Colorado was one of the pioneers in offering players true odds casino gambling back in 1991 when the gambling towns of Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek were authorized to offer limited stakes, true video poker pay tables and RNG slots from major manufacturers. At the time players in the US could only legally gamble with true odds in Nevada and Atlantic City. Native American casinos and the current state-run video lottery terminals all over the country are another kettle of fish altogether but that is an issue for another entry.
So it comes as no surprise that the pioneering spirit of Colorado should show itself again now that online gambling is a reality in Delaware (casino games and poker) New Jersey (casino games and poker) and Nevada (currently only poker but all games are authorized by law). According to an article widely quoted online from the Denver Post, there was an internet poker bill introduced this year with another attempt likely in 2014. The article cites many industry sources that point to a below ground rumble that seems to be getting louder.
One of the concerns expressed by industry groups and land based casinos when the issue arises is the fear that online gaming will funnel off players and adversely affect the existing land-based casinos. This may not be a huge issue in Colorado, one of the remaining great feeder states for Las Vegas Strip casinos. People travel to Black Hawk and the other historic towns because they are close by and offer an experience not available in the glitter gulch or Strip areas of Nevada. The people who fly to Las Vegas from Denver are already sending their money out of state when they do so. Central City, Cripple Creek, and Black Hawk should not have to worry too much about their slice of the pie – especially if the legislature follows New Jersey‘s lead and only authorizes existing legal casinos to offer online games – that would keep the money in the currently authorized gambling towns to a great degree.
We’ll keep our eye on Colorado for you, as we did with Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. These are exciting and tumultuous times in the gambling industry, especially after the Department of Justice legal opinion in late 2011 that affirmed earlier court decisions that the Wire Act of 1961 applies only to sports betting and not casino games. There are bills “in the works” in Washington D.C. to normalize, regulate, tax, and specifically authorize some forms of online gaming at the federal level. The flood gates are creaking and Colorado could ride the wave when the deluge comes. Forward thinking pioneers are poised at the gates.