Colorado, which has had casino gambling for years, is getting ready to approve a sports gambling measure. There has been a debate about sports gambling in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last May. The High Court said states had the power to decide for themselves whether to approve sportsbooks. Legislators have reached a bipartisan agreement and the bill is currently winding its way through the Colorado House.
Colorado Gambling Centers on Tourism
Colorado centers its gambling around tourists. The state has casinos in three mountain towns that are close to prime ski resorts. Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek all have multiple casinos. All three towns also have a mining history, which they capitalize on. In all, the state has 26 casinos in these towns.
Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek have Old West storefronts, saloons, and shootouts for visitors. They remain very popular with tourists who want a taste of the Old West. Colorado has seen a nice jump in its revenue since it legalized gambling. The state sees about $8 billion in gambling revenue each year.
If the bill passes the House, it will go to the Senate. The governor must also sign it before it can become a law, and voters must approve it. The bill would allow 17 sportsbooks at various casinos in the three towns. The casinos would have to apply for an additional license to receive a sportsbook. Sportsbooks would only be legal in those three towns. The casinos would have the opportunity to offer online sportsbooks or have sportsbook kiosks in them.
Money from the sportsbook revenue would fund the Colorado Water Plan. This is a comprehensive program for the conservation of water in the state. Colorado expects to see its population double by 2060. The state will need to conserve and reuse water in each of its nine river basins. The plan has not received the funds it needs, and it has yet to meet its goals. Officials are concerned that without a conservation plan in place with benchmarks and funding, Colorado could face a water crisis.
For and Against
There are many people in Colorado who are in favor of the bill. Many legislators think that adding sportsbooks to the gambling landscape will eliminate the black market. This also means the state government would get a piece of the gambling pie through the tax revenue. Legislators also feel that by legalizing gambling, they are minimizing the amount of crime associated with illegal sportsbooks. Through regulation, they feel they can control sports gambling.
There are people in the state who are not happy with the proposed law, however. The state left the City of Aurora, which is home to a horse racing track, out of the sportsbook legislation. Off-track betting locations in the Denver metro area were also left out. The company that owns the Twin Rivers track lobbied hard to get a sportsbook there. Its argument was that the more places in the state that have sportsbooks, the more revenue the state will receive. However, Twin Rivers is not out of the running. The company is in talks to purchase three mountain casinos in the state. This purchase would allow it to apply for a sportsbook license.
Sports leagues are also unhappy. The proposed legislation would not force sportsbooks to use data from professional and college sports leagues. The professional sports leagues have sold their data to sportsbooks in other states to provide an additional revenue stream.
One group that is sure to be happy with the legislation? Colorado gamblers and tourists who would be able to bet on sports.
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