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Colorado’s Gaming Legislation History

After the great depression, gambling started picking up in Colorado. It was limiting compared to the array of options the gaming industry offers states where it’s legal to do so. There was a federal ban in 1910 that made card, slots, and table games illegal for in the United States.

About six decades, legislators in Colorado pushed for the state to build casinos in November 1990. As a result, the state built gaming facilities in three towns in the Centennial State. The locations included the Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City.

The idea was to have these casinos situated in historical cities to give the areas new ways to generate revenue for the historical location and sites. The towns were struggling through the boom-and-bust gold rush era, and the country entered several wars.

This would help the state generate revenue through taxes. Betting and other games involving chance would also be regulated to ensure the operation is running smoothly. Casino gaming was on the rise as sports betting was on the radar for Colorado, but the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act had the final say.

PASPA’s Effect On Colorado Before And After

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was enacted on January 1, 1993. The bill essentially banned sports betting from taking place anywhere except in Nevada. The only way to partake in legal wagering on sporting events was going to Nevada

In 2014, gambling was still only legal in the three locations Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City. A bill was introduced expanding the gambling market across the whole state.

The goal was to allow racetracks to be built in other parts of the states to allow another alternative to placing wagers on. However, the idea never came to fruition as the proposal went south, with 70 percent objecting to the idea.

Other than casino gaming in Colorado’s history, there aren’t many events related to sports betting like other members of the industry like New Jersey. For Colorado, it seems to be that sports betting wasn’t the state’s main concern until the Supreme Court overturned the PASPA in 2018.

The state is also home to 5.6 million people, which is relatively large. With that being said, sports betting is a staple of the state that contributes to the economy. Colorado’s sports betting market has untapped potential. It has already shown to be a perennial market on the West Coast and the entire industry across the United States.

As of this moment, there are almost 40 casinos currently operating in the state. With sports betting launching, residents have an array of options to gamble throughout the state.

These include casino gambling, both commercial and tribal, state lottery available retail only, pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing both online and retail, off-track betting locations (simulcast racing, and lastly, bingo and other charitable gaming.

Before the bill passed that would allow sports wagering in the state, lawmakers believed that launching the market could generate the state $20 million per year in taxes. Sportsbooks are paying a 10% tax rate currently.

Mobile Sports Betting In Colorado

Sports betting may not have been at the forefront; however, Colorado’s sports betting market has a bright future. Colorado is the 19th state to have a legalized mobile sports betting market, as it launched in May 2020.

Sports betting may not have been an important issue for the state; however mobile sports betting saw a huge opportunity during the pandemic. On March 16, 2020, Colorado saw 35 casinos shut down in the entire state. No visitors meant the state would not receive taxes through the revenue the casinos would have generated.

Mobile sports betting helped mitigate the losses as mobile sports betting allowed users to bet on all major sports when sports slowly made a comeback months later. Online casino games were available for fans to enjoy.

The state needs to build back financially, and the state may look towards sports betting to help recover.

Colorado’s residents have several professional sports organizations they could support all year round, including the Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies that will attract a lot of attention.

That is not all the resident’s support as there are other teams and franchises the people support in college basketball, college football, MLS soccer, the Central Hockey League, lacrosse, rugby, and minor league baseball.

Bettors place all the bets they want to on collegiate athletics in the state, with one exception. Users on any online platform and retail sportsbook locations cannot place prop bets on college players because it measures the students-athletes performance.

Future Is Bright For Colorado Sports Betting Industry

Colorado’s market has a lot of potential for continued growth for many reasons. A handful of these operators have partnerships with casinos throughout the state, which helps strengthen their presence in the state.

As more sportsbooks look to conduct business in Colorado, the state fully supports brick-and-mortar locations. This means that operators must partner up with a retail casino to receive a license from the Gaming Control Commission.

Users also don’t have to deal with going to a gaming facility for in-person registration to use these apps. The state is a low barrier of entry, allowing reputable sportsbooks to enter the state without much hesitation, unlike Illinois.

This allows bettors to have a plethora of platforms to choose from, placing a wager. This means users will have more free bets and promotions to choose from, with multiple sportsbooks apps available on their mobile devices.

According to PlayColorado, which tracks the regulated sports betting market of the Centennial State, 2021 was a strong year in terms of both total handle and total revenue. Sportsbooks brought in nearly $4 billion in wagers and $250 million in total revenue to end 2021.

This made Colorado the sixth largest state in terms of annual betting volume in the expanding sports betting industry.