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Proposition DD will be on the ballot in November for Colorado voters to decide if they want three mountain towns with casinos to be the first gaming operations in the state to offer sports betting.
Central City, Cripple Creek and Black Hawk were given casinos in the early 1990s in an effort by voters to save the towns’ local economy and therefore, the city’s existence.
The casinos have allowed the three towns to flourish over the past three decades and now voters will be given the chance to give the locations another shot in the arm with sports betting.
If Proposition DD passes, the three casinos will be allowed to take bets on baseball and football games plus other sporting events starting in May of 2020.
The proposition would also allow limited gambling through mobile apps on phones and other devices.
What the proposition would not do is expand gambling statewide, instead allowing the three casino towns to continue their monopoly on the gaming industry in Colorado.
Early polling on the measure leaves Proposition DD with a roughly 50/50 shot at passing.
According to recent polling done in Colorado, likely November voters gave 40% approval to Prop. DD with 42% opposed and 18% without an opinion.
One of the hurdles that Prop. DD has to clear is voters understanding of the language of the bill. In part, the opening of the measure claims to raise state taxes, something local residents might not be inclined to do, even with the opportunity to bet on sports.
The bill reads on the ballot:
“Shall State Taxes Be Increased By Twenty-Nine Million Dollars Annually To Fund State Water Projects And Commitments And To Pay For The Regulation Of Sports Betting Through Licensed Casinos…
…By Authorizing A Tax On Sports Betting Of Ten Percent Of Net Sports Betting Proceeds, And To Impose The Tax On Persons Licensed To Conduct Sports Betting Operations?”
Simply put, the bill would not tax citizens for sports betting, just for the attached water conservation project, but rather place a 10 percent tax on all sports betting revenue collected by the three casinos.
Another fear that residents have in Colorado is that gambling would spread to other areas of the state, an issue that sponsors of the bill, Majority Leader Alec Garnett and Minority Leader Patrick Neville considered when writing the bill.
“For the people who were fearful of the negative impacts of sports gambling and for folks who were concerned this was going to spread to every corner of the state, we decided to keep the brick-and-mortar businesses in the gaming communities,” Garnett said.
If Prop. DD passes, then the state will have about six months before they’ll be ready to regulate sports betting at the three casinos.
For the casinos, they’ll need to find sportsbook partner that can handle day-to-day operations as residents and visitors flood the gaming operators to bet on the local Denver Broncos and the Colorado Rockies.
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