Colorado Launches Campaign to Prevent Illegal Gambling

Written By Mike Breen on 05/13/2024
A stock photo of a campaign launch map

A new public awareness effort aims to prevent illegal gambling in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming has launched the “Play Legit. Gamble Only Where Legal.” campaign to warn Coloradans of the risks and potential damage caused by illicit gambling.

The campaign encourages would-be bettors instead to explore all the legal gambling options in the state.

What Gambling Options Are Legal in Colorado?

Voters approved Colorado sports betting in 2020, making it the most recent legal gambling option in the state. Online casinos in Colorado remain illegal, as does online poker.

Colorado law allows:

  • Sports betting via licensed online and retail sports betting operators
  • No-limit casino gambling at casinos in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek, and slot machines only at tribal casinos in Ignacio and Towaoc
  • Horse racing wagering at off-track-betting locations and in person at Bally’s Arapahoe Park in Aurora
  • Playing the Colorado Lottery online through Jackpocket
  • Daily fantasy sports play since 2016
  • Gambling at licensed charitable gaming operations, like raffles and bingos
  • “Social” gambling, like office betting pools or friendly poker nights (with some restrictions)

Betting through “bookies” or with unlicensed operators is illegal in Colorado. Outside of legal casinos, gambling via slots and other gaming machines – as well table games and card games with a buy-in – is also prohibited.

Campaign Stresses Risks of Illegal Gambling

Chris Schroder, director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, said in a press release that illegal gambling is unsafe:

“With many certified and legal gambling sites available, it’s never worth it to put yourself in danger. Together, let’s play by the rules and ensure that Colorado remains a safe and responsible gaming destination. By recognizing and preventing illegal gambling, we all win.”

The “Play Legit” campaign directs residents and visitors to, which features resources and information on Colorado’s licensed gaming operators.

The campaign also spotlights the consequences of illegal gambling in Colorado. Those who engage in unregulated gambling risk losing money from illegal operators due to potentially rigged games and unreliable payouts. Users’ data and personal information could also be at risk, leading to possible identity theft.

The campaign notes that illegal gambling operations can be a “breeding ground” for other crime, including human and drug trafficking, and fraud. Those who conduct illegal gambling in the state can face fines and imprisonment.

Colorado Law Enforcement Cracking Down on Illegal Gambling Operators

Gambling machines outside of licensed casinos have been illegal since 2016, though the law hasn’t been strictly enforced. More recently, though, police in some municipalities are cracking down.

Colorado Springs Police initially issued warnings to establishments that host the machines to educate them on their illegality. But late last year, police began raiding establishments and seizing machines.

Last fall, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office announced it had shut down all illegal gambling operations in the Grand Junction area.

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