With the recent passage of Prop DD, you can now bet on sports in Colorado. Additionally, there are three cities in Colorado that have casinos where you can gamble legally on sports, on slot machines and on a restricted selection of table games. These casinos can only be found in the historical districts in:
- Cripple Creek
- Black Hawk
- Central City
Unlike other forms of betting that you’ll find in the casinos in Colorado, sports betting has no limit, so you can bet as much or as little as you like on any sporting event.
The casinos in these three cities are only allowed to offer “limited gaming.” Limited gaming means that casinos have the following restrictions:
- Only blackjack, slot machines, craps, poker or roulette can be offered at any casino.
- The maximum wager for the above games is $100.
- There is no maximum wager for sports betting.
High rollers will struggle to find the gambling thrills they seek outside of sports betting. That being said, Colorado also has a well-established horse racing scene that will allow you to make large bets if betting on other types of sports is not something you’re interested in.
Horse Racing in Colorado
Horse racing is legal in Colorado and has been since the passage in 1991 of a law that allowed horse racing to make its way back to Colorado.
The reopening of Arapahoe Park, the only horse racing venue in all of Colorado, took place at this time. Arapahoe Park has remained open ever since and offers a wide variety of options for horse racing enthusiasts.
The law allows for simulcasting of other horse races at Arapahoe Park. Simulcasting is simply the showing of other horse races around the country on TV as they’re happening live, usually popular races like the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes or the Kentucky Derby.
You can bet on these popular races and other popular races throughout the year thanks to simulcasting. Arapahoe Park will take your bets on any simulcast race just as it will on the live races that take place throughout the year.
Here are all your betting options:
- Online or through a mobile gambling website.
- Through an off-track betting site, also known as an OTB.
- In person at Arapahoe Park.
Betting Online in Colorado
If you prefer to bet online using a smartphone, tablet, desktop computer or laptop computer, then you’ll only be able to access sportsbooks. You cannot bet on poker, blackjack or other forms of gambling online — for that, you need to visit an in-person casino and make your bets there.
These apps and websites work in a way that is very similar to how they work in other states that have legalized gambling online or through a mobile app.
You’ll need to ensure that you are within the state lines of Colorado to make your sports bets. This is a strict requirement.
If you try to access any Colorado sportsbooks while in another state, you won’t be able to make any bets, and you might not even be able to withdraw your money.
You must download the app or log into the website, make a profile, deposit some funds, confirm your age and then wait for approval. You’ll be able to gamble as long as the website or app can confirm that you are located within the state of Colorado.
In order to ensure that you’re in the state of Colorado, these websites and apps use the geolocation (GPS) functionality of your device, whether that be your mobile device or your computer.
One of the things they will check is your IP address, but there are other features that they will check to make sure you are in Colorado. If you try to gamble on a Colorado gambling website or gaming app from another state, you likely will not be able to do so.
There’s no way you can get around this requirement. It’s absolutely the case that the gambling site or app will know if you’re in another state or another country when you try to access the app, so don’t even try unless you’re in Colorado.
That means you should avoid spoofing your location or using a proxy site to get around this requirement.
Do I Have to Be a Resident of Colorado to Gamble in Colorado?
No, you do not need to be a resident of Colorado to gamble either online or in person at Arapahoe Park or at any of the casinos in the state. In fact, you do not even need to be a resident of the US.
Anyone can gamble legally at any of these venues as long as they can prove their age and have the money to do so.
All you need to do is be within state lines to make your bet and collect your winnings. Because there are several different ways you can gamble in Colorado, you actually have a variety of options for how you can approach this.
How large can my bets be?
In the state of Colorado, you can in theory make as large of a bet as you want on any sporting contest, but your bets on other forms of gambling (poker, blackjack, slots, etc.) are restricted in the casinos to a maximum wager of $100.
Prop DD did not set a limit on how large sports bets can be, which is great for sports gamblers, but that doesn’t mean individual casinos and apps can’t set restrictions of their own.
You’ll need to check with the gambling website, gambling app or casino that you choose to gamble with to find out how large your bets can be.
Can I Make a Bet with a Credit Card?
This isn’t actually clear from the language of Prop DD, so it is up to individual casinos, gambling websites and gambling apps to make that determination for themselves.
However, it is the case in many other states where sports betting and other forms of gambling are legal that bets with credit cards are allowed.
