Colorado’s sportsbooks have grown from making a few hundred thousand dollars to raking in hundreds of millions in wagers. The future is bright for Colorado sportsbooks. Here’s everything bettors need to know about it.
Recent Colorado Sports Betting Updates
Colorado’s online sports betting industry isn’t a slow burn growing over time. Industry developments make headlines and generate what can be valuable hype. Here are some of them.
- Colorado Saw $17M In Revenue In December 2020: Colorado saw total Gross Gaming Revenue of $17.2 million during December, with over $16 million of that revenue from online betting. Almost $90 million wagered on football in the lead up to Super Bowl LV. Overall, Colorado sports betting revenue in 2020 topped $1 billion.
- Colorado Sportsbooks Rebounded After September 2020- September was the first month that online sportsbooks lost money, and they lost a lot: $3.8 million. But once the NFL season started and bettors spent all their free credits, Colorado sportsbooks saw between $8-9 million in net revenue in October and November.
- Wynn Resorts Launched A Colorado Sportsbook App- Wynn Resorts launched its app in Colorado, the second state for the company to launch in. It’s yet another player in an industry that continues to grow.
- Sky Ute Sportsbook Is Launching An E-Sports-Only Sportsbook- Sky Ute Sportsbook secured partnerships with GameCo LLC and U.S. Bookmaking to create an e-sports-exclusive sportsbook. It’d be the first e-sports sportsbook in the United States, making Colorado’s only tribal sportsbook one of its most ambitious innovators.
- CU Boulder Signed A Deal With PointsBet- In September 2020, PointsBet signed a partnership with the University of Colorado at Boulder. It’s the first partnership of its kind in the United States–another first from Colorado’s sports betting industry.
- The Colorado Rockies Signed A Deal With DraftKings- DraftKings partnered with another Colorado professional sports franchise toward the end of 2020. It’s another step in preparing for a strong 2021.
Reviews Of Colorado’s 5 Best Sports Betting Apps & Sites
While Colorado has many sportsbooks, it has a clear top five that’s influential in Colorado and beyond. Here’s what bettors need to know about Colorado’s top five sportsbook brands.
BetRivers Colorado (9.2/10)
- Welcome Bonus: 100% Deposit Match Up To $250
- Availability: Desktop, iOS, Android
- Partnerships: Triple Crown Casinos, JP McGill’s Hotel & Casino
- Key Features: Tiered Rewards Program, Responsible Gaming Resources, Convenient Deposit and Withdrawal Options, Sport Selection Slide Bar, Similar Odds as DraftKings
- Best Deposit Option: Online Banking
- Additional Deposit Options: Credit/Debit Card, BetRivers Play+ Card, PayPal, Cash Deposit
BetRivers’ odds are often identical to DraftKings. But its reward system is good for bettors who can maintain a large bankroll. Its rewards offer basics like special offers all the way to expedited withdrawals and VIP gifts. BetRivers offers boosts on bowl games and the NFL. Bettors will likely continue to find small boosts on the most popular sports and leagues. Between these ongoing bonuses and its reward system, high-dollar bettors have a lot to get out of BetRivers.
FanDuel Colorado (9.2/10)
- Welcome Bonus: $1,000 Risk-Free Bet
- Availability: Desktop, iOS, Android
- Partnerships: Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Golden Gates Casino, Denver Broncos, NHL, Bud Light
- Key Features: Popular Betting Lines, Competitive Underdog Odds, Clear Navigation, Readily Available Boosts, Variety of Promotions, Fantasy Sport Integration, A-Z Sport List
- Best Deposit Option: Bank Transfer
- Additional Deposit Options: Debit/Credit Card, PayPal, Prepaid Card
Between its fantasy sports and sportsbook, FanDuel has a lot to offer its bettors. It often has competitive odds on the underdog, but mostly sticks to mainstream sports. Bettors who enjoy riskier wagers in mainstream sports will find a home in FanDuel Sportsbook.
FanDuel also runs parlay promotions periodically. They’re mostly small parlay promotions on certain sports. Bettors may find college basketball parlay insurance where FanDuel gives bettors the chance to get some money back on a parlay bet. Bettors should keep an eye out for these small but risky parlay bonuses.
