Colorado is quite a liberal state in some ways, particularly regarding activities accepted within its borders. Unfortunately, this liberal attitude doesn’t extend to online poker, so citizens of Colorado must find other ways if they want to play online poker.
Fortunately, there are a plethora of offshore sites that offer those in Colorado the opportunity to play online poker. If you are reading this, you have asked yourself, “Is online poker legal in Colorado?” This article aims to shed light on the peculiar situation and highlight the best online poker sites Colorado citizens can enjoy.
The History of Legal Online Poker in Colorado
Compared to other densely-populated areas of North America, Colorado didn’t see a population boom until around the 1800s. Nevertheless, gambling was prevalent among those that lived there. The first record of gambling was among the native Ute people who gambled on a hand game known as the stick game.
The first saloon was opened in 1822 at Brown’s Hole, near the Utah border, to serve fur merchants in the area. Gambling was a minor pursuit in the area until the discovery of gold in Colorado in 1859 kickstarted the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.
Approximately 100,000 people rushed to the state to search for their fortune in gold mining. This influx of people created mining camps all over the area.
The newcomers created a demand for real-money gambling, and unlike other places with similar gold strikes, Pike’s Peak had lasting potential. One place that benefited was Leadville, a city that became a producer of copper, zinc, lead, silver, and gold. By the 1870s, Leadville had a notorious wide-open gambling scene.
At its busiest, the city had over 100 venues for poker, faro, and many other games. When Colorado attained statehood, it implemented the 1876 Colorado constitution, which is still in force today. The constitution contained a blanket ban on all gambling; however, it was amended to permit some forms of gambling. At the time, the citizens widely ignored the ban; however, by the end of the 1800s the Progressive movement had achieved great success in shutting down gambling casinos.
The movement was so influential that the state also placed a blanket ban on alcohol in 1916, several years before the rest of the country did the same.
Is Online Poker Legal in Colorado? Current State Regulation
As it stands, Colorado has a massive traditional casino economy and is poised to become somewhere people can play online poker in Colorado. The Colorado Gaming Association – the agency in charge of gambling within the state – reportedly created a bill in 2012 that drafted a complete legal framework to make online poker legal in Colorado.
However, this legislation hasn’t been introduced to the state senate, nor was it revealed to the public. This development shows there is strong support for legal online poker in Colorado within the legislature, and it is only a matter of time before new legislation is introduced. This optimism was further bolstered by Colorado passing HB 16-1404 in 2016. The bill regulates daily fantasy sport shows and other associated acts.
Currently, Colorado has more than 40 legal gaming casinos, all of which are mandated by law to be located in Central City, Cripple Creek, or Black Hawk. Exceptions to the rule are tribal casinos, with the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio and the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc being the only tribal casinos in the state.
Each land-based casino in Colorado appears to cater to a different niche, with the Golden Gates Casino in Black Hawk best for tournaments. At the same time, the Ameristar Casino, also in Black Hawk, serves as the best place for cash games. This casino has spread-limit games from $5 to $100, and limit hold ’em as high as $100.
Colorado has other wagering options such as charitable gaming, parimutuel race wagering, and the lottery. The state has legal horse races but greyhound racing was banned in 2014. Those in Colorado can enjoy off-track betting only at licensed locations.
In 2006, the United States federal government passed the UIGEA, or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which made operating online gambling sites within the United States illegal. The Act also banned sites outside its jurisdiction from accepting players from the United States.
All of this currently means that the option to play legal online poker in Colorado and, by extension, the United States, is bleak. Fortunately, some states have begun to take matters into their own hands by deciding what forms of gambling are legal within their borders. Colorado is one such state, with legislatures easing the restraints on online gambling. In 2020, HB19-1327 was passed by the Colorado legislature to set up a referendum to legalize online sports betting.
We at Betrocket have high hopes that the state will legalize additional forms of online gambling, including the best online poker sites in Colorado. For the moment, however, online poker in Colorado remains an unregulated market.
