Colorado code has provisions against “professional gambling.” Fortunately, those opinions are flat-out wrong, as the aforementioned regulations deal exclusively with gambling operators and don’t apply to individual players.
Choosing the right site is an important part of getting the most out of your online gambling experience. Fortunately, picking the right site isn’t as difficult as it sounds. In most cases, the best sites attract the highest traffic. The holds especially true in the case of online poker rooms, as the ones with the highest number of active players allow you to enjoy 24/7 cash games and bigger tournament prizes.
When it comes to Colorado casinos and sportsbooks it’s easier to make a mistake as you don’t really interact with the other gamblers. Consequently, our recommendation would be to focus exclusively on the most reputable sites operated by major iGaming companies, such as the ones listed here.
Ameristar Casino Black Hawk
Black Diamond Casino and Saloon
Brass Ass Casino of Cripple Creek
Bronco Billy’s Casino
Bull Durham Saloon and Casino
Bullwhacker’s Black Hawk Canyon and Grand Plateau Casino
Century Casino and Hotel Cripple Creek (Womacks)
Colorado Central Station Casino
Colorado Grande Casino
Creeker’s Gaming Hall
Dan Cooper’s Eureka! Casino
Doc Holliday Casino
Dostal Alley Brewpub and Casino
Double Eagle Hotel and Casino
Double Eagle Hotel and Casino
Easy Street Casino
Fitzgeralds Black Hawk
Reserve Casino Hotel
Gold Creek Casino
Gold Rush Hotel and Casino/Gold Digger’s Casino
Golden Gates Casino
Golden Gulch Casino
Golden Mardi Gras Casino
Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel
J.P. McGills Hotel and Casino
Johnny Nolon’s Casino
Midnight Rose Hotel and Casino
Red Dolly Casino
Riviera Black Hawk Casino
Silver Hawk Saloon and Casino
Sky Ute Lodge and Casino
The Gilpin Casino
The Lodge Casino at Black Hawk
The Richman Casino Wild Card Saloon and Casino
Uncle Sam’s Casino
Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Resort
Wild Horse Casino
Gambling in Colorado
Colorado used to have extremely strict anti-gambling regulations, but the state allowed land-based casinos in 1990 and has since then developed a rather impressive gambling industry. The local casinos and card rooms allow Colorado-based real money gaming enthusiasts to play games like poker, slots, roulette or blackjack, but if you’d like to try pari-mutuel horse race betting, The Centennial State should also have you covered.
One of the rather unique features of Colorado casinos is the fact that they all have a pre-determined max-bet limit, so most of the local high-rollers prefer to play their favorite games online. Colorado has a state-controlled lottery but doesn’t allow online ticket sales.
The age requirement to play in a CO casino is 21.
Types of Casinos in Colorado
Colorado (CO) now has nearly 40 fully functioning casinos, after a limited gaming law passed in 1991 and an expansion to the law passed in 2008. The casinos feature slot machines, table games like blackjack, craps, 3-card poker, and roulette, and a number of casino-based poker rooms. Municipalities are allowed to pass their own gambling laws. At present, three old gold-mining towns have done so:
- Black Hawk: Thirty-four miles west of Denver, Black Hawk is home to 18 casinos, the largest being the Ameristar Casino and Luxury Hotel.
- Central City: Central City, known as “the richest square mile on earth” during its gold rush days, is now home to eight casinos that are 35 miles west of Denver and right next door to Black Hawk.
- Cripple Creek: Cripple Creek has 11 casinos 44 miles to the west of Colorado Springs. They brag that according to the Colorado Department of Revenue, they have the highest casino paybacks anywhere in the state.
There are also two American Indian gaming locations in the southwest part of the state, near the Four Corners region. In Ignacio, there is the Sky Ute Casino Resort. In Towaoc, it’s the Ute Mountain Casino.
Native American/Tribal Casinos
The passing of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in the late 1980s more or less paved the way for Colorado to host Native American-owned casinos. As it is in most other states where there are tribal casinos, the rules governing these sites does not necessarily replicate what state law says.
The reason for this is due to the fact that Native American lands are sovereign and self-governed. As such, they can make rules for themselves. So even if Colorado had a lottery but did not allow casino gambling, Native American tribes could argue that they can, in fact, offer casino gambling.
This was never a problem in Colorado seeing as the state never really held an adversarial stance to casino gambling.
Resort casinos are much more than casinos alone. The “resort” aspect of things means that, in addition to the casino floor, there are things like restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and so much more. Colorado actually has quite a few of these.
Resort casinos are great because they are a destination in and of themselves. In addition, they are a great place to bring the whole family; something you might not be able to do with a traditional, standalone casino.
Traditional casinos are, put simply, buildings that feature the casino floor and not much else than that. There might be a hotel, there might be a restaurant or bar, but apart from the actual casino there isn’t much else to talk about.
This is by no means a negative thing and does nothing to take away from the top-class experience you can derive from these sites.
Colorado Sportsbooks & Sports Betting
Sports betting in CO is currently illegal, but at least one hurdle was cleared in the effort to legalize it when Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said that changing the law would not require a change in the state constitution.
Lawmakers are expected to look at legalization in 2019, but the casinos are likely to do what they can to kill any new legislation.
Fantasy Sports Gambling and eSports
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) are legal and have been regulated by the state since it passed the Fantasy Contests Act in 2016. The regulations are as follows:
- All customers must be at least 18 years old.
- DFS operators must have a third party conduct an annual audit.
- Operators with greater than 7,500 customers must apply for a state license.
- Contests involving amateur and college sports are prohibited.
All major DFS companies are currently operating in the state.
ESports are rapidly growing in popularity, especially in the Denver area, but it is currently illegal to gamble on them.
