Colorado’s Online Gaming Frontier: A Comprehensive Update on Legal Status and Industry Trends

Sports betting has been legal in the great state of Colorado since May 1, 2020, and there have been plenty of updates and milestones in the industry in the nearly four years since the books went live. The industry is thriving, and betting outlets in Colorado recently set a record for betting handle over the course of a month, with more than $600 million in bets placed during the month of November.

Here’s a look at recent changes to the world of sports betting in the Centennial State, as well as other things to keep an eye on.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission controls tax rates on sports betting and other forms of gambling, adjusting the rates each year if necessary. Most casinos and sports betting outlets—with the exception of those on sovereign Native American tribal lands—are taxed on a sliding scale ranging from one quarter of a percent to 20 percent, depending on their gross revenue.

The average citizen like yourself is charged at a much more forgiving rate, as Colorado levies a flat 4.63 percent income tax no matter how much money you make each year. That’s good news if you end up winning big, because you won’t move into a higher tax bracket and become subject to a steeper tax rate as a result of it… at least not in Colorado.

Of course, you don’t only have to worry about Colorado state taxes when it comes time to file in April. Federal taxes come into play as well, and those are based on your income bracket. Both single filers and married couples filing jointly will get taxed somewhere between 10 and 37 percent of their income—which is what gambling revenue is, after all—for the year 2023, which is critical to keep in mind. Most sportsbooks and casinos don’t withhold any of the money you earn unless it’s a massive amount, so it’s a good idea of keeping track of winnings and losses throughout the year so you don’t get surprised with a massive bill before April 15.

Of course, taxes aren’t all bad. If you end up at a net negative for the year, you can claim betting losses as a deductible on your tax returns. That money is still gone forever, so it’s not advisable to run up a huge bill in order to dodge paying Uncle Sam, but it’s nice to know that you can claim a bit of breathing room if the bets don’t go your way.

Helping the Economy

Even if you aren’t deeply invested in the gambling industry, it’s always nice to know when the economy is booming. That’s precisely what happened in November, with the $600 million in total wagers placed setting a record for the state.

In the early days of legal sports betting, record highs happened quite a bit as people tried their hand at the exciting new opportunity, aided by promotions like this ESPN BET Colorado Promo Code with which to sweeten the pot and increase their chances of winning. No matter how big of a rush there was at first, though, that may not paint an accurate depiction of the ebbs and flows of the betting industry, so it’s an extremely good sign to see massive records being broken nearly four years removed from legalization.

When you look at the tax rates involved, somewhere between eight and nine figures of revenue came in during a single month. That money is earmarked for a number of different funds, like helping to improve community colleges, the Colorado State Historical Fund (which offers grants to help improve historic landmarks throughout the state), the Travel and Tourism Promotion Fund (which does much the same thing, helping to bring new tourists to Colorado and spur the economy further).

As you can see, even if you never place a bet yourself, there’s a good chance that the industry impacts your life and those of others around you in a positive way.

What Causes Records Highs?

While it’s difficult to know exactly what people were betting on in droves, it’s probably safe to say that it had something to do with either the University of Colorado Buffaloes or the Denver Broncos, as the success of local sports teams drives interest and, by extension, revenue. Denver enjoyed a five game winning streak throughout the month of November that helped them claw back into the playoff picture and probably encouraged a handful of long shot Super Bowl bets.

The Buffaloes, meanwhile, were a social media sensation throughout the year because of head coach Deion “Prime” Sanders, who helped the team start 3-0 after a miserable 1-11 season last year. While the buzz around Coach Prime wore off as the Buffaloes started to falter, their constant presence in the media makes them a likely opportunity for bettors.

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