Voters in Colorado narrowly approved a measure this week that would allow the state’s 33 licensed casinos to offer regulated sports betting. Though the bill never had much opposition in the days leading up to this week’s election, it narrowly squeaked past the gate with a margin of just 23,000 votes.

The bill the voters ultimately approved, HB 19-1327, allowed casinos to offer both in-person and online sports betting for their customers. Unlike the rest of Colorado’s gaming industry, sportsbooks will not be held to a $100 stake limit and will be free to set stakes themselves.

Revenue from sports betting will be subject to a 10 percent tax and that money is earmarked for the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The Board will use proceeds, which are expected to be as high as $11 million by the end of the fiscal year, to fund various water conservation projects. It’s expected that once regulated sports betting kicks into high gear in the Centennial State, it will generate as much as $100 million a year for the Water Conservation Board.

The impetus for promoting Colorado sports betting in the first place was not tax revenue, according to a report on RotoGrinders.com, but rather a desire to combat black market sports betting. The measure’s sponsor Alec Garrett described the scourge of illegal sports betting saying, “It’s sweeping the country. It is our hope that this measure will help stamp out black market sports betting.”

Less happy about the measure’s success were, of course, the professional sports leagues. Though they howled about the integrity of their games and data, they were unable to extract a pound of flesh from Colorado’s taxpayers through “integrity fees”.


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