Colorado makes last-ditch effort to legalize sports betting

If the Colorado legislature passes a new sports betting bill that was introduced late last week, the western U.S. state could see the activity legalized at casinos. However, in order for that to happen, voters must first approve the measure in the upcoming November vote.

The House Finance Committee has until the current legislative session adjourns on May 3, 2019, to pass H 1327 sponsored by Republican Rep. Patrick Neville and Sen. John Cooke, as well as Democrat Rep. Alec Garnett and Sen. Kerry Donovan.

“The fingertip app structure already exists. That is the black market”

As written, the bill would allow 17 in-person sportsbooks at casinos in Cripple Creek, Black Hawk and Central City. The measure would additionally permit gambling venues to apply for licenses to operate both online and mobile sports betting, with newly-licensed operators setting their own betting limits.

Already happening:

According to Fox 31 Denver…

Rep. Garnett reportedly told the news agency, “We know that people are betting illegally across the state of Colorado. If it’s already happening, it’s better to treat consumers fairly and to put it into a regulated marketplace.

“A casino could contract with an online sports operator — like Draft Kings or Fan Duel — and they could provide an application for consumers across the state to use,” added Garnett.

Ease of access:

However, the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado (PGCC) and groups like it are concerned, as president, Lawrence Wall, said…

“Not making clients go up into the casinos — and placing it right into every household throughout Colorado — does provide that access point. It’s only a matter of time where someone might get into trouble.”

Something that’s already taking place illegally, said Garnett.

“The fingertip app structure already exists. That is the black market. We aren’t really expanding the marketplace — we’re just going 7BALL CX to regulate that marketplace,” he said.

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Colorado Water Plan:

The state’s voters would decide whether sports betting operators would be taxed at 10 percent of their net proceeds each year beginning in May 2020, which would reportedly be used to implement the Colorado Water Plan, one of the state’s largest collaborative efforts ever and one that is reportedly in need of funding.

How much and where:

Garnett reportedly told Fox31…

“On the low end, you’ll see the state generate between $5-10 million in tax revenue. And on the higher end, as the market continues to mature, I think it plateaus around $20 million. It is a sustainable resource that will go toward conservation and protecting our water, which is really important to both rural and urban parts of the state.

Meanwhile, Wall reportedly told the news agency that somewhere in the neighborhood of $130,000 would be earmarked for resources addressing gambling addiction, such as the Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners hotline.

A good idea?

That being said, he also expressed concern over whether or not sports gambling, most notably digital betting, was a good thing. He explained that presenting people with the opportunity to wager from their homes rather than inside a casino would lead to trouble for many bettors.

“Do we have Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado [on the app], or a help line when someone is frequently gambling? What about some education or awareness for those college kids — or signs or symptoms of a potential disorder?” said, Wall.

If the bill passes before the current legislative session adjourns next Friday, The Centennial State would become the 10th state, and the first this year, to legalize sports betting.

On the docket:

Six states including Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Illinois and Maine have sports betting hearings this week.