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The moment the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018, individual states were allowed to legalize, regulate, and tax their own sports betting markets, and since then over thirty states have done just that, while those remaining battle various issues that keep them stalled.
One such issue is problem gambling, or gambling addiction, which can do great emotional and financial damage to an individual and their family, which creates a moral dilemma for lawmakers who are considering adding legal sports betting market within their state.
Colorado has had legal sports betting since 2020, and now state leaders have begun to take the battle against problem gambling even more seriously, with House Speaker Alec Garnett introducing a bill on Tuesday that would fund responsible gambling programs in the state.
Peggy Brown, president of the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado (PGCC), was part of the effort to get that bill written, and her joyful reaction to Tuesday’s move was obvious, telling the media:
Today is an awesome day. We’ve been working toward this since November. We’ve expended a lot of time and energy and money into getting this done.
Brown is not the only state leader who had noticed a lack of financial effort on the part of Colorado to battle this ongoing concern.
In the almost two years that Colorado’s legal sports betting market has existed, problem gambling has been an issue, but the state had only earmarked $130,000 annually to tackle those problems, an underfunded budget that Speaker Garnett vowed to address.
PGCC advisor Brianne Doura-Schawohl was pleased that Garnett followed through on his prior promise and told reporters how impressed she was at the House Speaker’s efforts:
To see a state that has traditionally ranked as one of the worst in the nation, by way of problem gambling funding and programs, file a piece of legislation that would improve these initiatives significantly is to be commended.
The new bill would drastically increase the funding for battling problem gambling via a grant program organized by Colorado’s Limited Gaming Control Commission (LGCC), with $2.5 million of that money coming from taxes on gaming revenue and license fees.
It’s a bold stance against one of the main arguments anti-sports betting foes use against this new source of state income, but time could be running out for this particular bill.
Colorado’s current legislative session is scheduled to conclude on May 11, so for this bill to make its way through congress and to the desk of Governor Jared Polis for his signature, state lawmakers will have to move fast in the next two weeks.
Despite that impending deadline, PGCC President Brown remains optimistic, saying:
I’ve been told it can be done. We’ll see. There’s been some dragging of feet at some points.
Chances are other states are watching Colorado deal with this country-wide issue and how they handle it themselves could depend directly on whether Centennial State lawmakers can move quickly, but that is assuming this issue is significant enough to make that happen.
Keep checking back for the latest news and updates on this unfolding story.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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