Colorado Sports Betting Legal

Colorado Online Sports Betting's history is relatively short, mostly because the state legalized the activity and went live within a year. In the first year of legal betting, Colorado saw 15 sports betting apps start taking wagers. As of May 2020, sports betting became legal in Colorado with all bets placed via authorized and regulated sportsbook apps and operators. The state officially legalized sports betting via a voter referendum in November 2019.

Colorado began its push to legalize sports betting at the behest of Rep. Alec Garnett, the House majority leader. Garnett produced a bill in 2019 that narrowly passed both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly on the last day of the session. Due to Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, the question of sports betting then had to go before the voters before it could become law. Although the vote on Proposition DD was only 20,000 votes apart, the people of Colorado decided to allow the state’s casinos to offer online and retail sports betting.

A voter-approved constitutional amendment requires that any legislative vote to raise taxes go to the ballot for approval. HB 1327 was signed by Gov. Jared Polis, approved by voters and became law.

There are different types of licenses that can be applied for via the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission.

The most important is the Master License, for which every physical casino in Colorado is entitled to apply. A Master License allows its holder to operate a retail sportsbook.

The physical casino can then partner with an operator to run its retail sportsbook, for which the partner requires a separate license. Unlike the physical casinos which can apply for Master Licenses, these operators don’t need to be Colorado based. Instead, you can expect to see plenty of top US and international sports betting companies run many of the sportsbooks in Colorado, like DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel.

Additionally, the operator can apply for an internet license, which allows them to offer online and mobile betting in addition to the physical sportsbook.

In simple terms, all online sportsbooks wishing to operate in Colorado must partner with a local physical casino and must be granted all the necessary licensing by the Gaming Control Commission.

Here are some of the other main rules surrounding sports betting in Colorado:

  • You must be at least 21 years old and physically located in Colorado to place a bet.
  • All sports betting proceeds are taxed at 10%.
  • Betting on high school sports is not legal.
  • Betting on video games that have been sanctioned by a sport’s governing body is legal, but betting on other esports is prohibited.
  • Betting on college sports is legal, but somewhat restricted. Proposition bets are not allowed in college sports.
  • Mobile betting is allowed.
  • Sports betting will be regulated by the department of revenue, subject to supervision by the existing limited gaming control commission.
  • The state licenses sportsbooks that partner with casinos in the state.
  • Betting can take place both online and at physical sportsbooks.
  • Principal actors in sports — players, referees, coaches, etc. — cannot legally bet on their sports.
  • Colorado does not permit esports betting, nor does it allow betting on high school sports or any event where the majority of participants are younger than 18.
  • With the exception of sportsbooks at tribal casinos, all retail sportsbooks in Colorado will only be available in one of three towns — Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

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