The recent gambling expansion bill and referendum in Colorado did not include provision for online casino games. Bill 1327 has bought sports betting online. This joins pari-mutuel horse racing bets and daily fantasy sports contests on the statutes of the Centennial state.
There are options for online casino fans – via sweepstakes gambling sites. These sites have slots and (limited) casino games. You can play for ‘sweeps coins’ instead of dollars, which means that the games are considered sweepstakes contests in the eyes of the law. Those sweeps coins can be exchanged for dollars if you win.
This guide looks at online casino games in Colorado in depth. You’ll find information about the sweepstakes casinos, social casinos and a preview of what any future regulated online casino scene in Colorado could look like below.
Sweepstakes contests are usually associated with retail businesses. They offer drawings or other games as an incentive to buy from them.
Every state has laws allowing these contests – including Colorado.
There are casinos online operating around the country that turn slots and casino table games into mini sweepstakes contests. From the perspective of players, the spin of a slot or shuffle of cards looks exactly the same as you’d find in any casino.
To make this model legal, the casinos have to:
There needs to be some way to let players enter the contests without needing to make a purchase. The casinos give you free sweeps coins if you send them a letter or in some cases, award you with free sweeps just for logging in.
This does sound complex, although when you strip away the terms the model is simple. You buy gold coins, get sweeps coins for free and then use those sweeps coins to enter contests (casino games). If you win, then you can exchange those sweeps coins to dollars and legally withdraw them to your bank.
There are two major brands offering legal online casino gambling under sweepstakes rules:
Many players enjoy casino games but don’t want to gamble real money. Social casino apps and websites fill this niche. They provide access to online slots, along with leaderboard contests and social network features.
You’ll find some of the slots at social casinos are online versions of popular live slots – for example Dancing Drums or Zeus.
Chips can be purchased via social casino apps, though these are for play-money purposes only and can’t be redeemed or exchanged for real money. Social online casino brands include House of Fun, Viva Vegas Slots and Doubledown Casino.
It will take new legislation to bring regulated online casinos to Colorado. These are already allowed in other states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan and West Virginia.
By looking at how things work in those states – we can get a good idea of how a future legal casino setup would operate.
There are more than 30 live casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. If CO followed other states, these venues would all be able to apply for licenses to operate online casinos. It is unlikely that you’ll see ‘Gilpin Casino’, ‘Wild Bills Casino’ and so on appear as websites. In the regulated states, the pattern is that local casinos partner with the big online casino brands.
These casinos then appear online as 888 Casino, Bet365 Casino, Unibet Casino and so on. The ties with the brick and mortar venue goes beyond the license. Players can make deposits at the cage of the linked live casino (as well as depositing directly through the apps or casino websites).
With so many potential online casinos in Colorado, competition would be fierce. This would be a boost for players – who would be able to take advantage of many different bonus offers and promotions.
In regulated states, casinos offer a mix of no-deposit free play, and matched deposit bonuses on your first deposits. You’ll also find loyalty rewards and regular promotions on offer. By signing up with several different brands, players can make sure they are always clearing one bonus or another while enjoying their favorite slots and table games online.
Casino games have come a long way since the early days of online gambling. The number of titles, especially slots, has expanded massively. There are also plenty of table games, video poker variants and scratch card style games available.
The biggest single change at online casinos has been the shift from software-based table games to live dealer games. Better networks and computers make it possible to stream games from remote studios based in casinos. You then bet on these using your computer. Live dealer games have a social feel – though they do tend to be slower than the software-based equivalents. You’ll find blackjack, roulette, baccarat and casino poker style games at live dealer online casinos.
If you enjoy slots from WMS, IGT, Aristocrat and others, then you’ll now find many of them at online casinos. In a future regulated online casino market in Colorado, you can expect these to be listed among titles created especially for online use. Slots work well on casino apps, fitting perfectly onto your smartphone screen when you flip into landscape view. There are slots with progressive jackpots, interactive bonus games and games themed on big movie and TV franchises online.
Video poker also has multiple variations online. You’ll find many more titles than just the Jacks or Better or Deuces Wild standards. These include many multi-hand variants, plus games with bonus multipliers (Bonus Poker and others).
New technology has enabled innovative new titles. These include virtual betting games involving horses, soccer and auto-racing. Keno, Bingo, scratch cards and novelty titles (some based on TV game shows) complete the list.
Casinos in Colorado have been legal since 1991. These are located in 3 places, namely Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City. There are also tribal casinos in Colorado, at Ute Mountain. This setup is different to many other states. Instead of a smaller number of large ‘resort’ type venues, Colorado has many smaller casinos – many with a rich history going all the way back to days of pioneers.
Here are the casinos you’ll find, grouped into the 3 areas:
While the options for online casino games are currently limited. There are several other ways to legally gamble online in Colorado.
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests are legal and regulated. These games involve picking line-ups of players and entering them into contests including one-on-one cash games and bigger tournaments. The most popular DFS sites are FanDuel and DraftKings.
You can also legally bet online on horse races. This involves entering pari-mutuel betting pools at tracks around the country. Horse racing betting sites offer data and sometimes live streams of the races. Brands include Bet America, TwinSpires and TVG.
Sports betting was the most recent addition. This went live in May of 2020. Many of the casinos listed above have retail sportsbooks. You can also bet online via sports betting apps anywhere within state lines.
As things stand, there is no legislation on the books or in plan to legalize online casinos in Colorado. With the introduction of sports betting via mobile devices, the Centennial state has recently expanded online gambling significantly. Tax revenues from sports betting could potentially lead to a further expansion – which would pave the way for future legislation covering online casinos and poker rooms.
With so many live casinos in Colorado, competition for licenses would be fierce. This would not only give residents the choice of many major brands – it would mean a big choice of welcome bonus offers too.
In the meantime, there are legal options for online casino fans. Sweepstakes casinos operate with a dual-currency model, keeping them legal under existing sweepstakes contest laws. While their range of games and slots is limited, these are high quality. You can use sweeps cash to play, and if you win (including progressive jackpots), you can exchange these back to dollars and withdraw to your bank.