Updated On February 22, 2020
Betting on sports in Colorado will soon be available to anyone that’s above the age of 21 and within state lines.
With such prominent sports franchises in the state, sports bettors might be wondering why it took so long for lawmakers in the Centennial State to catch up to the wave of legalized sports betting in the U.S. What they might not know is that legalizing sports betting in Colorado had actually been in the works since 2018.
We’ll break down the exact details of how Colorado legalized sports wagering in our timeline, but before you read that there are a few things to keep in mind.
When it comes to land-based sports gambling in Colorado, the only venues that can apply for a license are the casinos located in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City. Those casinos can then partner with a mobile sports wagering provider to develop and offer mobile sports betting apps throughout the state.
Indeed, the onset of this activity and it’s wide availability are estimated to bring the state 29 million dollars in taxes. The funds generated from state-regulated sports betting in Colorado are going to straight to the Colorado Water Plan.
Having a revenue stream to the plan played a large part in getting bipartisan support for a bill while it was in the legislature. But it was ultimately Colorado voters that gave the final word.
Colorado Sports Betting Timeline
Sports betting in Colorado was officially legalized on November 6, 2019, via voter referendum. Once the votes were fully accounted for, Proposition DD was passed with a narrow margin of only 51% of people being in favor of it. Colorado became the 18th state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting since PASPA was repealed in May of 2018, and it was shortly afterward when legislators got to work on the issue.
July 2018: State lawmakers signal their intent to bring sports betting to the table in the next legislative session. Democratic Assemblyman Alec Garnett and Republican Assemblyman Cole Wist told Colorado Public Radio that they intended to do just that but also were unsure of whether or not a voter referendum would be necessary, given the state’s gambling laws.
August 2018: Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman issued an opinion stating that a voter referendum and an amendment to the state constitution would not be necessary to bring new Colorado sports betting laws. She explained that it would only need a statutory change.
April 2019: HB1327, a CO sports betting bill is finally introduced in the State House. Despite the Attorney General’s opinion, the goal of the bill is to get the measure put on the November ballot for voters to decide. In order for that to happen the bill would have to pass through the legislature with a two-thirds vote. In order to get that much support, sponsors of the bill dedicated the tax revenue to go to the Colorado Water Plan which is in desperate need of funding. The bill underwent several amendments in the House but was ultimately passed and sent off to the State Senate.
May 2019: The month began with the Senate passing the bill on May 3, 2019, by a 28-7 vote. The vote meant that the bill had the supermajority it needed to be put on the ballot. The month ended with CO Governor Jared Polis giving his blessing and signing off on the bill on May 29, 2019.
November 2019: After months of sports betting companies campaigning in support of Proposition DD, it was finally time for voters to have their say. Companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel spent over 1.5 million dollars trying to explain to Coloradans that the tax will only be set on the casinos providing the activity but the ballot language still came out confusing because of the Tax Payer Bill of Rights in the state.
November 5th was the day of the vote, but the final count was delayed until the next day due to the vote being so close. Proposition DD was passed by a final margin of 51% of people voting yes.
Where Can I Bet On Sports In Colorado?
As mentioned before, land-based sportsbooks in Colorado can only be offered in casinos within the towns of Cripple Creek, Central City, or Black Hawk. Gaming venues within these towns will have to apply for a license before they can build or open their sportsbooks.
However, these same casinos can offer sports wagering apps that won’t need in-person registration. Once those apps are launched you will technically be able to bet on sports from anywhere inside of Colorado.
What are the Best Legal Sportsbooks in Colorado?
At this stage, it’s too early to say for sure. There are a total of 33 casinos between the three towns in which sports wagering can be offered so if each one actually does go through with the regulatory process then there could be stiff competition in the Colorado sports gambling market.
The casinos to be awarded sports betting licences so far are:
- Brass Ass Casino, Cripple Creek
- Double Eagle, Cripple Creek
- JP McGills, Cripple Creek
- Midnight Rose, Cripple Creek
- Monarch Casino, Black Hawk
- Saratoga Casino, Black Hawk
- Dostal Alley, Central City
Of those casinos, Saratoga and Double Eagle have already found a sports betting partner. The rest will likely do so before May 1, 2020 when sportsbooks in CO can open.
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What Are the Top Online Betting Sites in Colorado?
This another question that will require time to be answered accurately. There are no mobile sports betting apps in Colorado that have launched yet but there is an indication as to which companies will operate in the state.
Given how much FanDuel and DraftKings spent in campaign ads leading up to the November ballot, it’s only logical that they will offer their online platforms in the state.
Both companies landed a deal with Twin River WorldWide Holdings which allows them to offer their retail sportsbooks in several Colorado casinos and their sports wagering apps to anyone located within the state’s borders.
Full House Resorts, which owns Bronco Billy’s Casino in Cripple Creek, has also partnered with Smarkets and with Wynn Resorts in order to offer online sports betting in CO if given license approval.
Other companies that have secured deals with casinos in order to offer online sports betting apps in Colorado include BetAmerica, PointsBet, theScore, and Circa Sports.
PointsBet is partnered with Double Eagle Casino and Betfred is partnered with Saratoga Casino. Both gaming venues already gained a license to operate sportsbooks in CO, meaning you can expect to see these two online platforms be released first.
Colorado Sports Betting FAQs
What is the Tax Rate On Colorado Sports Betting?
Colorado sportsbooks will have to pay the state 10% of their net revenue generated by sports betting. While it may not have seemed that way from how Proposition DD was written, only these businesses will have to pay that tax rate.
How Old Do I Have To Be To Bet On Sports In Colorado?
The legal age to bet on sports in Colorado is 21 and up. This is the case no matter if you use a mobile sports betting app in CO or if you plan on attending a casino sportsbook.
When Will Sportsbooks In Colorado Launch?
According to state laws, the soonest a sportsbook in Colorado can launch is May 1, 2020. While some casinos may begin their sports betting operations that very day, others may wait. There is no clear indication at this time when exactly a sportsbook will be open for business.
Who Is In Charge Of Sports Betting In Colorado?
As per HB1327, “Sports betting will be regulated by the department of revenue, subject to supervision by the existing limited gaming control commission.”
Can I bet on college sports in Colorado?
Yes, betting on collegiate teams that are located inside and outside the state are permitted for any sportsbook or sports betting app in Colorado when they launch.