What Does the Law Say About Online Poker in Colorado?
Currently, the laws pertaining to gambling activities in Colorado lump offline wagering with online gaming. For this reason, it is important to examine what the traditional wagering laws say and how they might be applied to playing online poker in Colorado.
Title 18, Criminal Code, Article 10 of the Colorado Revised Statutes deals with gambling:
“It is declared to be the policy of the general assembly, recognizing the close relationship between professional gambling and other organized crime, to restrain all persons from seeking profit from gambling activities in this state; to restrain all persons from patronizing such activities when conducted for the profit of any person; to safeguard the public against the evils induced by common gamblers and common gambling houses; and at the same time to preserve the freedom of the press and to avoid restricting participation by individuals in sport and social pastimes which are not for profit, do not affect the public and do not breach the peace.”
The quoted text above shows that Colorado’s policy is to restrict gambling as a way to combat organized crime. It also does this to protect the welfare of its citizens without causing a hindrance in typical social activities. This interpretation of the law isn’t surprising, considering that the state tends to be lenient with individual players, preferring to severely punish those who organize illegal gambling activities.
Furthermore, the Colorado Department of Revenue states that internet gambling is illegal under federal and state laws. This would make online poker in Colorado illegal. It maintains this policy by referencing the Colorado law against receiving or transmitting gambling information, actions that are typically found in professional gambling.
It also quotes the Wire Act and UIGEA as evidence of online gambling prohibition at the federal level. This isn’t necessarily solid, as a Department of Justice memorandum released in 2011 explained that both the Wire Act and the UIGEA don’t ban any form of betting apart from sports betting.
This misinformation could be down to the fact that the state currently earns no revenue from online poker or other internet-based gaming. It’s important to note that communicating gambling information, professional gambling, and other real-money gaming charges are counted as felonies for repeat offenders, even though they are misdemeanors.
People looking to play legal online poker in Colorado might be worried. Still, they need not be, as these provisions are intended to inhibit illicit gambling rings rather than prosecute regular players. This is clear in how Colorado defines gambling in Article 10, 18-10-102:
“…risking any money, credit, deposit, or other thing of value for gain contingent in whole or in part upon lot, chance, the operation of a gambling device, or the happening or outcome of an event, including a sporting event, over which the person taking a risk has no control.”
The definition then cites a few examples of actions not seen as gambling by the state. They include crane game operations, futures and insurance contracts, social gaming, and endurance, strength, speed, or skill contests in which awards are only given to entrants.
There are various interpretations to be made. One might state that playing online poker is gambling. At the same time, another might say it isn’t since online poker is a contest of skill, particularly in the long term. This interpretation would make online poker in Colorado legal.
In fact, in 2012, Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein submitted an opinion in a similar case that online real-money poker is a game that requires skill. However, Colorado’s judiciary isn’t legally obligated to submit to this opinion.
Advantages of Playing Online Poker in Colorado
When you join a site to play real-money online poker in Colorado, you will notice a range of game styles and varieties to select from. The best online poker sites have the typical setup seen in traditional casinos, as well as other popular varieties.
These sites provide players access to games like Omaha, Texas hold ’em, stud poker, and other variations. Players can simply select a table at any game and begin playing within seconds. Generally, wagering begins at $0.01 for smaller games and as high as $2 for larger games. High-roller players aren’t left out, as there are numerous tables that offer massive pots with thousands in stakes for each round.
While Colorado is one of the states with the largest land-based casino sites, online poker in Colorado offers many advantages. For one, you don’t have to worry about traveling all the way to the three casino sites when you want to play online poker in Colorado. You also don’t have to worry about meeting the betting requirements or jostling for space at the limited number of tables.
The best online poker sites in Colorado do not have any of these limitations. The number of online poker games available at these establishments is unlimited, with new tables opening up as others fill up. Sit-n-go tournaments and other variants are available for those that want to play legal online poker in Colorado.
