Online poker is not legal in Colorado, yet.
Voters did pass Proposition DD on Nov. 5, 2019, essentially legalizing retail and online sports betting in Colorado. However, online poker and casino games were not attached.
The last legislative effort to bring legal online poker sites to Colorado was in 2013, and it didn’t even get to a vote. That said, the hope is that legal online sports betting can pave the way for other forms of online gambling, including online poker in Colorado.
Fortunately, poker fans can legally enjoy cash games and tournaments online via Global Poker. This room uses a sweepstakes gambling model — and operates legally around the country.
The successful launch of an online sports betting market in Colorado might change the opinion of lawmakers in the state and restart the conversation about online casinos and online poker.
Fortunately, there is one legal online poker option in Colorado. You can legally enjoy cash games and tournaments online via Global Poker.
That’s because it uses a legal sweepstakes gambling model to operate legally all across the US.
On the surface, Global Poker looks like any other online poker site. There is a full range of cash games, tournaments, and sit and go’s with players from around the country competing.
The key difference is Global Poker’s sweepstakes model. Global Poker operates under laws designed for sweepstakes contests. Although you can win real money and withdraw it from Global Poker, you can’t use real money on the site. Instead, there is a dual currency system keeping the games legal.
Instead of making a traditional deposit, you buy “gold coins,” which you can use for “fun” play only. These gold coins have no monetary value, but when you purchase them, you are given “sweeps coins” for free. Sweeps coins have a cash value you can play with or withdraw from the site.
To stay legal, sweepstakes gambling sites need to give you a chance to enter for free. Global Poker will give you a small amount of sweeps coins if you write a letter to its registered address with your account information.
The Stars Group, a global leader in online gaming and the company behind the world’s largest poker site, PokerStars, has launched online poker operations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The company has also announced its intention to enter Michigan’s online poker market when it launches after signing a deal to operate online gambling verticals for a federally recognized Native tribe in that state.
The Stars Group’s aggressive approach to expansion into states with legalized online poker suggests if Colorado approves the launch of online poker, PokerStars will be headed here.
The same should hold true for Caesars Entertainment’s WSOP.com, which appears to have interests in any and all states approving the launch of online poker as well.
Like Caesars, MGM is a US casino giant without a property in Colorado. However, it does have online gaming agreements in place with GVC Holdings, partypoker’s parent company, which suggests the partypoker and BetMGM brands are interested in expanding everywhere it can in the US, including Colorado.
Colorado isn’t a state dominated by larger US casino corporations, therefore the market is wide open. Should lawmakers ultimately get behind the idea of legal online poker there’s really no telling which existing online poker operators, large and small, will partner with Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk casinos to launch inside the state.
The Multi-State Internet Gaming Association agreement allows New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware online poker sites to share player pools.
This agreement is considered vital to the survival of the otherwise small independent markets.
Should Colorado lawmakers pass a bill legalizing online poker it may include language regarding Colorado’s participation in the agreement.
That would make multi-state poker a possibility in Colorado. In fact, it’s likely a must-have for the local online poker market to survive long-term.
The population in Colorado is larger than that of Nevada and Delaware, but smaller than New Jersey. Online poker barely survived in these states when they were on their own. Pooling players with other states seems like the best hope for a robust local online poker scene in Colorado.
Online poker in Colorado will likely run under similar restrictions.
That means online poker operators without a physical presence in the state will need to find a local casino partner in order to legally launch.
While several will undoubtedly do so, none have to this point. Deals like this aren’t likely to be signed until legal online poker moves closer to becoming a reality inside the state.
Penn National Gaming does have a multi-year agreement with The Stars Group for online gaming market access in several states. Colorado is not currently one of those states.
Since Penn National Gaming operates Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk in Colorado, that agreement could be extended to include CO online poker under an Ameristar Black Hawk license should online poker be legalized in Colorado.
Colorado isn’t likely to try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to online poker.
That means once legislation authorizing the launch of the first CO online poker sites passes, legal online poker will launch as a fenced-in market inside Colorado.
Players who are 21 years or older and within state lines will be eligible to play online poker cash games and tournaments.
Online poker operators will use geolocation technology to ensure every player on these sites are inside the state.
Players will need to sign up for an online account with the operator of their choice and go through identity and age verification processes before they can play.
In the future, state lawmakers may enter into a multi-state compact to allow operators to share player pools with online poker sites in other states with legal online poker.
Colorado online poker sites will most likely offer free play to attract new customers, just like most legal online poker sites do in other states.
Giving free bonus cash as an incentive to sign up has proven to be a successful poker marketing strategy in other states.
PokerStars Pennsylvania offers you $30 in free play as long as you sign up using the PokerStars PA bonus code FREE30 and deposit at least $20.
The offer includes $20 in free play and $10 in Spin and Go tickets.
You also get a ticket to a depositor freeroll event on the last Sunday of every month, featuring cash prizes and no entry fee.
You can also use the promo code STARS600 when you make their first deposit (or first three qualifying deposits within 60 days) to earn a 100% deposit match bonus of up to $600.
You’ll need to earn redemption points to unlock the bonus. However, you get 5 points for every $1 paid in tournament fees or rake in most games and PokerStars PA releases the first $10 in bonus cash into your account once you earn your first 100 redemption points.
You can only receive the free-money bonus or the deposit bonus, not both.