That being said, if you don’t have cash on hand to make a bet that you’re willing to lose, you might not want to make a bet on a credit card and might want to think carefully about whether you should be gambling.
If you think you might be a problem gambler or might need help to stop gambling, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national helpline — 1-800-662-4357.
This service is free of charge and is designed to get you in contact with someone who can help you find the resources you need to stop problem gambling.
How Do I Make My Bets?
One option is to go to any of the casinos in Colorado that have a sportsbook and make your bets on either a sporting event or at the tables or slots there.
If you decide to go to one of the many casinos available to you in the three cities where gambling is legal in Colorado (Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek), you can focus on your game of choice and your bet.
The other option is to make a bet on the many sports betting apps that have been rolled out since the passage of Prop DD. You can access these apps on your device of choice, including your smartphone, a tablet, or a desktop or laptop computer.
Betting on an app is a great option if you don’t want to spend the time or money making the trip to the three cities mentioned above, and it’s also a great option if you live in another state and just want to make a short trip across the border.
Gambling in Colorado is absolutely not restricted to residents of the state, so even if you live in another country, you can gamble in Colorado either in person or through a gambling app.
The big advantage to betting on an app is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home (if you live in Colorado) or from a friend’s home in Colorado. As long as you are within the state’s borders, you can gamble online through approved websites and betting apps.
What Kind of Bets Can I Make?
There are many types of bets available when it comes to sports betting and traditional forms of gambling, but the types of bets you’ll actually be able to make in Colorado are going to be limited by the individual casino or sports betting app.
Here are some popular bets that you’ll find in sports betting:
- In-play bets
- Point spread
- Proposition bets
- Quinella bets
- Exacta bets
- Trifecta bets
- Superfecta bets
- Win bets
- Place bets
- Show bets
How Can I Get Started?
To get started, make sure you are over the age of 21 (the legal gambling age in Colorado) and that you are physically within the state lines of Colorado. You’ll need to have proof of your age, so you’ll need a photo ID.
Then, all you have to do is either visit any of the in-person casinos in the three cities where gambling is legal in Colorado, or you can download your sports betting app of choice to your preferred smart device. You’ll only be able to make sports bets online.
Finally, you’ll need to have your bank information and/or credit card information.
Will My Winnings Be Reported to the IRS?
Yes, your winnings will need to be reported for tax purposes to the IRS. This holds true even if you end up losing more money than you win.
If you lose more money than you win but do not report your winnings, you can end up in trouble with the IRS because your gambling venue of choice, whether a casino in person or an online gaming app, will be required to report your winnings to the IRS no matter how much you win.
When you file your taxes, if your losses are higher than your winnings, you may end up owing less tax or no tax, but if you don’t report the winnings and losses in the first place, you may run into trouble.
If you win above $600 or if your payment is 300 times your wager or more at any sports betting venue or casino in Colorado, the venue will report the winnings to the IRS for tax purposes, so even if you fail to report them yourself, the IRS will still be aware that you won money.
What’s important to note is that the venue may not be required to report any of your losses, so if you end up losing money at the track, the IRS may not know it unless you report this information on your yearly taxes.
If you win above $600 or if your winnings are 300 times or more the amount you wagered, you’ll need to fill out a W-2G form at the venue at which you are gambling (this form is a wage reporting form for gambling). Winnings below these amounts must still be reported.
If you win above $5,000, the track will automatically withhold 28% of your winnings for federal taxes and 4% for state taxes.
Keep in mind that even if you win less than $5,000, you will still owe taxes on your winnings, so you may want to consider holding a portion of your winnings in a separate account for this purpose, or you may want to consider making an estimated payment on your winnings.
Estimated payments are quarterly payments that you can make to the IRS at any time of the year.
The IRS requires these payments from some people at least once every three months (quarterly), but you may not be required to make these payments on your winnings at the end of the year if you lose more than you win throughout the entire year.
It is possible you can make your payments as part of your normal tax filings at the end of the year, but paying early never hurts, and the IRS is happy to take your money early. Speak with a tax professional to learn more about what you should do in your unique situation.
Problem Gambling and Gambling Addiction Resources
Not everyone can gamble in a way that is healthy. If you think you might have a problem with gambling or might be addicted to gambling, there is help available to you.
Call the national helpline to learn more at 1-800-662-4357 or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. These services are free.