Colorado has a fair amount of sports teams on its hands—namely the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rockies—so it’s no surprise there are plenty of people who are interested in placing bets. But while it is a very loosey-goosey state on most subjects, Colorado is not the most lenient place when it comes to gambling. There are ways for you to partake, but you won’t enjoy the same freedom and accessibility you would in, say, California.
Colorado Betting Law
As you will come to find, Colorado is big on specifics. They will allow bets on dog races, but it has to be at an OTB-sanctioned forum. They allow heavily populated casino and poker nights, but the host cannot charge a buy-in and then re-distribute prizes or cash. It can do one or the other.
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A Good Number of Casinos
There are around 40 casinos in Colorado—a decent number compared to many other states. And unlike other areas, these are not half-baked establishments. You can get the full experience, with a combination of tables, slots and tournaments.
Different Laws by County
You’ll notice that many of the casinos in Colorado are scattered throughout the same region. This is in large part because the state law on gambling often defers to county legislation. So, in theory, one county may allow tribal-owned or commercially operated casinos, but its sister county that’s only a few miles away may not.
This doesn’t just apply to casinos, either. Different counties have various ways of handling every aspect of betting, from social and charitable, to lotto and online.
No Poker Casinos
One of the few constants throughout Colorado:
There are no poker casinos or establishments whatsoever. There are poker rooms and tables in some casinos, but other all-poker businesses and tournaments are considered illegal if they don’t fall under the charitable or social-gambling umbrellas.
Social Gambling Exceptions
Obviously, Colorado won’t be going to great lengths to cease your living-room poker game, but when it comes to differentiating between social or charitable gambling and illegal betting, the letter of the law is pretty strict.
To summarize, you can host a poker or casino event that charges a buy-in or awards prices. You can’t do one that offers both. Doing so means, by interpretation of the law, you’re operating a full-blown poker room or gambling oasis independent of a casino, which just isn’t allowed.
Colorado Gambling Law Overview
Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Colorado at this time.
- Casino Gambling: Legal (where specified)
- Tribal Gambling: Legal (where specified)
- Poker: Not legal
- Horse-Race Betting: Legal
- Dog-Race Betting: Legal (OTB-only)
- Lottery: Legal
- Daily Fantasy Betting: Not specified
- Social Gambling: Legal
- Charitable Gambling: Legal
- Online Gambling: Not specified
Colorado Sports Teams
Denver Broncos (NFL)
It’s safe to say the Denver Broncos‘ clout remains intact. They have made two Super Bowl appearances in the last five years, with one victory.
Their quarterback situation is prone to messes—particularly these days—but the defense is always stellar, and they’ve posted just two sub-.500 records since the 2000 season.
There is no Colorado team that’s more popular, and it’s not even close.
Colorado Rockies (MLB)
To put it kindly, it’s been a minute (or million minutes) since the Colorado Rockies were good. They’ve been around since 1993, during which time they’ve only made three playoff appearances—and none since 2009. Still, they do have one World Series cameo (2007) and continue to sport a loyal fanbase.
Denver Nuggets (NBA)
The Denver Nuggets are one of the NBA’s more sneakily successful teams. They have never won a championship and only have one Finals appearances to their name. But they’ve been around since the 1967-68 season and have only missed the playoffs 17 times during this protracted stretch… One heck of an accomplishment, including their recent four-year absence from the postseason.
Good news, though, Nuggets fans: This miniature drought will come to an end soon. Young upstarts Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are going to be really good for a while, and the addition of Paul Millsap gives the Nuggets star power they haven’t known since the days of Carmelo Anthony.
Colorado’s Biggest Sporting Event
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Laugh if you must, but this is legitimate. Climbing is a big deal in Colorado. How could it not be with all those mountains around? The international hill climb is a yearly event that attracts professional and amateur climbers alike. It takes place in August typically and is a hybrid race and climb that includes running through recently paved roads.