Colorado lawmakers introduce bill to legalize sports dissipated

If the Rockies make the playoffs in 2020, it’s possible Coloradans could lawfully bet on the turn from Coors Field.

Two lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would ask voters in November whether they want to legalize sports dissipated throughout the state and tax the new industry’s net return at a rate of 10 percentage starting in May 2020.

“My goal has always been to eliminate the black market,” House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, aforementioned.

His bill with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, would allow the 17 companies that own Colorado’s 33 casinos to apply for thing called a master license. The license would give them permission to open a physical sports book at one of their casinos and to contract with a company of their choosing to operate an online sports book or cell phone app.

One important thing the bill doesn’t do is let racetracks apply for master licenses.

“I wanted to maintain the intent of voters to keep gaming in those three mountain towns,” Garnett aforementioned.

In 2014, voters overwhelmingly rejected a projected state constitutional amendment to expand gaming to certain racetracks around the state. The campaign, which was heavily funded by the casinos, was one of the most high-ticket in Colorado’s history.

Garnett has “done a good job of delivery together all the neutral groups,” aforementioned Peggi O’Keefe, a inducer for Colorado’s casinos who worked with him on the legislation.

O’Keefe told The Denver Post that Colorado’s casinos support the bill.

It puts sports dissipated under the regulatory thumb of the Division of gaming and gives the agency discretion to make rules about property like how to verify a person’s age before lease them bet through an online system.

O’Keefe antecedently suggested Colorado follow Nevada’s example and verify players in person at a casino before opening an account. The challenge with that method of verification is that Colorado’s casinos are clustered in one location, which means players in the four corners of the state would spend a day traveling to and from the mountains to open an account.

Other states that allow sports dissipated, like New Jersey, let players register through an online verification system.

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New Jersey is actually the reason sports dissipated is even an option for Colorado. The state with success challenged a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that limited dissipated on sports to a handful of states. The U.S. Supreme Court smitten PAPSA down as constitutional in May 2018.

Nearly 30 states started working on legalizing sports dissipated following the ruling, and Colorado’s proposal mirrors a lot of what’s happening in places like Delaware and West Virginia.

Colorado’s ballot question would ask voters if the state could collect 10 percentage of the net sports dissipated return. That’s about what New Jersey and Delaware presently charge their casinos. Nevada, which levies a 6.75 percentage tax on gross revenue from sports dissipated, is the lowest.

“It’s not a huge margin on sports dissipated,” O’Keefe aforementioned. “This is a number we can live with and still make a profit.”

How much of a profit the state will make off sports dissipated isn’t clear yet, but she estimated Colorado would take in about $7 million to $9 million annually.

“Nevada made $15 million when they had a monopoly,” she aforementioned.

Candidates during the 2018 election threw out estimates 10 times as high, but once the experts started crunching the numbers they quickly accomplished Colorado would never collect enough money from bets on the Broncos — even if they make it to the Super Bowl — to pay for Colorado’s transportation project backlog or even fully fund all-day kindergarten.

Garnett and Neville plan to put the sports dissipated revenue toward Colorado’s water plan if voters say yes in November.