Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Sports Betting Coming to Colorado?

Online sports betting is moving rapidly into the states since the Supreme Court 2015 ruling it was allowed. Some states, like New Jersey, allow wide-open online sports gaming. Eighty percent of all New Jersey legal wager games are now online, with betting tied with Nevada. Other states, like Colorado, are considering legalization, but limiting it to casinos. Twelve states currently allow sports betting, and four of them limit betting to physical locations, which is the approach Colorado voters will decide on November 5, 2019.

Colorado’s Proposition DD starts with little public awareness, but a good chance of passage if strongly promoted. However, as a tax increase, even if a sin tax, TABOR language applies, so as opposed to the happy talk language of the TABOR override (Proposition CC), the sports betting initiative opens with: “Shall state taxes be increased by $29 million annually…”

Proposition DD: Authorize and tax sports betting
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 OPERATIONS?

A recent poll among Adams County likely November voters showed support and opposition both well under 50 percent and about tied with a significant, but not surprising, 18 percent undecided (40% favor, 42% oppose).


But with funds going to valued Colorado water programs and support but no opposition from the gaming community, the proposition should be able to overcome initial concern about giving more tax dollars to the ill-trusted state government. One hostile group is the most adamant anti-water management environmentalists. They are trying to rally their constituents in opposition.

A well-funded campaign has already started public relations with endorsements from agricultural organizations. It is also endorsed by the water provider community and business community.

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