PointsBet Colorado (8.8./10)
- Welcome Bonus: $2,000 In Risk-Free Bets with code BIGBONUS
- Availability: Desktop, iOS, Android
- Partnerships: Double Eagle Hotel & Casino, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth, The Pepsi Center, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, KSE’s Altitude TV, Altitude Sports Radio
- Key Features: Two Different Types of Betting, Proprietary PointsBetting Feature, Data-Friendly Betting, Competitive All-Around Odds
- Best Deposit Option: Bank Transfer
- Additional Deposit Options: PayNearMe, PayPal, ACH/E-Check
PointsBet allows bettors to make traditional straight bets. However, bettors can also try PointsBetting. It allows bettors to change the point spread or total points they think will occur during a game. If bettors are right, then they’re rewarded exponentially for their efforts. It’s a feature that bettors with sophisticated statistical analysis skills will likely benefit the most from.
PointsBet also runs parlay boosts and early cashout deals for the NBA. The parlay boost is great for aggressive bettors. In contrast, the early cashout deal is good for bettors who get antsy when their bets begin going south. Look for these small ongoing promotions if you’re interested in alleviating some of the risk on your riskiest wagers.
BetMGM Colorado (8.1/10)
- Welcome Bonus: $600 Risk-Free Bet
- Availability: Desktop, iOS, Android
- Partnerships: Midnight Rose Hotel & Casino, Denver Broncos, MLB, DAZN
- Key Features: Convenient Betslip, Immediate Live Betting Available, Quick Parlay Options, MGM M-Life Rewards Integration
- Best Deposit Option: Online Banking Transfer
- Additional Deposit Options: E-check, Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, Cash Deposit
BetMGM is the MGM Grand’s sportsbook. After its soft launch in Colorado, it integrated its M-Life Rewards with its sportsbook. From that point on, bettors who wagered with BetMGM contributed to their M-Life Reward accounts. BetMGM is a critical site for bettors who frequent the MGM Grand and want to contribute to their rewards accounts.
BetMGM also has an ongoing promotion through 2021 that rewards active bettors $10 free bets every week. If bettors wager $50 the week before, then they can get a free $10 bet the following Monday. BetMGM also has a parlay boost for 2021 that’ll appeal to riskier bettors.
DraftKings Colorado (9.8/10)
- Welcome Bonus: 20% Deposit Match Up To $1000
- Availability: Web Browser, iOS, Android
- Partnerships: Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Mardi Gras Casino, Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Colorado AvidGolfer
- Key Features: Live In-Game Betting, Betting Pools, Statistics, Daily Fantasy Integration, Wide Sports & League Selection
- Best Deposit Option: Bank Transfer
- Additional Deposit Options: Credit/Debit Card, PayPal, Prepaid Card, Wire Transfer, Cash
When it comes to sport selection, DraftKings is a leader in Colorado. It has one of the most diverse sets of sports to wager on year-round. DraftKings tends to have great odds on the favorite to win, too. Bettors who wager conservatively and enjoy sports outside the mainstream will find a good match in DraftKings.
DraftKings also has many running promotions. Besides the welcome bonus, DraftKings has been running promotional odds boosts throughout the NFL season. Bettors can find small promotions like these that add some site credits to their wagers. Keep an eye out for these types of boosts in other major leagues, too.
All Colorado Sportsbook Sites
|Welcome Bonus||Casino Partner||Launch Date|
|DraftKings||20% Deposit Match Up To $1000||Mardi Gras Casino||May 2020|
|FanDuel||$1,000 Risk-Free Bet||Golden Gates Casino||May 2020|
|BetMGM||$600 Risk-Free Bet||Midnight Rose Casino||May 2020|
|BetMonarch||N/A||Monarch Casino||May 2020|
|BetRivers||100% Deposit Match Up To $250||J.P. McGill’s Casino||May 2020|
|FOX Bet||$500 Risk-Free Bet||LadyLuck Casino||May 2020|
|SBK||N/A||Christmas Casino & Inn At BroncoBilly’s||June2020|
|Sky Ute Sportsbook||N/A||Sky Ute Casino Resort||June 2020|
|Circa Sports||N/A||Century Casino||July 2020|
|BetWildwood||200% Deposit Match Up To $200||Wildwood Casino||July2020|
|Elite Sportsbook||$500 Risk-Free Bet||Red Dolly Casino||August 2020|
|theScore Bet||$500 Risk-Free Bet||The Gilpin Hotel||September 2020|
|Betfred Sports||$500 Risk-Free Bet||Saratoga Casino||September 2020|
|William Hill||$500 Risk-Free Bet||Isle Of Capri Casino||September 2020|
|Sportsbetting.com||200% Deposit Match Up To $500||Johnny Nolan’s||September 2020|
|PointsBet||$2,000 In 2 Risk-Free Bets||Double Eagle Casino||November 2020|
How To Place A Bet In Colorado
Placing a bet in Colorado may be intimidating for new bettors. But it’s made up of a few straightforward steps. Here’s how bettors can make their first bets.
