Colorado has an in depth set of rules when it comes to poker and gaming in general. Most states have very vague rules when it comes to gaming, but this is not the case with Colorado. Colorado has several regulated casinos spread out across the state where you can play poker without having to worry about the laws. These casinos are located in the towns of Black Hawk, Central City, Cripple Creek, Ignacio and Towaoc.
Colorado is one of the few states that have actual addressed the issue of whether or not poker is considered gambling. In the state of Colorado, poker is considered a form of gambling. The following statute in their gaming laws clears up any question one may have about this issue:
Section 18-10-102, whereby games that are
contingent on chance, whether
in whole or in part, are considered gambling and thereby subject to the state’s gambling laws. 
Colorado does allow social poker as long as no person takes any kind of rake from the game. Charity poker games are allowed as long as prizes do not relate to the person that wins the game. Prizes have to be randomly awarded and not linked to any outcome of gambling.
The residents of Colorado have a lot of laws pertaining to poker and all other forms of gambling, but the penalties for breaking the laws are minimal. A person caught breaking the law can be charged with a Class 1 Petty Offense; which is less than a misdemeanor. The person will be fined if charged.
Can Players From Colorado Play Poker Online?
Yes! Colorado has made no move to block internet poker sites from their residents. The selection of poker sites available to players is very limited compared to a few years ago, but there are still US facing poker sites. All poker sites that allow players from the US also allow players from Colorado.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Colorado?
No! Colorado is actually one of the few states that have addressed this issue. They have not taken the issue as far as blocking sites, but the Colorado Division of Gaming states:
Internet gambling is illegal under state laws. Colorado law prohibits the transmission or reception of gambling information by any means. The federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, signed into law in October 2006, prohibits online gamblers from using credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to place and settle bets. Further, the federal 1961 Wire Act also prohibits the use of wire communications in interstate or foreign commerce for the placing of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers. 
We have not found any instances where any player has been charged with internet gambling in Colorado. If a player was charged with gambling online, our interpretation of the law is that the player would be facing a fine. Our interpretation of the law states that participating in unlawful gambling is a petty crime; which is less than a misdemeanor crime.
Below you will find a few quick facts about poker in Colorado:
- Social Poker is allowed in Colorado as long as there is no rake
- Colorado says it is illegal to gamble online, but they have not blocked online poker sites or casinos.
- No one has ever been charged for gambling online in Colorado
- Colorado has regulated state run casinos
- Colorado has Indian Casinos that are regulated by state and tribes together
- Colorado allows charity poker tournaments only if the prizes are not directly related to the outcome of the tournament
We are not an authority on the legality or penalties for gaming online in Colorado. If you need more information about this issue then we suggest that you contact your local law enforcement or government for a clear interpretation of the law.
Colorado Gambling History
Colorado has a long history when it comes to gambling. Gambling started in Colorado before the Civil War. The French, Irish, English, and Spanish immigrants that traveled up the Mississippi River and ended up in Colorado brought gambling with them. Brown’s Saloon was one of the first casinos (some believe the first casino) built in the United States in 1822. This casino was built on the corner of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
Many casinos were built in this area during the gold rush. Travelers coming through this area enjoyed gambling, and Colorado was all too happy to take some of the gold they had found from them.
Not everyone was happy with the casinos though, and eventually the Puritans along with other anti-gambling organizations were successful in getting the casinos in Colorado deemed illegal and shut down.
The casinos stayed shut down for many years, but in 1990 casino operators were successful in persuading the government to put the casino initiative on the ballot. It was clear that the people of Colorado wanted casinos back in the area when they voted it in. Colorado has strict regulations on the casinos which include limiting the stakes and closing the doors by 2 am.
The Indian Casinos do not have to adhere by these strict rules and can stay open 24 hours a day. However, Indian Casinos do have to follow the limited stake rules which states that a single bet can be no more than $5.
Many people in Colorado are hoping to change the strict bet limits and offer higher stakes. They think that higher stakes betting will draw more tourists which will mean more money.
Legalized Gambling Options in Colorado
Colorado has many options when it comes to legalized gambling. Casinos, bingo halls, dog racing, horse racing, and state lottery are all among the legal gaming avenues in Colorado. While Colorado offers many legal avenues for gambling, the strict low limit bets sends many tourists to other areas for casino action.
Many people are also discouraged with the strict rules on charity casino nights and charity poker games. Although they are allowed to have these games, the prizes can in no way correlate with the winners of the games. So, prizes can only be awarded on a complete random basis. What fun would that be? If I won a poker tournament that I paid to enter, I would expect to win a prize.
Will Colorado Legalize Online Poker in the Future?
Colorado has flirted with the idea of legalizing online poker, but the fear is that the land based casinos in Colorado will lose money if online poker is legalized. Senator Harry Reid has been trying to push a federal mandate on online poker, but thus far it has not happened.
If the federal government does legalize online poker then Colorado will more than likely be on board with legalizing it in their state. It is doubtful that Colorado would opt out of online poker market if the federal government approved it. It is unclear if Colorado will move forward on this issue without a federal ruling. They are a state that has at least flirted with the idea of legalizing online gambling.