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Colorado betting bill headed to Governor’s desk after Senate approval


A bill to legalise mobile and land-based wagering in Colorado has raced through the state legislature and now heads to Governor Jared Polis’ desk for final approval. 

HB19-1327 was passed by the Colorado Senate by a vote of 27-8 on May 3, the final day of the state’s legislative session. Its passage through the upper chamber comes just a week after it passed the House of Representatives, with the bill only introduced on April 18. 

The bill hands responsibility for regulating the market to the Colorado Gaming Control Commission, and imposes a 10% gross revenue tax on sports wagering operators. This tax measure must to be put to voters in order to come into effect, which could take place at the state’s general election in November.

While the bill does not finalize license fees, it notes that any fees for the initial licence or their renewal should cover the costs of processing the application and carrying out background checks. This, it says, should be no more than $125,000. 

Colorado’s 33 land-based casinos would require a master license to operate sports betting, which would be valid for two years. This is one of three license types available, alongside sports betting operator and internet sports betting operator licenses. 

Each master license holder will be able to contract with one of each license type. 

Revenue generated from taxing legal sports betting would be deposited in the Sports Betting Fund, created through HB19-1327 and used to pay off any money owed to the State General Fund to cover the Commission’s start-up costs, as well as covering its operating expenses.

A further 6% would be transferred to the Hold Harmless Fund and used to mitigate loss of revenue incurred by colleges, cities, counties or horse racing entities as a result of legal wagering.

In addition, $130,000 would be allocated to the Office of Behavioural Health in the Colorado Department of Human Services to prevent and treat gambling related harm, while the rest would be used for the Colorado Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund.