Colorado Online Poker Law
Lead by a strong allegiance of casino owners, the engine is slowly chugging toward making online poker legal in Colorado. With 40 casinos, many of which have poker rooms, Colorado has the political and lobbying infrastructure to get an online poker bill done. To be sure, it’s one of the top concerns of the Colorado Gaming Commission, and it is considered a matter of life and death to the casino owners.
In 2012, the Colorado Gaming Association circulated among lawmakers a bill they wrote that would make online poker legal. A year before that, they released the findings from a study they commissioned on the future on online gambling and how it would affect Colorado casinos.
The study found “online gambling represents an opportunity for and a threat to commercial casinos in Colorado. If Colorado does not act on this emerging field in a timely manner, the existing commercial casino industry will be at risk.”
Also at risk would be the $750 million a year the industry produces for the state. But the online poker bill draft, and the study, are moves the Colorado Gaming Association hopes will lead to online poker legalization there.
Colorado is probably large enough to foster its own, intrastate poker industry, but there’s a chance some of the casinos would like to be part of a large, multi-state poker union.
Even though no lawmaker has yet taken up this cause, it’s something they will surely examine in the near future, particularly since online poker is already going live in Nevada, New Jersey and elsewhere.
Although live casino poker is legal in Colorado, bets are capped at $100. You think that’s bad? Before 2009, players couldn’t bet more than $5 at a time. This rule surely will have to be re-examined before online poker comes to Colorado.
In 2005, Colorado’s Attorney General released a statement warning its residents against playing online poker. He made it clear that he believed online poker was illegal at both a state and federal level. No one has been arrested for playing online poker there, although four people were arrested for holding $20 tournaments in 2009. The judge found the defendant not guilty, in part that because poker is a game of skill, and therefore is exempt from the state’s gambling laws.
Will Online Poker Become Legal in Colorado?
Online poker players living in the great state of Colorado soon will be able to play online poker, but not that soon. It will be a miracle if online poker legalization happens before 2015. With a strong, focused effort by the Colorado Gaming Association members, online poker will come to Colorado.
Estimated Online Poker Customer Base
Colorado is the home to about 4 million residents 21 or older. Using a market-based survey that estimated that 10 percent of Americans played online poker in 2007, about 400,000 players are left high on the mountain, without a place to play.
That’s equivalent to the poker market of Singapore, another country where online poker is legal.
Closest Place to Play Legal Online Poker
Nevada is a mere two-hour flight to the west. Internationally, take your pick. Fly north to Canada or south to Mexico.