Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed off on a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state, but the measure must now be put to voters in order to come into effect.
HB19-1327 was only introduced on April 18 but quickly passed through the state legislature, securing approval from both the House and Senate, and now the Governor.
However, the bill must now face a public vote, as a result of the new taxes it sets for legal wagering, with Colorado citizens likely to vote on the measure during state’s general election in November.
The bill establishes the Colorado Gaming Control Commission to regulate the sports betting sector, with operators that secure a licence to offer services in the state to face a tax rate of 10% on gross revenue.
Although the bill does not set out exact license fees, it does state that any licence or renewal fee should cover Commission costs of processing the application and conducting background checks, but not exceed $125,000 (£99,024/€112,258).
Colorado will offer three types of licenses to operators: a master license, sports betting operator license and internet sports betting operator license. All 33 land-based casinos in Colorado must obtain a master license to offer sports wagering, with this permit allowing them to contract entities holding either of the other licences.
Each master licensee will be permitted to work with one sports betting operator license holder – covering land-based wagering – and one internet operator licensee.
Revenue from taxing sports betting will be deposited in the Sports Betting Fund, which will also be created by the bill, and used to pay off any money owed to the State General Fund to cover the Commission’s start-up costs.
A further 6% of tax income will 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 will 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.