Casino Revenue Up 28% Since $100 Betting Limit Removed In 2021

Written By Hill Kerby on 04/29/2024
A picture of rising percentages for a story about how much revenue has grown at Colorado casinos since the $100 betting limit was lifted.

Three years have passed since Coloradans voted to abolish the state’s $100 bet limit.

The state enacted the law on May 1, 2021, sending Colorado casinos to new revenue highs.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, casinos have generated $2.94 billion in revenue since the start of Fiscal Year 2022 (July 2021).

This is the most of any three years for Colorado casinos, up 27.9% from 2018-2020 ($2.3 billion). Casinos were closed for most of FY 2021 (July 2020 through June 2021) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Limit went from $5 to $100 to no limit

The first Colorado casinos opened in 1991 after voters passed a gambling initiative. The proposal allowed gambling in three mountain towns: Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. There was just one caveat. Bettors couldn’t wager more than $5 at a time.

In November 2020, 60.5% of residents voted to get rid of the $100 betting limit. This came more than 10 years after voters approved raising the original 1991 limit from $5 to $100. The same amendment in 2009 also allowed casinos to stay open 24 hours.

Since the most recent limit removal three years ago, slots and table game revenue have increased significantly. The findings strongly suggest the new law has facilitated those gains.

Table games benefit the most

Slots will always net more revenue than table games, but table games’ 48% three-year revenue jump nearly doubled slots’ 24.9% since July 2021 (the start of FY 2022).

Table games have generated $433 million in nearly three years, showing growth of $292.7 million between 2018 and 2020.

In addition to removing betting limits, the 2021 law legalized baccarat in Colorado casinos. Since that time, the game has generated $82.2 million in casino revenue, making it the second-most popular table game in the Centennial State.

Every other casino pit game has experienced three-year revenue gains above 20%.

  • Craps: $62.1 million (up 55.9% from 2018-2020)
  • House-banked poker: $57.4 million (+37.2%)
  • Blackjack: $150.2 million (+20.8%)
  • Roulette: $43 million (+20.3%)

Player-banked poker tables accounted for $37.9 million in table game revenue. Poker’s presence has shrunk in Colorado since the pandemic, and its revenue has dropped accordingly (-25.5% compared to 2018-2020).

Colorado table game revenue from 2014 to 2024

PB Poker$37,898,029$50,892,584$49,333,451$44,023,191
HB Poker$57,366,611$41,820,306$41,291,099$32,825,849

High-denomination slots boost casino winnings

Slot revenue has surpassed $2.5 billion since FY 2022, according to March 2024’s most recent data. Here’s how that compares to previous three-year periods, considering three months remain in FY 2024.

  • FY 2022-2024: $2.5 billion
  • FY 2018-2020: $2 billion (+24.9%)
  • FY 2015-2017: $2.09 billion (+19.6%)
  • FY 2012-2014: $2.02 billion (+23.9%)

However, many slot machines offer betting limits well below $100. The data suggest that slots are more popular now, regardless of the new law.

That said, high-denomination slots have experienced a 27.4% revenue growth since FY 2022. They have generated $26.3 million (and counting), outperforming the previous three-year high of $20.7 million from FY 2018-2020.

Colorado table game and slot machine revenue from 2014 to 2024


Colorado casinos could post best year yet in FY 2024

Fiscal Year 2023 is the best on record after Colorado casinos reported nearly $1.09 billion in revenue.  FY 2024 is on pace to beat that record.

Through nine months, FY 2024 casino revenue stands at $818.5 million. A year ago, casinos had reported $816.2 million during the same time.

Slots have carried the bulk of that weight, accounting for $694.2 million. This represents a 14.8% growth from $604.7 million through the first nine months of FY 2023.

Table game revenue is down year over year. Tables generated $124.2 million in FY 2024 compared to $124.6 million through March 2023.

Has casino revenue reached a plateau?

In 2020, like many other states, Colorado closed its casino industry after the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the virus, Colorado casinos held fairly steady revenue levels of roughly $800 billion. Following the limit removal, casino revenue soared past that figure, eventually landing on $1 billion.

  • FY 2023: $1.09 billion
  • FY 2022: $1.03 billion
  • FY 2020: $617.7 million (casinos closed in March 2020)
  • FY 2019: $840.3 million
  • FY 2018: $838.6 million
  • FY 2017: $813.4 million
  • FY 2016: $802.7 million

FY 2024 will mark the third year with casino revenue over $1 billion. That’s a rare feat and aligns directly with the state’s removal of the $100 maximum betting limit.

But how much more room remains for Colorado casinos to grow? Is the ceiling capped at a $1 billion industry? If history repeats itself, then the answer to both questions is Yes.

However, online casinos present another possible nine-figure industry for the state, and a flatlining retail casino industry will add to the momentum for legalization as another new revenue source. 

Like every other time Colorado expands its gambling laws, the noise will eventually become too loud to ignore.

Photo by PlayColorado
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Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby is a proponent of safe, legal betting, and is grateful to be able to contribute to growing the industry. He has a background in poker, sports, and psychology, all of which he incorporates into his writing.

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