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Should online casinos be legalized in Colorado?

Should the state of colorado pass legislation to legalize online casinos in the midst of a global pandemic? Find out in our detailed article

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The covid-19 pandemic shook the world in 2020. Where some businesses suffered major blows, others thrived. The online gambling industry is one of the businesses that thrived during the global pandemic.

Traditional brick-and-mortar casinos saw little to no customers during the pandemic. At a time when maintaining distance was crucial and most casinos closed down, avid gamblers took to online casinos.

Online casinos have always been popular among gamblers. Unlike their land-based counterparts, online casinos offer a number of advantages and benefits to dedicated players. Convenience and accessibility to slot machines, table games, and playing cards are some of the pros of online casinos.

Online gambling is legal in certain states in the U.S, Colorado has not officially legalized it. A general overview of online Colorado casinos reveals several operators from bestcoloradocasinosites.com provide gambling services. But these services are not officially recognized or even legal by state law.

Colorado authorities do allow online sports betting on horse races and Daily Fantasy Leagues. But players will not find a legal online casino for slots, table games, and cards. The current status could change moving forward when the benefits of online casinos are recognized by authorities, especially during the pandemic. But it remains to be seen.

Gambling in Colorado:

The state of Colorado does not legalize gambling. According to state law, gambling is prohibited, but there are some exceptions. Social gambling, licensed gaming, horse racing, and the lottery are considered legal. Any activity outside of the legal venues results in charges.

Social Gambling:

An integral section of the law. Social gambling is described as any game, transaction, or wager incidental to a bona fide relationship between individuals, and which natural persons are participating in it. More specifically, an established social relationship between people based on a common interest outside of gambling.

Social gambling includes friends gathering for poker night, or family members placing friendly bets. It does not include poker nights or bets organized for profit or holding a tournament. Social gambling is mainly for recreational purposes.

Gambling for Charity:

Charity and non-profit organizations are permitted by Colorado law to sponsor gambling events. But the events are still limited to a few licensed casinos in the state. Non-profit organizations can hold events outside of gaming cities, but they must ensure the game is not associated with illegal gambling. Moreover, charitable gambling events are not qualified as social gambling events.

Internet Gambling:

Under the CRS 19-10-106 law, internet gambling, and telephone sports betting are illegal. Transferring gambling information via radio, telegraph, or telephone alls under class 3 misdemeanor.

The law also charges players for illegal activities if they participated in an internet gambling business from another state or where gambling is legal.  Repetitive gambling activities could lead to a felony.

Online Gambling during Pandemic:

A recent study showed that gamblers were more prone to online gambling activities during the pandemic. The rise in online gambling can be attributed to the closure of betting shops, poker nights, and more during the lockdown.

Online casinos have also been surging for the most part. 2021 saw a boom in online gambling sites all across the United States. Online casinos bought huge revenues in states where gambling sites were legalized and fully regulated by commissions.

Some of the states where online casinos are recognized are:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Connecticut
  • West Virginia
  • Michigan

The pandemic paved the way for online casinos. Gone were the days of traditional casinos, gambling became more convenient and entertaining. Although it did lead to certain problems related to gambling, such as addiction, online casinos implemented responsible gambling to limit players’ time and lessen the addiction to a degree.

What about Colorado?

There have been efforts in the past by operators to legalize online casinos in Colorado. In 2012, the Colorado Gaming Association drafted an internet gaming bill in collaboration with retail casinos. But the bill was never signed into law, nor have other online casino bills been produced by state gaming internet ever since.

Some online gambling activities are permitted by the state authority. Online sports betting, horse racing was legalized in 2019, and in 2020 sports wagering launched a new market in the state. Online lottery is legal along with Daily Fantasy Sports which was legalized in House Bill 1404 in June 2016.

The already existing popularity of online casinos exploded during the pandemic, bringing booming revenues in 2021 that benefitted regional economies. Whether online operators should be legalized depends on how the Colorado state authorities see it as a boon or not.

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