Colorado Legal Sports Betting to Launch by May 2020

  • Proposition DD sought public approval of a 10% tax rate on sports betting revenue
  • There were 1.4 million votes, with 50.8% in favor of passage
  • Most of the tax revenue will go towards the state’s water program
  • Sportsbooks can be up and running by May 2020
vote being inserted into ballot box
Colorado has become the 19th US state to legalize sports betting after voters narrowly gave it the green light. [Image:]

19th US state to legalize sports betting

Colorado now officially has legal sports betting after voters narrowly passed the motion. This makes it the 19th state in the country to legalize the pastime.

the 33 casinos in the state can now look at acquiring a master sports betting license

Proposition DD called for the introduction of a 10% tax on all net sports betting revenues. Now that voters have given it the green light, the 33 casinos in the state can look at acquiring a master sports betting license. The plans are to have live sportsbooks in Colorado by May 2020. 

The closely fought motion saw 1.4 million ballots counted. The result was too close to call on the night of the election. At one stage, it looked likely that a recount would be needed. It later became clearer that it had received enough votes to get over the line. By the end of Wednesday, Proposition DD had 50.8% of votes in favor of passage.

The majority of the 64 counties in Colorado were against the measure, but it was through voters in the larger counties such as Denver, Jefferson, and Douglas that the motion was passed. 

The tax revenues will be put to good use

The money that will go to the state from the new flat tax will mainly be used to fix the water facilities around Colorado. A smaller portion of the funds will go to local governments and the Division of Gaming to help treat gambling addiction.

The government estimates a tax intake of around $11m in the next financial year (which doesn’t begin until July 2020, by which time sports betting should be up and running).

state hopes to take in as much as $29m annually in tax revenue

The Colorado Division of Gaming will be the regulator for the sports betting sector. Once the market matures in a few years, the state hopes to take in as much as $29m annually in tax revenue. 

One of the main groups in support of legalization was the Water Resource Advocates. Responding to the news of the victory for Proposition DD, the group released a statement maintaining that: “Taxing the revenue from legalized sports betting will create a dedicated down payment to help ensure that Colorado has healthy rivers and enough water for all.”

Colorado State Senator Kerry Donavan says the passing of this proposition is an investment into the water future of the state. 

Legalization has been a long time coming

Lawmakers had already been in agreement in May on the issue on a bipartisan level. A public vote was then needed as an alteration to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights had to be made. 

There was not much public opposition to the legalization. Most people believe this move will curtail black-market betting and better protect consumers in the process.

The Republican House Minority Leader, Patrick Neville, said: “Bringing sports betting into the daylight, regulating it and leveraging it for the benefit of our water future is a common-sense approach.”

Moves already being made

With sports betting legalization in Colorado, each casino operator in the state can now apply for a master license. These companies can then partner with sportsbook operators to open a retail and/or an online sportsbook.

Some sports betting brands have already been trying to strike up companies with local casinos in advance of this vote. UK sports betting firm Smarkets already has a partnership with the Full House Resorts casino developer. The deal was struck earlier in 2019 and will see Smarkets operate the online sportsbook for the company in Colorado. 

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