How To Choose A Colorado Sportsbook
There are a few ways to pick a sportsbook. Bettors can find the best odds, best reward programs, or the best welcome bonuses to cash in on. Bettors should decide what’s most important, then pick a sportsbook that matches their priorities.
How To Create A Sportsbook Account
Registering for a sportsbook is mostly like registering for any other website, but with more personal information. Bettors must provide their social security numbers to complete their registration. It ensures sportsbooks match payments to individual identities–and don’t pay criminals or excluded bettors.
How To Verify Your Location
Most Colorado sportsbooks do this automatically. Some require bettors to download a geolocation plugin. That keeps sportsbooks from letting out-of-state bettors use their online sportsbooks.
How To Deposit
Find the deposit option near the account section of any sportsbook–often in the top right corner of the screen. Select the desired deposit method, enter the amount, then place your first wager.
How To Place A Bet
Find a line and select the part of the line you want to bet on. Select everything you want to be included in your bet slip, then decide how much you want to wager. Sportsbooks display potential winnings, so bettors don’t have to worry about the math. Just hit submit, and keep your fingers crossed for your teams.
Colorado Legal Sportsbooks
Legal sportsbooks are safer than illegal or unlicensed sportsbooks. They’re subject to strict industry controls that unlicensed sportsbooks are free to ignore.
Colorado licensed sportsbooks are required to keep a cash reserve to ensure they can pay their bettors. Unlicensed sportsbooks–and small-time bookies–don’t have to worry about effective operations. If they go under, bettors are denied their winnings, and bettors have no legal recourse against them. Colorado licensed sportsbooks offer a security net that’s absent from illegal operations.
But remember, sportsbook winnings are taxable. Bettors report gambling winnings on their tax returns. Sportsbooks also send the IRS a W-2 that details winnings above $600 and wins on 300-1 odds. There’s no way of getting out of reporting sportsbook winnings to the IRS.
Colorado Sports Betting Revenue
Colorado sports betting revenues paint a rosy picture for 2021. Sports betting started slowly during the pandemic but picked up steam when the NFL returned.
October–the NFL’s first full month of games–generated more tax revenue than the first five months combined. November continued that trend, where sportsbooks’ tax bills were almost as large as October, and the NFL made up almost 40% of all wagers. It should make bettors excited to see the financial impact of Colorado’s first sports betting Super Bowl and 2021 NFL season.
Colorado sports betting may slow in spring and summer 2021. But the fall should bring Colorado’s sports betting industry to new heights and beyond. It’ll be our first peek at the peaks and valleys of Colorado sports betting.
How Colorado Compares To Other States
Many states around Colorado haven’t legalized sports betting yet. (Does anyone think Kansas is going to make the leap into sports betting?) But there are other successful states that Colorado is outperforming in a few areas.
For example, Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019–a year before Colorado sports betting went live. Iowans placed their first wagers August 15, 2019. They beat Colorado by nine months, giving them plenty of time to generate large amounts of revenue. But a peek at November 2020 numbers shows how quickly Colorado sports betting is growing:
|Sports Betting Gross Revenue||$18,354,655.08||$8,144,095.52|
|Sports Betting Taxes||$793,820.04||$549,726.46|
|Industry Age As Of November 2020||7 Months||1 Year, 3 Months|
|Number Of Licensed Operators||17 Online, 12 Retail||15 Online, 18 Retail|
Colorado Sports Betting Successes And Failures
Even though Colorado’s sports betting industry is younger than Iowa’s, it raked in $10 million more in gross revenue and almost $250,000 more in tax revenue. Iowan bettors had to create online sports betting accounts in person, while Coloradans didn’t. This allowed Colorado online sports betting to take off and leave Iowa behind. However, Iowa’s in-person requirement went away on January 1, 2021, so it may catch up to Colorado in the new year.
During the wave of sports betting legalization, Colorado has had some clear victories and some hard misses. Here are some of the things they did right and wrong.
