Colorado raked in $25.5 million in gross sports betting handle for May. That’s impressive considering the casino closures and major U.S. sports leagues cancellations. The numbers indicate a strong interest in sports betting among Coloradans and bode well for the market’s profitability in the months and years ahead.
There are now ten active online sports betting sites in Colorado including Draftkings and FanDuel. There are still 15 sports betting licenses not yet spoken for in the state, so there’s plenty of room for new competitors. Pro sports have also shown signs of life in recent weeks. Avs fans will see hockey’s return to action on July 30, and Nuggets fans might get to see some Jokic magic when the NBA restarts its season from Disney World July 30. The NFL is set to kick off in September, and the MLB kicked off its shortenes season July 23. Sports betting will only grow in Colorado from here on out. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Live Colorado Online Sportsbooks
- Draftkings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Fox Bet
- SBK by Smarkets
- Sky Ute Sportsbook
- Circa Sports
- Bet Wildwood
What can you currently bet on at Colorado Sportsbooks?
With major league sports returning to play throughout July, traditional sports like basketball, baseball, hockey, and football are finally active. During the pandemic, most major U.S. sports leagues were closed down. This coincided with the launch of legal sports betting in Colorado. Not easily dissuaded, CO sports bettors wagered on everything from South Korean baseball to Russian table tennis, and everything in between. There are still many less-conventional sports available to bet on at CO sportsbooks, but that action will likely be eclipsed with the return of pro U.S. sports leagues.
Professional Leagues In Colorado
After sports betting was legalized in Colorado, the Colorado Limited Gaming Commission approved new rules for sportsbooks. The biggest swath of new allowances were the types of games that could be bet on. Here are some of the popular new sports available for wagers.
The first games that probably come to mind are the professional leagues popular in Denver. Denver is home to numerous professional teams who play in or near downtown Denver, including:
- The Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium.
- The Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
- The Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
- The Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
- The Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
- The Colorado Mammoths also at the Pepsi Center.
The Broncos have resumed training, and they are already preparing for its highest-stakes games, like the Week 7 Chiefs game. The Kansas City Chiefs have thrashed the Broncos in recent matchups, so the Broncos have something to prove. The back half of Broncos games were rough in 2019, but their new wide receivers should help the Broncos buck that trend.
Colorado’s sportsbooks already have NFL future odds on the Super Bowl 55 winner. However, some of them also have moneyline bets on the first games of the NFL season. The sportsbooks with moneyline odds are:
BetMonarch has point spreads and point totals, but no moneyline bets–yet. Smarkets’ sportsbook, SBK, also doesn’t have any moneyline odds. However, their futures are available for bettors who believe in the Broncos’ new lineup. Now’s a good time for lippy fans to put their money where their mouths are.
With a tentative July 31 start date, the NBA’s 2020 pandemic season will be an exciting–and hopefully safe–return to normal. The Nuggets have pulled together during the pandemic, and seem to be a strong team.
Colorado’s sportsbooks seem optimistic about the Nuggets chances, too. At the time of this writing, DraftKings has +2,500 odds on the Denver Nuggets winning the NBA Championship. A 3.85% chance doesn’t sound like much, but it’s better than the +30,000 odds on the Washington Wizards (0.33%. Ouch!) These odds will change as the season progresses, but right now, futures are all bettors have.
There are only two sportsbooks that don’t have NBA odds. The first is Fox Bet, which has international basketball lines available. The second is Sky Ute Sportsbook, that has no basketball lines available at all. However, bettors at Colorado’s other sportsbooks (so far) can wager on the NBA before it’s even begun.
While other teams were preparing for their games in the mid-pandemic summer, the Colorado Rockies were drafting new players. The Rockies had the ninth draft pick and got their hands on Zac Veen. He’s fresh out of high school, but he’s one of the best young players in the country. Hopefully, he fits in well with the current roster. He’s sure got a bright future ahead of him.
Bettors who have faith in the Rockies’ new roster have good futures options, but they may not be happy about what they see. BetRivers doesn’t think the odds are in their favor. It has +2,800 odds on the Rockies winning the National League West. It’s better than the +8,000 odds on the San Francisco Giants, but the message is clear. The sportsbooks are unsure about the Rockies’ 2020 chances.
However, loyal Rockies bettors can get great odds if they think the Rockies’ 2020 season will be a triumphant one. A win on +2,800 is a hefty return.
The Avs’ training camp is coming up in preparation for its mid-pandemic season. The NHL has a schedule of games to determine who else is moving forward in the most unusual Stanley Cup Tournament ever.
Colorado’s sportsbooks seem optimistic about the Avs’ chances at the Stanley Cup. FanDuel’s futures list the Avs at +800. The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are the only teams with better chances to win than the Avs. If Avs fans have an issue with that, they can feel smug when the Avs win the Stanley Cup.
