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Colorado Becomes 19th State to Legalize Sports Betting

November 13, 2019

Legalized sports betting will soon be making its way to Colorado after voters narrowly approved Proposition DD. The measure passed by a mere 2.5%, indicating a split in public opinion. Colorado becomes the 19th state to approve some form of legalized sports betting.

Rep. Alec Garnett was a primary sponsor of the bill to bring sports betting to Colorado. The passage of the bill hinged on Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights. This amendment to the state's constitution stipulates that bills like Proposition DD must be brought before the public and approved by vote. This was only the third time in Colorado's history that the state has voted to pass a bill subject to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

What is Next for Colorado Sports Betting?

The approval of sports betting in Colorado is just the beginning of a long road toward the actual appearance of online and offline racebooks. Garnett had hoped to see frameworks in place by the start of 2020 but that seems unlikely. Most analysts project that the first sportsbooks in Colorado could appear as soon as May 2020.

Up to 33 gaming providers can apply for licensing to operate a sportsbook under the law. Garnett believes that the state will receive nine or ten applications for licensing. The licenses issued by the state will allow gaming providers to operate a physical sportsbook, an online sportsbook, or both. It is likely that most of those seeking a license will opt to open both platforms.

Colorado has a vibrant local sports market with the Broncos, Nuggets, and Rockies representing the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Online sports betting operations in other states have sought to establish partnerships with local sports franchises in an effort to get their betting platforms off the ground. The same could happen in Colorado.

Overseeing all of the legalized sports betting action in the state will be the Colorado Division of Gaming. This agency currently oversees the operations of the land-based casinos in Colorado. A primary duty of the CDG will be to vet all of the providers who seek to gain a license for sports betting.

More states are expected to join Colorado in 2020 with measures aimed at legalized online and offline gambling.


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