Horse racing is legal in Colorado. The state has one race track in operation, Arapahoe Park in Aurora. They run live thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races from May through August, with a total of 39 race days on their calendar.
Mile High Racing and Entertainment, which runs Arapahoe Park, offers simulcast racing and wagering on dogs and horses at the race track and at ten other off-track betting (OTB) sites throughout the state— including locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Greeley, Aurora, and Grand Junction.
There are no live greyhound races, but it is legal to place wagers on simulcast greyhound racing from other venues around the country.
You must be at least 18 years old to participate in parimutuel wagering.
Colorado Poker Games
Along with the large number of casinos in Colorado, there is also a large number of live poker rooms. The state’s nearly 40 casinos host 17 poker rooms in total:
- Black Hawk (eight rooms and 82 tables)
- Central City (four rooms and ten tables)
- Cripple Creek (three rooms and 21 tables)
- Ignacio (one room and six tables)
- Towaoc (one room and five tables)
The Lodge Casino in Black Hawk is a regular on the World Series of Poker circuit. The Golden Gates Casino, also in Black Hawk, hosts the multi-event Colorado State Poker Championship. All poker rooms offer daily tournaments.
It is currently illegal for online poker rooms to operate in the state, but legislation to change that is expected to be introduced within the next two years. Until then, residents can access regulated offshore poker sites.
The Colorado Lottery dates back to 1983. All revenue, as directed by a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1992, goes to outdoor recreation- parks, rivers, and trails- and to protecting open space and wildlife. Along with scratch-off tickets, the following draw games are offered:
- Pick 3
- Cash 5
- Lucky for Life (multistate)
- Mega Millions (multistate)
- Powerball (multistate)
Winning tickets must be redeemed within 180 days of the drawing. For cash prizes over $5,000, federal (24%) and state (4%) income tax will be withheld. If you don’t have a social security number, federal withholding will increase to 30%.
You must be at least 18 years old to play.
Bingo is legal in Colorado for any nonprofit that is also a religious, charitable, labor, fraternal, educational, voluntary firefighters, or veterans organization. These types of organizations must apply for a license with the Secretary of State’s office.
Bingo host organizations pay $100 for a license. Landlords for bingo games must pay $1,000 for a license. Bingo suppliers and manufacturers must pay $700 for a license.
Prizes for a session of bingo are capped at $2,000. For progressive jackpot bingo, the prize may not exceed $15,000.
A number of bingo halls can be found in all major cities, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, and Pueblo, as well as a few smaller cities like Montrose and Trinidad.
You must be at least 18 years old to buy a card and collect any winnings, but any age may play.
Colorado Casino History
The history of casino gambling in Colorado does not extend back all that far at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 1991 when the first casinos in the state were legalized and began popping up, specifically in 3 cities.
In 1991, Colorado voters passed a piece of legislation that allowed for the existence of limited stakes gambling. By definition, limited stakes gambling in Colorado means that wagers cannot exceed $100. Something that helped pass this particular piece of legislation is that the gambling that would ensue would take place in 3 different, highly historic towns—Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. The underlying reasoning would be that tourism to these three cities would be boosted significantly. In the years that followed the passing of the pro-gambling legislation, these three cities remain the top 3 gambling destinations in the state.
Something worth noting is that while tribal Colorado casinos are able to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, casinos that do not exist on tribal land are forced to close at 2AM. Typically they open 5 or less hours later, but this is a law that seems to be going nowhere in a hurry.
Colorado Online Gambling FAQ
How Do I Get Started?
The first step would be to sign up for an account with the site that you’ve picked. All you need to do is click the Register button and fill out a simple form by providing the site’s staff with some basic personal information. If you want to make a deposit and play for real money, you’ll have to pass an identity check. Most sites allow you to fund your gambling account via the cashier menu by using standard credit or debit cards, such as Visa or MasterCard.
How Do I Get My Money if I Win?
The money that you’ve transferred to a gambling site can be managed via the aforementioned cashier menu. If you want to withdraw your winnings, simply pick the appropriate option, select the cash out method that you’d like to use and way for the transaction to be confirmed and processed. In most cases, withdrawals take between 2 and 3 weeks if you stick with a wire transfer.
What is the minimum age to gamble online in Colorado?
Most offshore sites require their customers to be 18 or older. The gambling age in Colorado is 21 for casino games and 18 for other forms of gambling.
How do I open an account?
All you need to do is fill out a registration form and provide the site’s staff with some proof of identity if you’d like to wager real money.
Where can I open my account from?
Colorado-facing sites usually allow you to create an account from anywhere in the United States.
From where can I access Colorado online gambling sites?
Colorado-friendly sites can be accessed from anywhere in the country and, in some cases, even from abroad. Keep in mind that some of the US states have strict anti-gambling regulations, so you should avoid playing for real money from Washington and Utah.
Where can I familiarize myself with the official regulations over gambling in Colorado?
Section 18 of Colorado Code contains all the important gambling-related regulations.
How do I deposit to my online gambling account?
In most cases, you’ll have to go for a credit card payment. Visa and MasterCard offer high reliability. We advise you against using other brands even if they are supported by your site. Getting your transaction blocked will not result in any serious consequences or loss of money, but it’s not going to bring you closer to playing your favorite games either.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
In most cases, the supported cash-out methods include wire transfer and check by courier.
Is my money safe?
Your money is guaranteed to be safe with reputable sites such as the ones listed here. However, you should keep in mind that there are quite a few scam sites targeting inexperienced US-based gamblers, so you should avoid signing up with iGaming platforms that haven’t been vetted by our experts and/or aren’t familiar to you or you someone you know and trust.
What body regulates gambling in Colorado?
Colorado Division of Gaming, Colorado Division of Racing Events and Colorado Lottery. Bingo raffles are managed by the Colorado Department of State.