All but two sportsbooks so far offer NHL futures on the Stanley Cup winner. Sky Ute Sportsbook and SBK don’t offer hockey lines yet. However, there are two other sportsbooks that offer NHL futures, but not moneyline odds on the upcoming series. BetMGM and BetMonarch don’t have moneyline odds on the NHL series yet. However, bettors should watch for them as the games approach.
College Sports In Colorado
Colorado has a lively college sports scene for bettors to take advantage of. The Buffs have several teams that will make strong sportsbook selections. If college games return this Fall, then bettors will get the chance to bet on college games across the country. However, bettors won’t be able to place prop bets on college games in Colorado. Bettors will be limited to moneyline, point spreads, and futures bets. Here are some of Colorado’s most popular college teams and everything bettors need to know about betting on them.
The Buffs are a PAC-12 football team, and that means they go up against some formidable teams. However, they also go up against their state rival, CSU. That rivalry game is tentatively scheduled for September 5, giving bettors a great game to wager on before the NFL season. The PAC-12 is only playing division games this season, so it’ll be a tightly controlled contest. However, it will make odds easy to find.
The odds on Buffs football are long, though. The Buffs have had rough football seasons in recent years. It’s unsurprising. They’re a fairly young team in the PAC-12. However, they have the lowest chance of winning the PAC-12 Championship in 2020. For comparison, the odds on Oregon winning are +220. Colorado’s odds are +15,000 (so says William Hill). Those are long odds, but bettors can win $15,000 on a $100 bet.
Colorado Buffaloes Basketball
When college football season ends, basketball becomes a huge draw for CU’s student body. However, basketball fans from Boulder and beyond will find Buffs Basketball engaging. Sports fans may prefer Buffs basketball to Buffs football, because the basketball team tends to perform well. In fact, men’s and women’s basketball is one of several spots with the goal of winning at least one PAC-12 Championship between now and 2022.
Although college basketball was cancelled in mid-March, the Buffs had pretty good odds against Oregon. Colorado was the underdog with +179 odds, while Oregon was set at -208 in February. Colorado had about a 35% chance of winning, and unfortunately, they were nine points short of a win. That’s not bad against the division leader.
Colorado Buffaloes Basketball at CU Events Center is a great place for good basketball. The games tend to be close, even if the outcome isn’t in the Buffs’ favor. If Buffs Basketball returns in the Spring, it’ll be a welcome return to normal after the end of the 2020 season.
Other US Sports
It’s easy to forget sometimes, but there are other sports besides football, baseball, basketball, and hockey. Here are a few other sports that have massive audiences, but are perceived to be more niche anyway.
Colorado sports bettors have plenty of wagering options for MMA matches at sportsbooks in the state. The UFC has its own betting app for Colorado bettors. However, DraftKings also has a partnership with the UFC. DraftKings, and the rest of Colorado’s sportsbooks, have pages for betting on MMA matches and professional boxing.
Before Colorado’s Division of Gaming authorized betting on motorsports, Colorado racing fans only had one option: Arapaho Park’s horse track. There were no mobile bets allowed, and patrons had to be at least 18 to place a bet during a live event.
Colorado’s racing fans are no longer limited to one horse racing track. Anyone 21 and older who wants their racing fix can bet on motorsports. Colorado’s Division of Gaming has explicitly authorized motorsports in Rule One of the new regulations, expanding Colorado bettors’ options to sports like NASCAR or the 24-Hour Le Man.
Speaking of NASCAR, a recent partnership with iRacing is intended to give fans a taste of racing action, social distancing style. This spawned a new concept: eNASCAR, in which virtual races are held. eNASCAR betting is available in New Jersey and Nevada so far, and became available to Colorado bettors on May 1, 2020. One of eNASCAR’s virtual races at Texas Motor Speedway drew in a very respectable 1.3 million viewers.
Ice Cube started the BIG3, a fast-paced, 3-on-3 action tournament-style basketball league in 2017. Since it’s played during the NBA’s off-season, it could be an opportunity for basketball fans to bet on their sport of choice year-round. With the league kicking off its season in June, it could be one of the only professional sports leagues playing during the pandemic.
Olympic and International Games
The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed until next July, but sportsbooks will be putting odds on Olympic events. The Olympics have been explicitly recognized in Colorado’s sports betting regulations as an authorized sports event. Sportsbooks are ahead of the curve on Olympic sports betting. DraftKings runs Olympic betting contests and certainly will again, whether it’s in 2020 or 2021.
In a similar vein, Coloradans can also bet on international sports. DraftKings is running bets on international rugby games at the time of this writing. It may surprise some readers that Coloradans can bet on international sports. But according to the Colorado Division of Gaming, Colorado bets must be:
- Placed in Colorado.
- Placed in a Colorado-based sportsbook.
As long as a sport is offered in a Colorado sportsbook, bettors can place a wager. For example, soccer fans in Colorado can bet on Liverpool during their next season. Hopefully, the next Liverpool season will be just as remarkable as their 2019-2020 season.
