Colorado Casinos And Sports Betting

Mining towns across North America have always had a special rapport with casinos and sport betting – being important gold mining locations, Black Hawk and Central City were centers of Colorado gambling scene in the 19th century, where gold rush and the prospect of affluent life brought miners from different parts of the country, each carrying a piece of their past and previous habits with them. Keno, roulette, faro, and poker became popular means of entertainment and one of the few escapes from reality that miners could afford. Not for long, though; by 1866, gambling houses became illegal.

The wind changed direction in 1932 when small-scale gambling was allowed in Central City, where the officials allowed certain games of chance due to the financial benefits they were bringing to the city budget. In 1949, horse and dog racing became legal (greyhound racing is now banned) and in the 50s there was even an attempt to make the municipality exempt from the state of Colorado laws which prohibited gambling, but the request was dismissed by the state court.

The lottery was established in 1983, but even with the state’s growing tolerance of gambling trends, the efforts of establishing a Colorado casino were unsuccessful, up until the end of the 80s, when the backbone of the Central City and Black Hawk local economy was too weak to be sustained. The officials started exploring other means of income and once again, gambling was found to be the most suitable solution. The final push that the state needed came from Deadwood in South Dakota, where the first casinos were opened in 1989, generating over $140 million in wagered money – well above the estimated numbers. Finally, after decades of struggle, Amendment 4 was approved and casino and sports betting in Colorado (with certain limitations) was officially permitted.

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Best Land-based Casinos in Colorado

There is no casino deficiency in Colorado and there are 38 gambling venues with approximately 220 casino tables and 14,300 gaming devices, including slot machines. The betting limits are not as high as in some other states and the minimum bet is $5 whereas the maximum stake is $100.

The biggest casino within the state borders is Ameristar in Black Hawk, offering a great selection of slots and casino games, including blackjack, roulette, poker, and craps. With 1,500 slots and more than 20 poker tables placed within a separate room, Ameristar has largest casino floor in the entire state – 71,000 sq ft of gaming space.

The Isle of Capri Hotel Casino is also located in Black Hawk, occupying 43,000 sq ft with a separate 17-seat poker room. Central City also has a fair share of casinos and Century Casino is definitely one of the most popular venues, covering 60,000 sq ft gaming space and providing gambling services around the clock. What makes this casino stand out is a great selection of penny slots, video games, plenty of blackjack variants, craps, roulette, and a no-smoking poker room. Last but not least, Century Casino is quite famous for their private poker events held in “The Best Poker Room of the Century”.

Colorado is also a home to two tribe-operated casinos, Ute Mountain Casino & Hotel and Sky Ute Casino Hotel. Both of the facilities are equipped with slot machines, video poker, live poker, and bingo platforms.

Legal Aspects of Sports Betting and Casinos in Colorado

After the Supreme Court ruling that pretty much opened a new chapter for gambling in the entire USA, interested parties in Colorado are wondering if this will mean following the footsteps of Nevada which was the only state that allowed this form of gambling. The decision lies somewhere between the financial gain and ethical approach to sport – rightfully so or not, some fear that the legalization of sports betting will damage the integrity of sports and potentially lead to corruption – possibly even a conflict of interest in some cases. Some states have already made the decision to fully embrace sports gambling, however, Colorado is still not one of them.

Those who are rooting for the sports betting to be legalized in The Centennial State will have to exude the same amount of patience that’s expected from the Game of Thrones fans – until 2019, there’s not much to do but wait and in the meantime we can just keep our fingers crossed, hoping that the finale will take the desired direction, depending on your personal stand and preferences. The reason why sports betting legalization advocates will need to endure several months of agony is quite simple; this is when the new General Assembly will reconvene. Just like with some other states that explicitly forbid wagering on sporting events, placing sports betting under legally allowed activities would require a much more complicated procedure. The people of Colorado would have to voice their opinion as well, voting for the legalization or against it. NFL, NBA, NCAA, MLB, and NHL continue to vigorously oppose the legalization and the leagues’ commissioners have issued a statement pleading with authorities to protect the sports.

In addition to preserving the integrity of sports, which is often mentioned as one of the main reasons for avoiding sports betting, the state officials are also concerned about gambling addiction, wondering whether or not making this form of gambling more accessible could result in a higher rate of vulnerability.

The industry views things quite differently – failing to legalize sports betting is a lost opportunity for every casino and gaming facility proprietor who is looking to expand and target new demographics. Many argue that people will either bet illegally or go to one of the states where the activity is not banned, which means money out of everybody’s pocket.

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The legal status of online betting is, on the other hand, already regulated and according to the Colorado Official State Web Portal, internet gambling is not legal and the state’s Gaming Control Commission strictly bans their licensed casino operators from offering any type of internet gaming services.

Available Games in Colorado

There are several forms of gambling allowed in The Centennial State and the law places them into the following categories:

  • Colorado Lottery
  • Colorado Division of Racing
  • Bingo, raffles, and charitable games
  • Social Gambling

The Colorado Lottery was established in 1983 and it is operated by the Colorado state government. In the beginning, only scratch tickets were available – now, the selection is wider and apart from the scratch tickets, people can also play Cash 5, Colorado Lotto, Pick 3, Mega Millions, Powerball, and Lucky for Life. The proceeds are directed to the land trusts, preservation of parks and wildlife, etc.

Racing covers both track and off-track horse racing. There is just one live horse track facility – Arapahoe Park – whereas greyhound racing is banned. The state is running an adoption program and those who would like to help and adopt a retired greyhound can do so through The Greyhound Project.Inc.

Charitable organizations will be permitted to sponsor the gaming events within the premises of the licensed operators. This refers to prize drawing, raffles, bingo etc. Also, the same type of organizations will be allowed to conduct casino games where no rake or prizes are involved (for entertainment purposes) since this is technically not gambling and therefore not illegal.

Social gambling (where the participants are the only ones to profit) is allowed in Colorado state. For the action of gambling to be considered “social” and therefore legal, two criteria will have to be met: the actual “bona fide relationship” between the participants and the social rather than profit-driven motive.

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Casino games are provided inside the licensed Colorado casinos (or online) and this is where one can find roulette, poker, blackjack, craps, slot machines, video poker…

Colorado Casino FAQ

Are children allowed inside Colorado casino?

Minors are not allowed inside the casino, although underage children will, of course, be permitted inside a restaurant or an arcade.

What is the legal age requirement for gambling or working in a Colorado casino?

The age limit for casino visitors and employees is 21. This is higher than is some other states where the age requirement is 18. People who are under age will not even be allowed to watch others play.

Is the state of Colorado allowed to withhold my casino winnings?

Should you have any uncollected debts – alimony, criminal court or child support obligation, etc – the state can intercept your funds and collect the debt.

Are the casino winnings taxable?

Yes, you will need to pay taxes and the casino staff will provide you with the necessary documentation that you must fill in after winning a jackpot. Smaller winnings are expected to be reported on one’s personal tax form.

What is the penalty for a person caught in an illegal act of gambling in Colorado?

The penalty can include a fine up to $500 and jail time; if caught providing or organizing illegal gambling services which cannot be categorized as social gambling, you are looking at the Class I misdemeanor with up $5,000 and 6-18 months jail time.

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