Colorado Sports Betting Successes
Colorado took a big step in the right direction by allowing online sports betting and remote registration from the beginning.
About 98% of Colorado’s November 2020 wagers were made online. Not only did the online market have time to grow from the beginning, but bettors in any part of the state could create an account and bet on games they were interested in. Requiring bettors to drive to one of Colorado’s three gaming cities or to Sky Ute Casino would alienate many bettors. Colorado avoided one of Iowa’s mistakes and has stronger financials for it.
Colorado Online Gambling Improvements
Colorado seems to have nailed its sports betting launch. The next step in expanding online gaming would likely be legalizing online casinos. However, they come with more baggage than sports betting.
Putting a casino in every Coloradan’s hand would require controls similar to those imposed by sportsbooks. Tying each account to a single identity would give bettors the same self-exclusion options they have at sportsbooks. The boost in gaming revenue would have to be balanced against the impact on problem gamblers. But Colorado could pull it off if it strategized ahead of time.
Colorado’s Sports Betting Legalization Effort
Sports betting came easily to Colorado. Once the US Supreme Court ruled PASPA unconstitutional in 2018, the Colorado Legislature seemed to go to work shortly after. In May 2019, the Colorado Legislature released Propositions CC and DD to be decided during the 2019 election. The bill passed in a 51/49 split. However, that doesn’t reflect Colorado’s usual 60/40 enthusiasm for gaming.
Taxation Of Gaming Sites
One of the greatest hurdles Colorado’s sports betting bill had to overcome was the language in its opening line. Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights requires any bill that introduces a new tax on anything to begin with the following words:
“Shall state taxes be increased by…”
The new tax didn’t go to Colorado consumers. It was the 10% levied on Colorado sportsbooks. But a glance at that first line in the ballot box proved consequential. Tax increases are unpopular, and the misconception that Colorado’s sports betting bill was a new tax for ordinary citizens almost killed it at the ballot box.
Colorado Amenable To Gaming Expansion
But Colorado’s true feelings about gambling are evident and gaming measures passed before and after Prop DD. In 1990, Coloradans voted to allow casinos in three cities in a 57/43 split. 30 years later, Coloradans voted to allow its casino cities to set their own game and bet limits in a 60/40 split. They’re amenable to gambling expansion, and sports betting was no exception.
Timeline Of Colorado Sports Betting
Colorado sports betting came swiftly after PASPA’s repeal. Here are the major sports betting milestones from its inception:
- May 14, 2018: The US Supreme Court rules PASPA unconstitutional. States are free to regulate sports betting.
- May 20, 2019: The Colorado Legislature releases Proposition DD, Colorado’s sports betting legalization bill. It will appear on 2019’s ballot.
- November 7, 2019: The Colorado Department of Revenue announces Proposition DD’s legalization. The Colorado Division of Gaming becomes the sports betting industry’s regulatory body.
- May 1, 2020: Colorado sports betting goes live with four sportsbooks: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and BetRivers.
- September 8, 2020: The University of Colorado at Boulder secures a partnership with PointsBet. It’s the first time a Division I athletics program has partnered with a sportsbook.
- September 24, 2020: The Colorado Rockies secure a partnership with DraftKings. It’s the first sportsbook partnership the Rockies have ever made.
Denver is home to several popular sports franchises. However, Colorado’s university teams have strong followings, too. Here’s everything bettors need to know about betting on Colorado’s slew of sports teams.
Colorado Professional Sports Teams
Most of Colorado’s professional sports teams are based in Denver. And the three leagues that drew the most betting handle are each based in Denver.
The most visible Colorado team is probably the Denver Broncos. In 2016, the Broncos won their third Super Bowl championship. It was also the year that Broncos star quarterback, Payton Manning, decided to retire.
The Broncos have been having a hard time since Payton Manning’s retirement. 2017 was one of the worst seasons in Broncos history, and 2018 was similarly difficult. They had a 7-9 record in 2019, and as of this writing, the Broncos are last in their division.
But professional football made up 38.3% of Colorado’s total betting handle in November 2020. It’s the most popular sport for Coloradans to bet on.
The Nuggets are Colorado’s professional basketball team, and they’ve been having a rough season, too. At the time of this writing, they’re 2-4. (Although, they’ve won their 10th straight game against the Timberwolves.) Losing key players to free agency and offseason departures is never easy. But the Nuggets are placing hope in their rookies to grow into the void left behind by their experienced teammates.