Esports In Colorado
Esports is a new phenomenon that gained steam during the pandemic. Every sportsbook so far–besides BetMonarch–offers esports lines. While some of them took longer to adopt esports lines than others, esports came into its own in 2020. Sportsbooks don’t have partnerships with esports leagues like they do with mainstream professional leagues. Many sportsbooks partnerships with Colorado casinos, but they likely won’t have esports partnerships until it becomes more popular in Colorado.
But Counter Strike and Call of Duty fans can wager on these and other matches at most Colorado sportsbooks.
Any New Approved Sport
The Colorado Division of Gaming has included future sports into its new regulations. The final section of Rule One–because government documents are that dense–allows:
“Any other sports event or combination of sports events as authorized by the Commission by Rule.” – Colorado Division of Gaming, Rule One, Section Two, Sub-Section Four.
Rule Five of the new regulations sets the terms for new sports to apply for authorization. That means sports betting can grow alongside the evolution of sports long into the future.
Kinds Of Bets Available In Colorado
Bettors will find basic bets available in Colorado. Moneylines on the winner, point spread bets, and point total bets are all common. Prop bets are common on professional sports games, and futures, round robins, and teasers are widely available, too.
However, college games do not have prop bets in Colorado, because college athletes are a financially vulnerable group. If an athlete’s scholarship money falls short or the college price tag stretches money at home, unscrupulous sports bettors could lure college athletes into a point shaving scheme. Colorado bettors will be able to place bets on the outcome of college games but can only place proposition bets on professional games.
Restrictions On Sports Betting In Colorado
While Colorado has generously expanded sports betting, certain restrictions remain. Some of those restrictions ban certain types of bets, but others ban betting on some sports leagues altogether.
Colorado’s Ban On High School Sports Betting
It probably won’t surprise readers that Colorado avoided sports betting on high school sports events. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) was deeply concerned about high school sports betting after Murphy v. NCAA. The three main objections the NFHS had were:
- Exposure to problem gambling
- Separate governing bodies
- Financial vulnerability
The NFHS feared that if high school sports betting became legal, then high schoolers would participate in sports betting and risk becoming problem gamblers. This fear came from a study conducted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA surveyed its members and found that:
- 90% of male college sports betters placed their first bet before college.
- 82% of female college sports betters placed their first bet before college.
Needless to say, the age restriction on sports betting doesn’t reassure the NFHS.
There are also so many different high school sports organizations, the NFHS doesn’t think it can enforce anti-gambling rules. The financial vulnerability of high school athletes–and possibly their families–also makes the NFHS a staunch opponent to high school sports betting. Gamblers could bribe athletes with some sportsbook winnings to miss a few goals to short the spread. That would ruin the integrity of high school athletics, so bettors won’t find a FanDuel page for high school athletics.
College Prop Bet Restrictions
The prohibition of high school sports betting has something in common with college sports. The NCAA is also worried about the integrity of its games. However, college athletic organizations have more enforcement power than decentralized high school organizations. The power of the NCAA comes with reliable and enforceable protections for college athletes, like anti-gambling regulations that are reliably enforced.
Colorado Legal Sports Betting FAQ’s
Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Colorado?
Yes. It’s why there are ten licensed sportsbook apps available to Colorado bettors at the time of this writing. Without online betting, there would be no mobile betting. That’d be a big issue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Can I Bet On College Sports In Colorado?
Yes. Moneylines, point spreads, point totals, and futures are all fair game. Prop bets are the only bets forbidden in the Colorado sports betting market on college games.
Can I Bet On High School Sports In Colorado?
No. High school sports betting is explicitly forbidden by the Colorado Division of Gaming.
Can I Bet On Esports In Colorado?
Yes. Several Colorado sportsbooks offer esports lines, and esports is on the Division of Gaming’s approved sports and bets catalog.
Can I Bet On The Olympics In Colorado?
Yes. Most betting lines on Olympic Events will be available within a few months or weeks prior to the event. Bettors will have to wait for the next Olympic season to start seeing lines.
Who Regulates Online Sportsbooks In Colorado?
The Colorado Division of Gaming. It’s the major government body that writes the sports betting rules and approves new sports betting licenses. It’s powerful watchdog that gives sports bettors across the state access to safe, legal sports betting options.
Bets And Bettors: What’s Allowed And What Isn’t?
There’s a dense swath of new regulations that outlines the do’s and don’ts of sports betting. Here’s an overview of what’s allowed and what isn’t:
- Professional sports leagues, including international games, are open for bettors.
- New sports can apply to be included in sports betting pools.
- High school sports betting remains illegal.
- Bettors can wager on college games but cannot place proposition bets on them.
- Bettors who are at least 21 and who cannot influence the outcome of a sports match are probably eligible to participate in sports betting.
A new community of sports bettors is about to establish itself in the Rocky Mountain State, and they have plenty of sports to choose from.