Colorado voters approve sports betting launch by May 2020


colorado-sports-betting-vote-approvedColorado’s sports betting plans are go after voters narrowly approved a ballot referendum on Tuesday, although it took the state 24 hours to confirm the result.

When Colorado voters went to bed last night, they were left in the dark as to the fate of Proposition DD, a ballot measure asking state residents whether to approve legal wagering at the state’s 33 brick-and-mortar casinos and statewide via online and mobile sportsbooks. As of late Tuesday and even into Wednesday morning, the result was still too close to call.

By Wednesday afternoon, Denver media outlets were quoting data from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office which showed Prop DD passing by a margin of slightly more than 20k of the 1.4m ballots counted. In the end, 50.7% of voters ticked ‘yes’ on their ballot, with support reportedly much stronger in urban areas than rural communities.

State legislators approved their betting plans this spring, but Colorado requires voters to offer the final thumbs up or down on matters of taxation. The phrasing of the ballot’s betting question contained a somewhat confusing preamble asking if taxes should be raised by $29m to fund state water projects, which likely made the betting vote closer than it should have been.

Prop DD sponsor Alec Garnett, Colorado’s House majority leader, echoed this view, telling local media that there was “a base of people who no matter what if you plan to raise taxes on anyone whether it’s casinos or puppies they’re going to be against it.”

Under Colorado’s betting rules, wagering can get underway as early as May 1, 2020, assuming the state’s 17 casino operators can sign up their land-based and digital betting technology partners and have those partners’ technology approved by the Colorado Division of Gaming in time. Operators will pay 10% tax on their betting revenue and there’s no requirement for in-person registration of betting accounts.

A total of 19 states have now authorized some form of legal sports betting, 13 of which are currently actively engaged in wagering but only eight of these 13 permit statewide digital betting. Oregon became the eighth digital betting state last month following the launch of the Oregon Lottery’s Scoreboard mobile betting app.