Colorado Legislators Race to Finish Sports Betting Bill for Voters’ Approval

Colorado Races to Complete Sports Betting Bill

With only a month left before Colorado wraps up their current legislative session, lawmakers are racing against the clock to assemble a sports betting bill they believe voters will support.

House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, a Democrat from Denver, has maintained to local media that he will introduce a bill this session.

“But that could change tomorrow,” he quipped. “It’s like weather in Colorado, it can change at any moment.”

Garnett’s joke to the assembled media underlines the difficulty Colorado lawmakers face when getting a measure to voters.

Putting a bill on the docket for debate is one thing, but getting a finalized measure to voters might not be possible within 30 days.

If there is a window of light for getting a bill created and approved, it is that the legislation is being drawn up behind the closed doors of legislators’ offices.

“We’ve been working the last couple of months with stakeholders trying to build what a legal sports gambling framework would look like in Colorado,” Garnett said.

Garnett also stated that current plans would allow Coloradans to place bets online to stay current with today’s betting industry.

“Nobody does this in person anymore. This is all done on your phone,” Garnett added.

Can the Colorado Legislation Bypass Voters?

Yes, legislators in the state could legally bypass voters and approve sports gambling on their own, but there are potential stumbling blocks along the way.

The first hurdle to jump would be adjusting the criminal code in Colorado that establishes sports betting as an illegal activity.

The state’s Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman, has already issued an opinion that the state’s legal restrictions on gambling do not apply directly to sports betting.

AG Coffman believes that lawmakers will only need to alter Title 18 in the Colorado Revised Statutes, that says sports gambling is an illegal activity inside the state.

But even with Coffman’s blessing, legislators are hesitant to leapfrog voters.

“I think it’s important to go back to the voters and make sure it’s something that they want,” Cole Wist, a Republican Representative from Centennial said.

“I think there are reasons legally why we don’t have to, but we have to be respectful of that history.”

Has Colorado Always Been Resistant to Gambling?

Historically, state voters have been resistant to approve an expansion of gambling.

Colorado did not allow gambling via casinos in the state until 1991 and a measure to expand gambling to racetracks in 2014 failed in spectacular fashion with 70% of voters opposed.

However, despite the history, sports betting may be popular enough to change the hearts and minds of Colorado voters.

With the clock winding down, it will be challenging to get sports betting to voters in November.

The smart money might be on the bet that legislators forego this legislative session and make sports betting a priority for 2020 when voter turnout will be high due to it being a presidential election year.

We've been featured on:
espn logo
reuters logo
cbs-news logo
forbes logo
entrepreneur logo
entrepreneur logo
We only list licensed sportsbooks
WorldSportsNetwork
WorldSportsNetwork
WorldSportsNetwork
WorldSportsNetwork

© Rebel Penguin ApS 2023 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)

We support responsible gambling. If you feel like you're losing control over your gambling experience, call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, PA, WV), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-522-4700 (NV), 1-800-522-4700 (CO, TN), 1-855-2CALLGA (IL), 1-800-270-7117 (MI).

WSN.com is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.

Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.