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Colorado Considers Legalization of Online Casinos

Jessica Aletor
Written by Jessica Aletor
July 20, 2023
Colorado Considers Legalization of Online Casinos

Chances are high that Colorado may well become the eighth US state to legalize online casinos. Unlike sports betting that has garnered impressive legislative support across three dozen states in the jurisdictions in the US, legal online casinos have been rather few.

Rhode Island recently became the latest state to legalize online casinos, joining New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and West Virginia. It is said that this landmark development in Rhode Island will spur other states to follow suit, and Colorado has been showing positive signs.

The Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, Mark Ferrandino, recently revealed to the public that discussions had started on the future of online casinos. Speaking to an august assembly at the National Conference of State Legislatures, Ferrandino was quoted to have said: “talks are underway about legalizing online casino gaming in the state.”

Existence of Legal Sports Betting and Pari-Mutuel Wagering Sufficient Groundwork for Online Casinos

Revenue from the potential launch of online casinos is, no doubt, one of the biggest incentives for Colorado to legalize iGaming. As a case in point, Michigan internet gaming operators generated $150.6 million in June 2023 alone, while in New Jersey, the gross receipts from online casinos totaled $149.3 million.

For the year-to-date period, all of the US states where online casinos are legal, excluding Rhode Island, had generated over $650 million each. While the profit motive is extremely enticing, legalizing online casinos in Colorado is far from being a walk in the park. The state legislature needs to pass a bill with majority votes in both the House of Reps and the Senate.

Afterwards, the governor is required to sign the legislation before voters can approve via a referendum. A suitable regulator would also need to be in place while existing retail casinos apply for operating licenses. On the average, this may take up to three months, assuming there are no oppositions at the different levels of the legislature.

But more than just the eye for additional revenue, the current smooth operations of online sports betting, pari-mutuel wagering and fantasy sports may smoothen the process. Colorado legalized mobile sports betting in May 2020 and has posted over 800 million in gross revenue since then.

What’s more? The state has 20 sportsbooks, compared to New Jersey’s 22 which is the highest in the US. Colorado’s low sports betting tax rate could well account for the proliferation of online wagering in the state, as the Centennial State only charges 10% of gross revenue receipts.

There are also about 30 retail casinos currently operating within the state. Since the gambling environment is already very suitable for gaming brands, launching online casinos in the near future may not be entirely out of place.

Potential iGaming Operators Already Poised for Colorado Online Casino Launch

Ahead of a possible launch, many operators have been laying the foundation to seize the Colorado online casino market when it finally goes live. PENN Entertainment, the parent company of Barstool Sportsbook conducted an upgrade on its systems early in July.

According to Jay Snowden, President and CEO of PENN Entertainment, the upgrade, which occurred in 16 US states, including Colorado, was a milestone achievement for the company. It allowed the betting operator to move to a proprietary technology platform, affording customers greater security and an exciting gaming experience.

The Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer of PlayStar, Adam Noble has also hinted at his company’s approach towards a potential launch.

“PlayStar is a brand that’s committed to providing players in the US with a genuinely unique online casino experience – and by teaming up with GF Gaming in Colorado, we’re already looking ahead to how we can expand these plans into the next market when regulation allows,” Noble remarked.

With planning underway, most commentators have now shifted focus to the potential financials of online casinos in Colorado. Considering the state’s experience with sports betting, it may well match up to the standards of Michigan and New Jersey in due course.

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