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Is there a Lottery machine in the Denver airport?

Quick Answer

There are currently no lottery machines located inside Denver International Airport (DEN). The airport does have vending machines that sell various snacks, drinks, and travel essentials, but does not offer any type of lottery or gambling services. Under Colorado law, lottery and gambling activities are heavily regulated and only allowed in certain designated locations and businesses. Airport terminals do not qualify as approved venues for lottery or gambling machines. So while you may find convenient vending options at DEN, lottery services are not among them.

Examining Lottery and Gambling Laws in Colorado

In order to understand why lottery machines are not located in Denver International Airport, it is helpful to look at Colorado’s laws regarding lottery and gambling activities. Some key points:

– The Colorado Lottery is the only authorized state lottery. It was established in 1983 after Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing a state-supervised lottery.

– Operations of the Colorado Lottery, including where tickets can be sold, are overseen by the Colorado Lottery Commission.

– Locations must apply for and receive a license from the Colorado Lottery Commission before they can sell lottery tickets or host lottery machines. This includes retail stores, markets, restaurants, gas stations, etc.

– Casinos and sports gambling activities in Colorado are also carefully regulated. Casinos can only operate in certain approved locations like the mountain towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

– Gambling outside of approved casinos and lottery activities is prohibited. This includes unauthorized gambling machines, online gambling, office betting pools, etc.

As a public entity overseen by the City and County of Denver, Denver International Airport is obligated to follow all state and local laws and regulations, including those pertaining to gambling and lottery activities. The airport terminals do not meet the criteria to qualify for and obtain a lottery license. And the airport management has no intention of hosting unauthorized gambling activities.

So in summary, the lack of lottery machines at Denver International Airport ultimately boils down to adhering to Colorado’s laws when it comes to gambling and lottery activities. The airport aims to provide helpful amenities to travelers, but lottery and gambling services require special licensing and oversight which the airport does not have.

Are There Any Retail Stores Selling Lottery Tickets at the Airport?

Since the Denver International Airport terminals themselves cannot host lottery machines or sell lottery tickets directly, a logical follow-up question is whether any of the retail stores located within the airport sell lottery tickets.

The answer is no. As tenants operating within airport property, all vendors and retailers at Denver International Airport must also adhere to state and local laws, including those pertaining to gambling and lottery activities. The various restaurants, newsstands, gift shops, and convenience stores do not have authorization to sell lottery tickets or host lottery machines.

There are some notable stores and chains located in the airport, including CNBC News, Einstein Brothers Bagels, Java Devils, McDonald’s, and United News. However, none of them offer lottery services. The stores focus on providing food, beverages, travel supplies, and souvenirs to airport customers. Lottery ticket sales are not part of their authorized business activities.

Although some of these stores like McDonald’s and Java Devils may sell lottery tickets from their streetside, non-airport locations in Colorado, that privilege does not extend to their airport outlet. So travelers hoping to buy Powerball, Mega Millions, or other lottery tickets will not be able to purchase them inside Denver International Airport.

Again, this policy reinforces the fact that regulations prohibit gambling and lottery activities without specific licensing. And the retail stores have focused their airport operations on providing other essential services to customers traveling through Denver.

What About Stores Outside the Airport?

Given that lottery products cannot be found inside Denver International Airport, some travelers may wonder if they could simply exit the airport terminals and visit nearby stores outside to purchase lottery tickets instead. This is also not an option.

Here is some important context:

– Denver International Airport is on a large plot of land totaling about 34,000 acres. This means there is quite a distance between the airport terminals and downtown Denver or neighboring communities.

– The airport property is also closed off for safety and security reasons. Travelers cannot simply exit out of the terminals and walk across airport grounds at any time.

– All stores and businesses surrounding the airport itself fall under the jurisdiction of Adams County and Aurora, Colorado. These areas also prohibit gambling activities without proper licensing.

– The nearest legitimate lottery retailers to the airport are about 10+ miles away, with most being convenience stores and supermarkets in suburban neighborhoods of Aurora.

So in order to access an authorized lottery ticket retailer, travelers would have to leave the airport, arrange transportation, and travel a significant distance. This is assuming they are not scheduled to fly out soon after arriving at the airport. The logistics make visiting an offsite lottery retailer unfeasible for most airport customers.

