Back in the day, Colorado and other western states were the lands you went to gamble. Who hasn't seen a movie about the old west and noticed the people playing cards for money? But that time is long past.
In recent years it's been east coast states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania that have offered up gambling online for their residents. Meanwhile, the western states have held back. That has led to a ton of black market illegal gambling in those states – without any regulation or safety checks.
That will start to change this weekend as Colorado begins offering online sports betting from regulated online casinos. The legalization was spurned on by two factors. One the desire to put black market book making out of business. Secondly was the desire for the state to claim the 10% tax on all gambling in the state.
Online betting firms are very optimistic about online sports betting in Colorado – and not just because of the revenue they will get from that state. They feel that once neighboring states see how well online gambling in Colorado is going it will make it much easier for them to authorize sports betting. They see Colorado as the first state to start a domino effect on the west coast. They could lead to many of their neighbors legalizing sportsbook online sites as well.
“For us, the regulators have been great to work with,” said Jamie Shea, head of the sportsbook digital for DraftKings Sportsbook. “It’s just been really some good back and forth, working together. We all want to see the sports betting industry flourish in every way. … We all have the same goal. Working with the legislators and regulators in Colorado, it’s been great to see their enthusiasm.”
Sports betting is also seen as a stepping stone to additional betting options being available down the line. Once people get used to betting on sports they will ask the legislature to authorize slot machines, poker, and other casino gambling games a few years down the line.