Colorado lawmakers have introduced a bill that would leave the decision as to whether not to legalize sports betting to the voters. It’s an ambitious bill that must be debated and put to the General Assembly before their session closes on May 3.

The bill was introduced by Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and Republican Minority Leader Patrick Neville and would allow the state’s licensed casinos to offer sports betting on college and professional games, including those played inside the state. Limits on wagers would be set by the local operators. (Though under current laws, the maximum wager in the state of Colorado is capped at $100.)

Because the bill includes a 10 percent flat tax on wagers, the bill itself would have to approved the state’s voters in next election cycle. Under Colorado law, any tax increase must be put on the ballot, regardless of where the money goes. That said, Colorado has proven itself to be relatively open to new gambling measures and added table games to the “limited gambling” in three of its former mining towns (Central City,Blackhawk,and Cripple Creek) just a few years ago.

The bill’s sponsors suggest that it would raise somewhere in the area of $10-$20 million a year in tax revenues. That money would be spent on higher education, water conservation efforts and fighting problem gambling.

In a statement to DenverChannel.com, Garnett said he liked the bill’s chances saying, “This is a market that is going to continue to mature…If you want to (bet), government shouldn’t be the one that says you can’t.”


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