Lawmakers deliberated. Stakeholders lobbied. A sports betting bill made its way onto the ballot.
Now, the future of legal wagering in Colorado sits in the hands of state voters.
Some six months after the state approved a bill to legalize sports betting, voters will decide the potential future of the industry on Tuesday, Nov. 5. They will weigh in on Proposition DD, which, if approved, will allow Colorado to integrate regulated wagering this fiscal year.
How Colorado Proposition DD looks
The verbiage of the proposition has confused many, which is bound to happen considering the text was pulled from H 1327, the bill allowing sports betting to be legalized.
“Shall state taxes be increased by twenty-nine million dollars annually to fund state water projects and commitments and to pay for the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos by authorizing a tax on sports betting of ten percent of net sports betting proceeds, and to impose the tax on persons licensed to conduct sports betting?”
As noted by Legal Sports Report, the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which requires a vote on measures that would increase taxes, allows “a fairly narrow lane in which ballot language can be constructed.”
Future of Colorado sports betting
As laid out in the bill, each of Colorado’s 33 commercial casinos could apply for licensing and form partnerships for online and retail sports betting. Each license spans two years.
Operators will have the authority to offer lines on professional sports as well as collegiate betting, though prop bets are prohibited.
As casinos in Colorado operate only within three remote mountain towns, brick-and-mortar success seems far-fetched. Fortunately, the state would allow online betting without the requirement for in-person registration.
As for the industry’s viability, a recent fiscal impact statement estimates that Colorado sports betting could generate up to $1.5 million in taxed revenue for the 2020 fiscal year, which would include just two months’ work. That implies the state’s industry could launch by May, since Colorado’s fiscal calendar ends at the end of June. By 2021, taxed revenue could reach $10.4 million by fiscal year 2021.
The state would impose a 10% tax on revenue.
Early indications for Proposition DD appear promising
Predicting the proposition’s success at the polls depends on who you ask.
By and large, however, many believe voters will approve Proposition DD.
The American Political Research Lab at the University of Colorado conducted its annual Colorado Political Climate Survey and found that 62% of registered voters indicated they would vote in favor of Proposition DD.
“We expect Proposition DD to win handily,” said Anand Sokhey, director of the lab. “Sixty-two percent of Colorado voters favor the measure, and the proposition garners big majorities among Democrats (71%) and independents (64%), and approaches a majority among Republicans (48%).”