While the airport does not have lottery machines itself, it also does not provide easy access to external retailers selling such products. So essentially there are no practical options for purchasing lottery tickets either inside the terminals or immediately surrounding the airport grounds.

Are There Any Exceptions Where Lottery Tickets Could Be Sold at DEN?

The information provided so far indicates that lottery services are broadly prohibited at Denver International Airport and the nearby area under Colorado law. However, could there be any possible exceptions where lottery ticket sales might occasionally be allowed?

After thoroughly researching state statutes, airport regulations, and historical precedent, there appear to be no meaningful exceptions that would enable lottery ticket sales within DEN terminals or on airport property.

Here are some key points that reinforce the strict prohibition:

– Colorado Revised Statutes Section 44-40-107 specifically states that it is illegal to sell lottery tickets at an airport terminal unless expressly authorized by the Colorado Lottery Commission. No such authorization has been granted for DEN.

– The airport’s internal policies prohibit gambling activities without approval. Approved activities are limited to occasional casino nights hosted by nonprofits, where all proceeds go to charity. Lottery sales do not fall under approved activities.

– Federal aviation laws prohibit unauthorized gambling machines at airports because they can pose security risks and distraction threats to travelers.

– A 2006 attempt by the Colorado Lottery Commission to allow lottery vending machines at DEN was rejected by the airport due to security concerns. No further attempts have been made since.

– Neither DEN administrators nor Adams County/Aurora officials have shown any indication they intend to seek lottery licensing approval for stores inside or surrounding the airport property.

So in summary, existing Colorado laws create a high threshold for allowing any lottery activities at airports like DEN. And with concerns over security, distraction, and problem gambling, airport management has consistently opposed introducing lottery services. It appears highly unlikely these strict policies would change anytime in the future.

Of course, policies can sometimes change, especially as airports evolve over many decades of operation. But based on extensive precedent, there are no meaningful exemptions under current laws and regulations that would suddenly enable lottery machine placement or lottery ticket sales inside Denver International Airport terminals. Passengers should not expect access to such services at DEN.

Reasons Why Denver Airport May Not Want Lottery Services

Understanding the laws that prohibit lottery activities at Denver International Airport, some may still wonder why airport management would not want to host lottery machines or sell lottery tickets if they had the option. There are several reasonable factors behind this opposition:

– Security concerns – Lottery machines could present targets for vandalism or theft. Large cash payouts also create security risks.

– Liability concerns – More gambling options increase risks of problem gambling. This could expose the airport to lawsuits from addicted players.

– Risk of distraction – Gambling could take focus away from traveling and create unnecessary delays getting to gates.

– Desire for family-friendly environment – Lottery and gambling activities promote increased spending instead of a kid-centered experience.

– Current revenue streams are adequate – Parking fees, retail store rents, and other income sources sufficiently cover costs without lottery funds.

– Avoid reputation as a “gambling airport” – Aligns with Denver’s culture as a vibrant, outdoorsy city instead of a gambling destination.

– Other priorities for space – Addition of pet facilities, nursing rooms, art exhibits, and other traveler services take precedence over lottery machines.

From decreased security to problem gambling risks, there are clearly many valid reasons Denver International Airport management would opt to prohibit lottery services if given the choice. Maintaining an efficient, secure, and family-friendly traveling environment remains the top priority over generating lottery sale commissions. The existing laws simply reinforce policies that airport leadership has voluntarily established as well.

Perspective From Airport Travelers

Beyond the viewpoint from DEN administrators, it can also be helpful to examine perspectives from airline passengers themselves regarding the absence of lottery services within the airport terminals.

Among frequent travelers and Denver residents, opinions seem mixed but generally supportive of not having lottery machines or lottery ticket sales at the airport. Here are some common perspectives:

– Many understand and accept that gambling regulations prohibit those activities at airports without licenses. They recognize DEN is simply following the law.

– Experienced travelers know that airport terminals nationwide rarely allow lottery sales inside security zones. So the lack of lottery options does not surprise most people.

– Parents of minors appreciate the family-friendly environment without gaming machines present in the concourses.

