Updated On September 14, 2020
Sports betting in Colorado has been legal since November 2019 and is now available to anyone above the age of 21. As long as you are 21 or older and physically present within the Colorado state borders, you can legally bet on sports in the Centennial State.
With such prominent sports franchises in the state, you might be wondering why it took so long for lawmakers in Colorado to catch up to the wave of legalized sports betting in the U.S.
Interestingly, the road to legalized sports betting started in 2018. Below, we’ll break down the details of how Colorado legalized sports wagering. For an overview of sports betting milestones in the U.S., check out our sports betting timeline.
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 Colorado became the 18th state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting since PASPA was repealed in May of 2018, and it was shortly afterward when legislators got to work on the issue.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.
May 2020: Because of how the bill was written, the first day that sportsbooks could go live in the state was May 1, 2020. Several nationally recognized online sports betting brands didn’t hesitate and launched on that very same day.
DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and BetRivers were the first online sportsbooks in Colorado to launch.
FOX Bet entered the market later in the month. Sky Ute Sportsbook and SBK sportsbook joined the online Colorado sports betting market the following month. Other companies like bet365 put themselves in position to launch in Colorado soon.
July 2020: Draftkings was the first to launch a retail sportsbook in Colorado having debuted a temporary sports betting venue at Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, CO.
The casino launched this sportsbook despite having a limited capacity, limited sports, and a bevy of COVID-19 related safety measures. But, given how profitable online sports betting in CO proved to be in the first few months, it only made sense.
More sportsbooks have launched since then and many more are expected to launch throughout 2020 and beyond.
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.
Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk was one of the first to launch but its temporary sportsbook isn’t quite as large as it will be when renovations are finished. Other casinos in the other two cities have since launched their own CO sportsbooks.
However, these same casinos can offer sports wagering apps that don’t need in-person registration. Now that those apps are launched you can technically bet on sports from anywhere inside of Colorado.
One place, in particular, that may excite sports bettors in CO is Empower Field at Mile High Stadium. Betfred and BetMGM have both partnered with the Broncos to launch a future sportsbook within the stadium. A definitive date for their opening is yet to be determined.
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. So far it looks like most have.
The first casinos to open sportsbooks in Colorado are:
- Saratoga Casino, Black Hawk (Betfred)
- Mardi Gras Casino, Black Hawk (DraftKings)
- Monarch Casino, BlackHawk (BetMonarch)
- Ameristar, Black Hawk (Ameristar)
- Wildwood Casino, Cripple Creek (Woody’s at Wildwood)
- Lady Luck Casino, Black Hawk (William Hill)
- Isle Casino, Black Hawk (William Hill)
- Red Dolly Casino, Black Hawk (Elite Sportsbook)
Many of the land-based casinos in Colorado have already found a sports betting partner. It is just a matter of time when casinos reopen with sportsbooks.
DraftKings Sportsbook at Mardi Gras Casino was one of the first to launch, but given the fact that it’s still in its temporary phase, it’s hard to call it the best sportsbook. Others that launch may give it a run for their money in the very near future.
What Are the Top Online Betting Sites in Colorado?
There are many mobile sports betting apps in Colorado that have launched, but there is already a list as to which companies will also operate in the state.
- FOX Bet
- SBK Sportsbook
- Sky Ute Sportsbook
- Circa Sports
- Elite Sportsbook
- William Hill
Given how much FanDuel and DraftKings spent on campaign ads leading up to the November 2019 ballot, it’s only logical that they offered their online platforms in the state first.
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.
Colorado Sports Betting Sites Awaiting Launch:
- Digital Gaming Corporation
- International Game Technology
- Internet Sports International
- Penn Sports Interactive (or Barstool Sportsbook)
- SuperBook USA
- Wynn Resorts
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.
PointsBet is partnered with Double Eagle Casino and the gaming venue has already gained a license to operate sportsbooks in CO, meaning you can expect to see the online platform launch soon.
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 could have launched was May 1, 2020. Four online sportsbooks did launch that day, but land-based casinos had to wait because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first retail sportsbook launched on June 17 at Saratoga Casino in Black Hawk, Colorado with the help of Betfred.
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.
Which companies can apply for a sports betting license?
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.
How Much Money Does CO Sports Betting Generate?
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.