PokerStars CO should roll out with something similar. Other online poker sites launching in Colorado will try to compete with this bonus structure.
Colorado online poker operators are going to do everything they can to make getting money on and off the sites as easy as possible.
That means offering a variety of deposit and withdrawal options. This will include credit and debit cards, third-party payment processors like PayPal, and cash at CO casinos.
CO sportsbooks plan to be as flexible as possible when it comes to depositing.
Standard deposit options at online sportsbooks include:
Expect CO online poker operators to offer the same options.
Withdrawing tends to be slightly more challenging with many payment processors only sending money in one direction.
That means standard withdrawal options tend to be limited. Common withdrawal methods at sportsbooks are:
Expect CO online poker operators to offer the same options, but the exact methods available will vary from operator to operator.
Of course, customer support options will be available to make getting your money on and off CO online poker sites as easy as possible.
The truth is there is a healthy and vibrant live poker scene in Colorado. In 1990, Colorado voters approved limited-stakes gaming in the former mining towns of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk.
The first limited-stakes casinos launched in these cities in October 1991. The maximum bet allowed was only $5 and casinos had to close from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. Slots, blackjack and poker were the only games authorized.
A small poker scene started and in 2008 it expanded when CO voters passed Amendment 50, raising the maximum bet to $100 and allowing the casinos to stay open 24 hours. Craps and roulette games were also authorized at the casinos.
There are now six live card rooms in Colorado, including:
A proposal is also in the works that would allow Colorado casinos to remove the $100 betting limit. That could see the Colorado live poker scene expand even further.
Any further gambling expansion should be considered a plus for online poker. As CO laws regarding gambling are further relaxed the chances that online poker will be seriously considered increase.
There’s a decent sized live poker scene in Colorado with six live poker rooms operating across the state.
Walk into any one of the Colorado poker rooms on this list, and you’ll find securing a seat at affordable stakes is as easy as asking for one.
Ameristar Black Hawk’s Poker Room has 22 tables. It offers variety of games and limits around the clock, seven days a week, including:
Amenities include tableside food service, in-room chair massages, mobile charging ports at every seat and comps for live poker play.
Comps include $.50 mycash® (=$1 comp for food) per hour of live play.
Jackpots and High Hands promotions include a Primary Bad Beat Jackpot and $25,000 Mini Bad Beat Jackpot.
The Golden Gates Casino Poker Parlour has 18 tables. It offers a variety of spread cash games and tournaments.
In fact, the Golden Gates Casino and Poker Parlour is founder and home of the Colorado Poker Championship and an internationally-televised Heartland Poker Tour event and a Mid-States Poker Tour event.
The Isle Casino Poker Room has seven tables. It offers a variety of cash games and tournaments around the clock.
Amenities include free beverages and tableside food service, 10 flat screen TVs around the room, dedicated restrooms, smoking terrace, and a cigarette and snack vending machine.
The Midnight Rose Poker Room has nine tables open Tuesday through Sunday. It spreads $1/$2-100 and $1/$2-$20 Texas Hold’em daily with $5/$10 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo every Thursday and $5/$10 Omaha Hi-Lo every Saturday, plus weekend tournaments.
Amenities include meal service.
The Sky Ute Casino Poker Room has six tables offering spread cash games and tournaments.
The Ute Mountain Casino Poker Room has eight tables offering spread cash games and tournaments.
No, online poker is not yet legal in Colorado. A bill seeking to legalize online poker fell flat in 2013. However, the legalization of online sports betting in the state has renewed hopes that legal online poker will one day come to Colorado.
It is hard to say when the first online poker sites will go live in Colorado.
Gambling must be expanded to include online poker, which will most likely require a referendum. Then it’s a matter of passing online poker legislation and coming up with state rules and guidelines to govern online poker. A licensing process will then take place and operators will need some time to get Colorado-specific online poker technology running.
All that means legal online poker should go live in Colorado within a year of Colorado voters supporting the idea of its launch.
Not at first. Colorado online poker will likely start as a fenced-in market, which means only players inside state lines can play.
However, state lawmakers should quickly enter into a multi-state compact to allow operators to share player pools with other sites in other states. The health of the local market may depend on it.
That means multi-state poker and the ability to play against players in other states is a strong possibility down the road.
Only players inside Colorado’s state lines will be eligible to play in online poker cash games and tournaments on licensed Colorado online poker sites.
Operators will use geolocation technology to ensure this. No VPN can get around this tech.
Players will also need to sign up for an account with the operator of their choice and go through identity and age verification before playing.
No, but you do have to be in Colorado to play. Resident or not, you can sign up for an online poker account and play, as long as you’re inside state lines.
You will see Texas Hold’em and Omaha at online poker rooms in Colorado.
There will likely be several tournaments, including bounty tournaments and turbos. You might even find fast-fold cash games and lottery-style Sit and Go tournaments.
However, you aren’t likely to find many other poker variants. Colorado online poker rooms may promise to spread different games, but with few players playing anything other than Hold’em or Omaha, they won’t run often.
Yes, Colorado online poker games will be as fair as they come.
Online poker operators will use random number generators to deal the cards and Colorado gaming regulators will test this technology.
Online poker sites don’t have an interest in one player winning over another. Plus, they have strict security in place to prevent collusion, bot play and anything else illegal.
The state is planning to charge operators a 10% tax on legal sports betting revenue in the state. You can expect something similar if online poker is ever legalized in Colorado.