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Colorado Casinos Online and Offline

Colorado

Colorado is home to many casinos, which have been operating in several mountain towns for some time now. But it is only recently that the state has started offering the kind of gaming options that are likely to draw in tourists looking to get some gambling action. A loosening of the state’s notoriously strict gaming laws allowed resorts to start offering more games at higher stakes, a move that makes it a much more attractive option for tourism – especially if you also enjoy the scenery or the skiing afforded by the Rocky Mountains.

Casinos Flourish, But Only Within Limits

Colorado is a relatively new addition to the list of states with casino gambling. The first casinos opened only in 1991, coming to towns such as Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek.

However, these venues weren’t exactly like the palatial resorts found in Las Vegas. The operations had to work under some pretty restrictive rules, limiting everything from the games that could be played to the hours they could stay open.

At first, only electronic games as well as blackjack, Let It Ride Poker, Three Card Poker and some forms of poker were allowed in the state. While that might sound like a reasonable selection, there was an additional restriction that limited maximum bets to $5 – a number that, for many players, hardly made the casinos a worthwhile trip at all. And to make matters worse, they were forced to close every day from 2 am to 8 am, making them more like standard businesses with gaming options than vacation resorts.

Still, the venues proved popular, even without the range of bets you’d find in most places. Over time, pressure to allow the owners of these establishments offer a bigger range of options built, and while lawmakers in the state weren’t willing to remove their regulations entirely, they did take steps to significantly increase the level of play allowed.

In the summer of 2009, the new laws went into effect. They allowed for craps and roulette to be played, and for facilities to stay open 24 hours a day. Perhaps most significantly, however, the maximum bets were raised to $100 – a figure that, while still not enough to attract the biggest high rollers, was more than enough for the general gambling audience to live with.

Today, there are around 40 casinos in operation throughout the state of Colorado. The largest resort destination for gamblers is Black Hawk, which is home to most of the biggest resorts in the state. These include the Ameristar Hotel & Casino, the Isle of Capri, and Mardi Gras.

Both Central City and Cripple Creek offer plenty of options as well. The former is home to the Teller House, a converted historic hotel, while the latter features options like the Wild Horse and Colorado Grande. There are also two Native American resorts in the state that operate on essentially the same rules as their commercial competitors: the Sky Ute Lodge in Ignacio, and the Ute Mountain Resort in Towaoc.

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Online Casino Regulation Unlikely

With so much interest in gaming expansion, you might think that Colorado would be at the forefront of the Internet gambling revolution. But, at least so far, the state has seemed relatively uninterested in regulating or licensing online sites.

There certainly haven’t been any efforts to push for Internet gambling legislation that have made headlines in the state, though there have been a few flurries of interest. In 2013, lawmakers (supported by some top officials at casinos in the state) managed to draft legislation to allow for Internet poker. But the effort was introduced rather quietly, and it died in much the same way. Since there, the level of effort in the state has been minimal.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t play online if you are located within Colorado. While there may not be any licensing program for sites in the state, there are foreign operators that are happy to take players from here on their sites. Since there are no laws specifically preventing individuals from signing up and playing real money games over the Internet, the state is typically considered a “grey market” in the industry: some sites stay out because they aren’t authorized to be there, but others allow Coloradans to open real money accounts. These operators are above board and legal and are fully licensed and regulated in reputable jurisdictions.

Future Bright for State Gaming Industry

When it comes to land-based casinos, all signs are positive here. In recent times, revenue numbers have consistently set records, buoyed by a resurgent economy.

Online casinos in Colorado still don't seem like much of a priority here, however. While states like Pennsylvania and California appear to potentially be on the verge of putting regulations into place, Colorado isn’t even in the next group of states that appear like they could see significant movement in the years to come. The most positive thing we can say here is that there doesn’t seem to be much anti-gambling sentiment in the state, either, so if the national tide turns toward regulating the industry, the state may well jump on that bandwagon.

The one place where there has been some talk – as in many states – is in the area of daily fantasy sports games. While the state has yet to take any actions against the industry, the Colorado Gaming Association has said that they believe the fantasy sites should be regulated. Like in many corners of the gambling world, this likely signals that the casinos don’t necessarily want DFS to go away, but rather that they want a fair crack at a piece of that rapidly growing betting segment.

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