– Some welcome one less form of temptation to spend excessively while waiting to board flights.

– Frequent fliers often just want to relax or get work done instead of buying lottery tickets before flights.

– Occasional lottery players admit it is very low priority while preparing for travel compared to eating, shopping, or finding their gate.

– Many would rather DEN focus resources on amenities like pet relief areas, quality WiFi, seating, and charging stations versus lottery machines.

– Certain business travelers and commuters value efficiency and would not want gambling machines slowing down airport navigation.

Of course, there are also some travelers who may desire the ability to purchase lottery tickets inside DEN. But in general, the absence of lottery activities seems consistent with the priorities and perspectives of many airport patrons as well.

When passengers already have multiple dining, shopping, entertainment, and transportation access options before flying, the lack of lottery services becomes less of a concern for most travelers. DEN appears focused on the amenities that provide more universal value to its customers. And for many patrons, that does not necessarily include purchasing lottery tickets.

Summary of Traveler Sentiment

In summary, while a subset of passengers may occasionally buy lottery tickets if available, the majority of travelers seem relatively unbothered by and somewhat understanding of the policies prohibiting lottery activities within Denver International Airport terminals. The lack of desire to change these established regulations reflects moderate traveler approval of maintaining a streamlined, lawful, and family-friendly environment.

Future Outlook for Lottery Services at DEN

Based on the detailed analysis so far regarding lottery laws, airport policies, traveler feedback, and security priorities, what could be expected in terms of the future outlook for lottery activities at Denver International Airport?

The most likely scenario is that lottery and gambling services will continue to be prohibited within the airport for the foreseeable future. Here are some reasons supporting this status quo prediction:

– No proposals to allow lottery activities have gained traction with airport administrators or government officials in well over a decade.

– Colorado statutes regarding airport lottery activities have not been revised to ease prohibitions.

– DEN’s internal gambling and lottery policies have remained intact without serious attempts at reform.

– Air travel trends point toward more family-friendly and streamlined environments versus expanded gambling options.

– The airport continues expanding parking, hotels, restaurants, and other non-gambling amenities to satisfy travelers.

– Security and problem gambling issues inherent to airports persist as ongoing concerns.

– Travelers remain focused on flight efficiency and amenities like WiFi that would take priority over lottery sales.

– Current airport revenue streams appear sufficiently robust without needing to tap into lottery income.

Barring an unexpected reversal of long-standing airport regulations or shifts in Colorado laws, Denver International Airport management will likely maintain the status quo prohibition against any lottery machines or lottery ticket sales within terminals for the foreseeable future.

While limited exceptions for nonprofit casino nights may periodically occur, travelers should not expect to routinely see Powerball vending machines or lottery scratch tickets sold alongside convenience store items and souvenirs at DEN. The existing rules and concerns that led to the current policies show no signs of disappearing, even as the airport continues evolving in other ways to match traveler preferences.

So for those wondering if they will have a sudden chance to buy or play the lottery before a flight at DEN, all signs point to that opportunity remaining safely out of reach within the airport environment itself.


In summary, lottery and gambling services are prohibited at Denver International Airport terminals under long-standing Colorado laws and airport regulations. While certain retail stores inside the airport may sell lottery tickets at their streetside, non-airport locations, these activities are not permitted within the concourses, gates, or security zones.

Travelers will not find lottery machines or the ability to purchase lottery tickets at any shops inside DEN. Airport management maintains these restrictive policies due to ongoing concerns over security risks, problem gambling, and maintaining efficiency. And most airport patrons seem unbothered by the lack of lottery options, preferring to see resources dedicated to more universally beneficial traveler amenities.

Given deeply entrenched laws and cautious airport policies, it remains highly unlikely that lottery activities will be permitted within Denver International Airport anytime in the foreseeable future. Disappointed lottery players should seek authorized lottery retailers located outside the airport if hoping to buy tickets before a flight.

But when navigating through DEN’s terminals, the absence of flashing lottery machines and scratch ticket dispensers simply aligns with Colorado regulations and the airport’s focus on streamlining the travel experience. While not a destination for gambling, Denver International Airport strives to offer amenities of value to all types of travelers headed to their next flight.