Colorado

Sports Betting in Colorado

Colorado has a long history as a ‘gambling friendly’ state. Not that it means anything now, but gambling in Colorado dates back to the ‘Gold Rush’ days. Like California, the ‘Gold Rush’ meant for a risk taking mentality and a lot of loose money and this meant for a great opportunity for casino gambling. The best known casino in the early days of Colorado was ‘Brown’s Saloon’ which opened in 1822 and in a perfect location—adjacent to the borders of Utah and Wyoming allowing them to serve the gaming needs of three different states. Some gambling historians have suggested that Brown’s Saloon was the first actual casino in the United States.

As you’d imagine, these early casinos were unregulated and as the state grew in population that no longer worked. Despite the long history of gambling in Colorado it wouldn’t be until 1991 when casino gambling would be legalized in the state. Even then, it was a highly regulated and limited gaming environment. It was also limited to three locations.

The premise was that gambling would be allowed in ‘historic mining towns’–specifically, Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City. The regulations were so restrictive they might not have bothered. The casinos in these towns were allowed a maximum stake of $5 and a 2 AM ‘curfew’. At the same time, casinos were opened on tribal lands in the Southern part of the state that also stayed within the restrictive state guidelines. In 1995, the two ‘Ute’ tribes signed formal compacts with the state of Colorado.

Not surprisingly, the casino industry in Colorado limped along for the next few years. The gambling towns were a long drive away from Denver and other population centers along trecherous mountain roads that only became more foreboding during the snowy winter months. Several casinos quickly went out of business due to a lack of player interest.

In 2008, the state legislature gave the individual towns the option to liberalize their rules. The 2 AM curfew was abolished and casinos were allowed to stay open 24/7. Maximum stakes were increased to $100 and roulette and craps added to the menu of games which at the time included poker, blackjack and slots. It might be an overstatement to say that from that point forward business was booming but it definitely helped. There are now 17 casinos in black Hawk, eight in central City and 14 in Cripple Creek. There are also two large tribal casinos in the state—the Sky Ute Lodge and casino in Ignacio and the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Resort in Towaoc. All of the casinos offer the same basic mix of games though the two tribal casinos also feature keno.

The state has a lottery with four draw games, MegaMillions, Power Ball and a variety of scratch off games. Colorado also allows parimutuel wagering and has one live horse track facility, Arapahoe Park in Aurora. There are also several off track betting facilities throughout the state. Advance deposit wagering on horses via online sites like TVG is also permitted. Live poker is available at many of the casinos with a number of good sized tournaments.

Like so many other states, Colorado needs revenue and there is good reason to expect an expansion into online betting very soon. The question is the form this will take—the lottery will likely want to be involved as will the casino industry. The most likely additions would be online poker and sports betting.

Sports Betting in Colorado Springs

Colorado has a long history with gambling and according to some historians was the site of the first casino in the United States (Brown’s Saloon). Casino gambling was finally legalized in 1991 but even then it was a highly regulated and limited gaming environment. It was also limited to three locations. The idea was that gambling would be allowed in ‘historic mining towns’–specifically, Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City. When the original casino gambling regulations were passed they were so restrictive that they might not have bothered. The casinos in these towns were allowed a maximum stake of $5 and a 2 AM ‘curfew’. At the same time, casinos were opened on tribal lands in the Southern part of the state that also stayed within the restrictive state guidelines. In 1995, the two ‘Ute’ tribes signed formal compacts with the state of Colorado.

The casino industry in Colorado would struggle for the next few years. The gambling towns weren’t exactly convenient to Denver, let alone Colorado Springs over an hour to the South. The casino towns of Central City and Black Hawk are about two hours away. Cripple Creek is closer, just over an hour away. All of the historic casino towns are along routes that can be snowy and treacherous during Winter months. Due to the less than ideal locations, paltry maximum stake and the convoluted curfew rules several casinos quickly went out of business due to a lack of player interest.

In 2008, the state legislature gave the individual towns the option to liberalize their rules. The 2 AM curfew was abolished and casinos were allowed to stay open 24/7. Maximum stakes were increased to $100 and roulette and craps added to the menu of games which at the time included poker, blackjack and slots. There are now 17 casinos in Black Hawk, eight in Central City and 14 in Cripple Creek. The Colorado casino towns aren’t exactly ‘booming’ but they’re hanging in there.