There is a plethora of promotions to enjoy when you play legal online poker in Colorado. They include:
Poker sites have leaderboards where different challenges are held for players to rise up the ranks. They could be via SNGs, playing a particular number of hands, or winning a certain number of tournaments. Players rise through the rankings by earning more points, and the top finishers get a prize.
These programs enable players to earn points for simply playing poker online. The online poker sites can then use these points to help determine a player’s status, where the more points earned, the higher the player’s status. A higher status gives players more perks, ranging from freerolls, free cashouts, expedited cashouts, and bonuses.
This promotion allows players to earn back points for every MTT or hand they play. Players can then exchange these points for real money.
This bonus provides you with a percentage match of your deposit. The industry standard for playing online poker in Colorado is 100%; however, you can find some poker sites offering up to 200%.
These are just some of the major promotions to be found at the best online poker sites in Colorado.
With that in mind, here are the best online poker sites in Colorado
Can You Play Poker Online in Colorado? Best Online Poker Sites in Colorado
As mentioned earlier, Colorado offers numerous destinations for live real-money gambling, and this choice extends online. It is important to note that these sites to play online poker in Colorado aren’t regulated by the Colorado Division of Gaming, so it’s down to you to select safe places.
Thankfully, we at Betrocket have taken the guesswork out of the equation by reviewing the plethora of online poker sites to provide you only with the best. All the legal online poker sites mentioned in this article are respectable and committed to sending players their winnings without any hassle.
With that in mind, here are the best online poker sites serving Colorado.
Americas Cardroom is part of the Winning Poker Network, making it a great choice for those looking to play online poker in Colorado. It offers large tournaments in the form of a weekly MTT – this is a $215 buy-in event with a guaranteed $1,000,000 prize.
This poker site also has frequently recurring tournaments such as the VENOM events, which raise the prize pool to over $5 million. While these tournaments are sure to attract seasoned online poker players, new players are welcome thanks to ACR being one of the few online poker sites offering $0.01 games.
Americas Cardroom offers lottery-style jackpot SNGs, SNGs, limit hold ’em, NL hold ’em, fast-fold blitz poker, PLO/8, and PLO.
Mac and Windows users can play online poker in Colorado using ACR’s fully downloadable poker client. The same goes for players looking to enjoy poker on their mobile devices – the poker site can be accessed via any modern browser. However, not all the games on the downloadable client are available on mobile devices.
New players can enjoy 100% of their first bonus, capped at $2,000.
Previously known as Intertops, Everygame has become a trusted option for gaming since its establishment 30 years ago. It offers sports betting, multiple casinos, and a poker room. While Everygame doesn’t have the high traffic its competitors do, there is sufficient traffic to ensure action for low to mid-bet players.
Players at Everygame enjoy a host of promotional offers, with the 36% rakeback being standard – this is one of the highest rakebacks available. There are also overlay tournaments, frequent reload bonuses, weekly rake races, and a VIP promotion.
Those looking to play legal online poker in Colorado at Everygame will be pleased to know they can play on any device running Windows operating system via the downloadable client. The poker room is also available on any browser, making Everygame available on virtually any device.
Poker players enjoy a generous welcome bonus of 200%, capped at $1,000. The welcome bonus also comes with 25 free spins to entice players to the casino section of the site.
Sportsbetting.ag is one of the largest poker rooms available to those looking to play legal online poker in Colorado. This site offers blinds up to $5 in no limit hold ’em cash games. PLO/8 and PLO are also featured alongside 6+ hold ’em, an increasingly popular format.
This poker site also has the biggest bad beat jackpot, which has occasionally reached upwards of $1 million. Players can also enjoy SNGs, fast-fold boost poker, windfall poker, and MTTs. Sit-n-go games allow players to multiply their bankroll for cash prizes.