4.2% of Colorado wagers in November 2020 were on professional basketball. It’s a step down from professional football’s dominance, but basketball remains one of the ten most popular sports to bet on in Colorado.
The Colorado Rockies fill the baseball void in Denver, and anyone who’s been to Coors Field knows how popular they are. Baseball didn’t crack the top ten most popular sports to bet on in November. But it made up 22.7% of all wagers in September 2020. Bettors will likely have that same enthusiasm for baseball when spring training starts in 2021.
Colorado College Sports Teams
There are two major college teams in Colorado, and they make one fierce rivalry. The University of Colorado at Boulder has a long rivalry with Colorado State University in Fort Collins. (Anyone who was lucky enough to see the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown knows that.)
Both schools have popular football teams. NCAA football betting was almost 10% of all November 2020 betting. College football is always popular, but it could’ve been helped in 2020 by the Buffs’ solid season.
The Buffs go through cycles of stellar performance and subpar play. But with a 4-2 overall record in the PAC-12, the 2020-2021 season seems to be off to a good start. In contrast, the Rams are stuck at a 1-3 overall standing in the Mountain West.
Coloradans can wager on college teams. However, they cannot place prop bets on college games. Colorado’s sports betting bill attempted to protect college game integrity by disallowing wagers that could be affected by an athlete’s choices. It’d be easy for a financially vulnerable student to miss a field goal or two on purpose, then cash in on himself. Rather than solely relying on the schools, the Colorado Legislature shut that door to that behavior. Well, shut it as tight as it could, anyway.
Other Sports To Bet On In Colorado
Even though it’s not a Colorado sport, table tennis has remained a popular sport through 2020 and early 2021. Table tennis wagers made up 5.4% of Colorado’s betting handle in November 2020. That’s more than professional and college basketball. Table tennis gathered a following when it was one of a handful of sports available during the lockdowns. That following seems to be quite loyal.
Colorado also has a professional lacrosse team, but bettors may not follow the Colorado Mammoths in great detail.
Or at all.
But Coloradans can find even more obscure sports to bet on. DraftKings has a particularly wide range of sports and leagues to choose from. From Turkish Basketball to Herre Handbold Ligaen in Denmark, bettors can find sports and leagues wholly contained in Colorado’s ‘other’ category.
No matter a bettor’s taste, there’s something in Colorado’s market that’ll match their eclectic tastes.
Colorado Sports Betting FAQs
Yes. Prop DD legalized online sports betting immediately. That maximized the number of bettors who could try sports betting immediately. It also gave sportsbooks the best chance of succeeding during the pandemic–a lucky break that other states weren’t so fortunate to have. (Sorry Michigan and Iowa.)
21. Bettors only have to be 18 to participate in daily fantasy sports. However, the sports betting age is higher. Sports betting is viewed as more of a gamble than daily fantasy sports. Besides, the image of high school seniors betting on the Broncos in Calculus probably made legislators’ stomachs turn.
The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming. They’re the ones who wrote the rules governing Colorado’s sports betting industry. That includes the pre-launch security audits, required cash reserves, and sportsbook executives’ background checks. They can also haul misbehaving sportsbook operators before a committee to issue fines or license suspensions. The Division of Gaming has teeth, and it’s not afraid to use them.
No. Bettors can come from out of town to place their bets. However, they must be within Colorado’s borders to make their bets go through. Each sportsbook has a geofence around the states it’s allowed to operate in. It keeps Coloradans and their visitors in and everyone from Kansas and New Mexico out.
Yes. Mobile betting has been a staple of Colorado’s sports betting industry. Mobile sports betting has been a massive part of Colorado’s sports betting industry and probably will be in the future. It’s hard to beat that convenience.
Yes. Online sportsbooks and their apps often boast about their end-to-end encryption. It makes sure that hackers can’t see what bettors are typing into their sportsbooks. That security also makes sure all hackers can get from intercepting bettor data is gibberish.
More Resources On Colorado Sports Betting
If you’re curious about the details of Colorado’s sports betting industry, here are some additional resources:
- Supreme Court opinion on PASPA repeal: Why the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey and allowed each state to regulate sports betting.
- Colorado Division of Gaming Sports Betting Rules: These are the rules that Colorado sportsbooks must abide by to earn and keep their sports betting licenses.
- House Bill 19-1327: Better known as Proposition DD, this is the House Bill that Coloradans voted to legalize in the 2019 election.