Colorado Wants to Make Wagering on Sports Legal
The bill was introduced earlier this month by Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville.
The Bill is Ready
If everything goes according to plans, the bill will place a sports betting question on the November ballot, while the residents of the Centennial State would be asked if a 10% tax on net revenue should be implemented. The reason the taxation of sports betting will find its place on the ballots is the fact that under the current law, any increase in tax needs to be confirmed by voters.
Once sports betting is made legal, casinos currently doing business in Colorado will be able to apply for a license to operate wagering on sports via online and mobile, while also being permitted to offer limited in-person betting.
According to the proposal, the limits on bets will be determined by operators themselves, while customers will be offered a wide selection of sporting events to bet on, including professional and collegiate events that involve teams from the state.
As we’ve already pointed out, all licensed operators will have to pay a 10% tax on their yearly net proceeds. Commenting on the tax revenue projections, Representative Garnett said that regulated betting could bring from $5 million to $10 million on a yearly basis, although some forecasts predicted these numbers could go up to $20 million, with the right growth of the market.
Garnett added the biggest portion of the generated revenue would go toward conservation and protecting water in Colorado, while an additional $130,000 would be given to organizations dealing with problem gambling.
Dealing with Problem Gambling
Lawrence Wall, president of Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado, said his organization is glad that a portion of the projected revenue would be used to support their efforts but expressed his doubts that digital betting was a good idea, as this form of gambling could get a number of players into trouble.
Speaking about the negative impact of regulated sports betting, Garnett pointed out that a large black market existed across the state, and that this move wasn’t aimed at expanding gambling. He said the ultimate goal was to regulate an already existing practice.
The proposal will appear before the House Finance Committee this week, and in order to place the betting tax question on the ballot in November, it needs to be passed before the end of this year’s legislative sessions, which comes to an end on May 3. The Senate version of the sports betting bill will be sponsored by Senators John Cooke and Kerry Donovan.
If the plans go through, Colorado will become the latest state to make wagering on sports legal following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal PASPA in May last year, which effectively lifted the federal ban on sports betting.