Players can access SB poker on Mac or Windows devices only after having downloaded the poker client. Android and iOS users aren’t left out as they can play online poker in Colorado via their mobile devices. New players are given a first deposit bonus of 100% up to $1,000.
Ignition is an online poker site that experiences more traffic than any other site, making it one of the best options to play online poker in Colorado. A few popular poker formats at this casino include limit hold ’em, no limit hold ’em, PLO/8, and PLO.
There are a variety of multi-table tournaments suitable for tournament players. There is also jackpot sit-n-go, fast-fold zone poker, and sit-n-gos to ensure every type of poker player is catered for.
Another positive thing about Ignition is that all players are anonymous. This is a move by Ignition to protect and encourage recreational players. The software used for Colorado online poker at Ignition is available in various formats: PC, Mac, and as a browser client for those that want to play online poker in Colorado on their mobile device or mobile tablet.
Ignition offers a 100% poker bonus of up to $1,000 for new players. Bitcoin deposits get an additional 50% bonus up to $1,500 and $1,000 to be used on casino games.
How To Choose The Best Online Poker Sites in Colorado
It is important to understand that we at Betrocket cannot provide a blanket assessment of one poker site over another. The site one player might enjoy might not be what another player likes.
For instance, Americas Cardroom and Ignition are best suited for players that want tons of available poker games at a time and those interested in big tournaments with massive prize poolsFor players wanting a large bonus, Everygame’s 200% bonus up to $1,000 will appeal. Mobile players looking to enjoy legal online poker in Colorado while on the move will enjoy games at SB Poker and Ignition. For players that want the largest rakebacks, the best choice will be Everygame.
The sites mentioned above are the best online poker sites in Colorado. These sites were not selected at random. They were compared using our metric to ensure only the best sites to play online real-money poker in Colorado are highlighted. Here are the metrics we used:
For a poker site to end up on our list, we must ensure a reputable gaming authority licenses it. The gaming license is certification that the poker room answers to an authority and follows its rules.
We also ensure the website is regularly updated and secure. This is important as the last thing players want is to have their private and banking information stolen by nefarious actors. If a site isn’t safe, then it doesn’t get recommended.
Customer Service and Admin
One of the most important things the best online poker sites must have is US-friendly banking options. The options for deposits and withdrawals must be hassle-free, easy to use, and free from excessive charges. The sites listed in this article all provide numerous payment options, from credit and debit cards to bitcoin, making them a great choice for those that want to play legal online poker in Colorado.
Furthermore, the terms and conditions of each site must be fair. While these sites are free to set any rules they like, these rules should all be reasonable for us to recommend them. This includes banking limits, betting limits, rules on account management, and more.
Customer service is another important factor that we at Betrocket consider. The best online poker sites in Colorado respond to their customers promptly, quickly resolving any issues. Players should also be able to reach knowledgeable staff via various mediums such as live chat, email, and even telephone.
Since we have already highlighted the type of poker variants and games you can expect from these casinos, we will discuss what you can expect using our test results. The best online poker sites in Colorado all provide various available stakes, games, and variants. This ensures players don’t have to create accounts at various poker sites.
We also took into account the amount of traffic each site gets. This can affect table availability and how long players have to wait to begin a game. The best online poker sites have excellent software with great features that enable players to play as much online poker as they want.
Device compatibility is another important factor to consider. All of these sites let you play legal online poker in Colorado on just about any device. The more devices supported, the better. Each site highlighted in this article also has running tournaments that must run on schedule. We prefer to recommend sites that have frequently run tournaments.
All the factors on this list are important as it doesn’t matter what promotions are on offer if the available poker options are sub-par. These are all of the factors we test during each poker site review. If you choose to research the best online poker site in Colorado by yourself, it is imperative that you use these variables. These variables can help you find the best sites to play online poker in Colorado.
If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, then you can simply set up an account at one of the sites recommended in this article.
So to answer the question, “Can you play poker online in Colorado?” Yes, you can play your favorite online poker game in Colorado.