There are also two large tribal casinos in the state—the Sky Ute Lodge and casino in Ignacio and the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Resort in Towaoc. All of the casinos offer the same basic mix of games though the two tribal casinos also feature keno. Unfortunately for Denver residents, the tribal casinos are over 7 hours away in the ‘Four Corners’ area near the borders with Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. There are also tribal casinos in New Mexico—a five or six hour drive from Denver along a route with some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

The state has a lottery with four draw games, MegaMillions, Power Ball and a variety of scratch off games. Colorado also allows parimutuel wagering and has one live horse track facility, Arapahoe Park in the Denver suburb of Aurora. The track runs a live racing schedule during the summer months and offers simulcast wagering year round. There are also five off track betting facilities in the Denver Metro area. Advance deposit wagering on horses via online sites like TVG is also permitted. Live poker is available at many of the casinos with a number of good sized tournaments.

Denver residents have a decent number of gambling options but for many a flight to Las Vegas is the best bet. There are more than 20 non-stop flights a day between Denver International Airport and Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport. Denver gamblers can be in Las Vegas in less than two hours and with round trip tickets available for well under $200 it definitely a viable option.

Sports Betting in Denver

Despite Colorado’s long history as a ‘gambling friendly’ state modern day Denver is mediocre at best. Actually, modern day Colorado is mediocre at best. Some gambling historians have suggested that Colorado’s Brown’s Saloon was the first actual casino in the United States. Unfortunately, the days of Colorado being a gambling innovator are long gone.

Casino gambling was finally legalized in 1991 but even then it was a highly regulated and limited gaming environment. It was also limited to three locations. The idea was that gambling would be allowed in ‘historic mining towns’–specifically, Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City. When the original casino gambling regulations were passed they were so restrictive that they might not have bothered. The casinos in these towns were allowed a maximum stake of $5 and a 2 AM ‘curfew’. At the same time, casinos were opened on tribal lands in the Southern part of the state that also stayed within the restrictive state guidelines. In 1995, the two ‘Ute’ tribes signed formal compacts with the state of Colorado.

The casino industry in Colorado would struggle for the next few years. The gambling towns weren’t exactly convenient to Denver. The casino towns of Central City and Black Hawk are about an hour away and the route can be very treacherous during the snowy winter months. Cripple Creek is over two hours away though in close proximity to Colorado Springs. Due to the less than ideal locations and the convoluted curfew rules several casinos quickly went out of business due to a lack of player interest.

In 2008, the state legislature gave the individual towns the option to liberalize their rules. The 2 AM curfew was abolished and casinos were allowed to stay open 24/7. Maximum stakes were increased to $100 and roulette and craps added to the menu of games which at the time included poker, blackjack and slots. There are now 17 casinos in Black Hawk, eight in Central City and 14 in Cripple Creek. The Colorado casino towns aren’t exactly ‘booming’ but they’re hanging in there.

There are also two large tribal casinos in the state—the Sky Ute Lodge and casino in Ignacio and the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel and Resort in Towaoc. All of the casinos offer the same basic mix of games though the two tribal casinos also feature keno. Unfortunately for Denver residents, the tribal casinos are over 7 hours away in the ‘Four Corners’ area near the borders with Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. There are also tribal casinos in New Mexico—a five or six hour drive from Denver along a route with some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

The state has a lottery with four draw games, MegaMillions, Power Ball and a variety of scratch off games. Colorado also allows parimutuel wagering and has one live horse track facility, Arapahoe Park in the Denver suburb of Aurora. The track runs a live racing schedule during the summer months and offers simulcast wagering year round. There are also five off track betting facilities in the Denver Metro area. Advance deposit wagering on horses via online sites like TVG is also permitted. Live poker is available at many of the casinos with a number of good sized tournaments.

Denver residents have a decent number of gambling options but for many a flight to Las Vegas is the best bet. There are more than 20 non-stop flights a day between Denver International Airport and Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport. Denver gamblers can be in Las Vegas in less than two hours and with round trip tickets available for well under $200 it definitely a viable option.

As seen on