People have long been coming to Colorado to strike it rich. Miners began searching for gold and silver in the mid-19th century and soon after the rush was on. Today, there are three designated casino towns, two Indian casinos, and one horse track in the state to test your luck and hopefully bring home some prize money.
Throughout the past 2 decades, voters have been adamant about expanding Colorado’s gambling market. In 2008, new legislation allowed casinos to operate 24 hours a day, and in 2021 sports betting was legalized. These are slow and steady steps toward becoming an even more enticing betting destination.
List of Casinos in Colorado
Colorado permits casinos in three of its towns: Central City and Black Hawk which serve the Denver Metro, and Cripple Creek serves Colorado Springs. It also allows gaming on Indian reservations in the southwest part of the state, and there are two casinos in that region.
List of Horse Racing Tracks in Colorado
There is one horse racing track in Aurora that permits betting on horses. It operates seasonally from early July to early October, but there are year-round Simulcast races from around the world to bet on. If you can’t make it to Aurora, there are several Off-Track Betting locations throughout the state where you can place money on the live races.
Map of Casinos, Gaming, and Horse Racing
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Guide to Colorado Casinos, Gaming, and Horse Racing
Gambling has always been part of Colorado’s Wild West culture and continues to thrive to this day. You can find casinos only in specific towns or on Indian reservations, as well as gambling at an Aurora horse track and Off-Track Betting venues. Most are open 24 hours a day, varying the gambit in size, from slot-only to dozens of table games.
If you’re looking for that perfect poker room for your Texas Hold ‘Em fix, plenty of casinos have you covered (just don’t be the fish). Some hotels have wagering and slot machines on-site to keep guests happy, safe, and of course, playing.
Although the Centennial State is probably not the first destination that springs to mind for those of you planning a casino-themed vacation, don’t be too hasty to dismiss it. Far from the blazing lights of the Vegas strip and the heat of the desert, Colorado offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the buzz of betting combined with the charm of the Rocky Mountains and small alpine towns.
Making Gambling Legal Colorado
Colorado is consistently heralded as the ultimate destination for adventurers and outdoor lovers. The state boasts some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country. Hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting are just some of the activities that draw people from all over America and beyond.
The government wanted to entice an even larger population, so they drafted a plan in the early 90s to legalize gambling and draw tourism to a few old west towns. In 1991, Colorado officially added another feather to its bow by making gambling legal in three of its cities: Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek. Over 40 casinos are dotted throughout these areas and gamblers are now spoiled for choice.
With the approval of Proposition DD, Colorado residents voted to allow sports betting. This granted master licenses for casinos in the three cities to participate in sports betting on-site as well as online anywhere within state borders. In 2020, some places began to offer sports betting alongside their slot machines and gaming tables, giving the gaming industry a huge economic boost.
Colorado’s Gambling Industry
Most establishments in Colorado offer more than just a room full of slot machines. You’ll find entertainment that includes top-class restaurants, tasteful lounge bars, and, in some cases, mini-golf and bowling.
You’ll also have the choice between quaint ‘gold-rush town’ places that are small and cozy, and larger hotel and spa vibes that ooze glitz and glamour. The real bonus of a casino holiday in Colorado is that there are activities and events to suit the whole family.
There will be all the games you’d expect and while the premises might not be as grandiose as those in Vegas, you won’t find them lacking. The floor will be teeming with glowing slot machines in all shapes and sizes. There will also be plenty of table games to bet on with varying limits.
Imagine skiing by day, hitting the cocktail bar for a little après ski, and then sitting down to a thrilling game of blackjack to round out the night. Or, how about heroically facing the white water rapids and then throwing your cards down James Bond-style in a high-stakes game of poker? What more could you want?
Colorado Casino Towns
Since most of Colorado’s population lives on the Front Range, that’s where you find its three casino towns. Tucked away in the mountains, all three historic areas are former mining meccas with a long past of rowdiness and gambling.
The neighboring mountain towns of Central City and Black Hawk await Denver’s Front Range residents 24 hours a day. You’ll find a more pleasant historic district in Central City, as the original one burnt down and was replaced with charming brick buildings. Black Hawk, on the other hand, mostly just showcases the largest betting centers in Colorado.
Locals to Colorado Springs and the southern Front Range typically head to Cripple Creek. It’s got real mining town vibes and plenty of gambling halls to entice you. It’s only about an hour’s drive if you route up through Woodland Park.
Indian Casinos in the Southwest
Residents of Southwest Colorado head to one of two Indian casinos: Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio or Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc near Cortez and the Four Corners. Both are single buildings with 24-hour gaming and full-table games.
If you make the trip south to these options, you’ll get more than just gambling. Both often host entertainment acts and special events for the holidays and have plenty of delicious dining options to choose from. They are also located near interesting outdoor attractions like Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients, and Chimney Rock.
Colorado is also home to over a dozen sportsbooks with a variety of casinos offering live betting on games and competitions around the world. Check out the casinos with sportsbooks to find one that’s right for you.
Online sportsbooks are also legal in the state, so you don’t even have to go somewhere in person to try your luck. Hundreds of millions of dollars are bet each month in the state, with numbers steadily increasing. When you add sports betting to the already-huge list of tourism draws in the Rockies, there are few better places to get lucky than the Centennial State.
OTB – Off-Track Betting for Horse Racing
Aurora hosts the only horse racetrack in the state, Bally’s Arapahoe Park. Mile High Racing & Entertainment manages races between late May and mid-August each season. You can off-track bet on horses there as well.
Speaking of, there’s off-track betting (OTB) on horse races at a number of places around Colorado. Watch the action live at these local venues:
- Odds on OTB – Arvada
- Havana Park – Aurora
- Bally’s Black Hawk – Black Hawk
- Big D’s at Whiskey River – Greeley
- Elevations at Union Station – Colorado Springs
- Elevated Stakes at The Block Bar & Grill – Colorado Springs
- The Celtic on Market – Downtown Denver
- The Mirage – Denver
- Off to the Races OTB – Pueblo
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If you’re looking for gaming, you’re probably looking to be entertained. Head to local performing arts shows year-round. Enjoy comedy, concerts, or theatre.