Bet on them ponies in LoDo. Legally!

beer and a betting ticket at The Celtic Tavern

Gambling in LoDo usually means hooking up at a club and taking the risk of contracting an STD. Unless you're at The Celtic Tavern and Delaney's Cigar Bar, which've added an Off-Track Betting setup that accepts cash bets, and features horse, greyhound, and harness racing from all over the country on 35 TVs. Confused? Intimidated? Bloated? Don't be. Here's how it works: They open the doors at 10a and the races start shortly after, so get there early (your life's not going to spiral itself downward!). Grab a cup of coffee and a racing form from one of the machines flashing the word "PROGRAM", which'll give you the rundown on the races going down that day, and the all-important odds. Study hard. ... or just dive in headfirst and order a Three Wise Men shot, a free "How To Bet" pamphlet, and a racing form, aka The Smartest Parlay available. After acquiring some liquid courage, approach a machine that will take your money in exchange for a bet in Delaney's. This is not recommended for novices, which basically means anyone under the age of 72 who hasn't been hanging out at horse tracks the last 50yrs and isn't wearing a bowler hat. Take advantage of one of Denver's only smoking bars and order up the fine Fuente Opus cigar, which you can puff on while pretending to understand the intricacies of a quinella bet. (Pro Tip: it's just selecting two horses that will finish in the top two.) Make your way back to The Celtic, where the helpful tellers can offer counsel on how to place bets. Some, like this Trifecta (where you pick three horses and the order in which they'll win/ place/ show), are as cheap as $2. A shot is only slightly more, and delivers guaranteed happiness. After the bet inevitably loses, sulk at the bar and talk to anyone who will listen. The bartenders basically do this professionally, so they're a good place to start. A cheap way of entertaining yourself when you're out of money is sliding into a comfy booth with a TV and drinking while making fun of the horse races. It looks like that horse really wants a sip of whiskey! LOL. Why'd they name something after that kid from T2? And why are there seven of him?! Confused? Yeah, that'll happen after a long day of drinking and betting.

coffee and a racing program at The Celtic Tavern
a shot, a "how to bet" pamphlet, and a racing program at The Celtic Tavern
an automated betting machine at Delaney's Cigar Bar
a fine cigar at Delaney's Cigar Bar
people standing behind the betting window at The Celtic Tavern
a shot and a betting ticket at The Celtic Tavern
a dejected man holding up his losing bet at The Celtic Tavern
a horse on TV "drinking whiskey" at The Celtic Tavern
a TV screen at the OTB at The Celtic Tavern