• Proposition DD, which legalized sports betting in Colorado, passed by a voting margin of 51% to 49%.
  • Land-based sportsbooks in Colorado will be limited to the towns of Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City.
  • Mobile sports betting apps in CO will be available statewide.
  • Sports betting in Colorado is expected to launch on May 1, 2020.

DENVER – More than 1.3 million people placed their votes on Proposition DD on Tuesday. Ballots were counted all the way until Wednesday afternoon, but once the 180,000 outstanding ballots were accounted for, Colorado officially became the 19th state to legalize sports betting.

The Associated Press officially announced the results of Proposition DD at 2:33 p.m. MT on Wednesday. The final results of the race show voters approving Colorado sports betting by a thin margin of 51% voting in favor of Proposition DD while 49% voted against it.

CO HB19-1327 was the sports wagering bill that passed through the legislature earlier this year that put the measure on the ballot. The bill dictates the terms of what the new sports betting industry will look like in the Centennial State and received bipartisan support by state lawmakers.

Given how Republicans and Democrats in both legislative chambers supported the bill’s initiative to use sports wagering taxes to fund the Colorado Water Plan, Proposition DD was assumed to pass easily by voters.

However, the ballot language may have been to blame for the thin margin. Because of an amendment made to the Colorado constitution, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires any new taxes or tax increases to be approved by voters. This is why the ballot measure was written as follows:

“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 the net sports betting proceeds, and to impose the tax on persons licensed to conduct sports betting operations?”

What may have confused voters is that only sports betting operators will be the ones paying that 10 percent tax. Regular citizens and those that do not bet on sports in Colorado will not have to pay any new tax.

“TABOR requires us to start with, ‘Shall we raise taxes,’” said Alec Garnett, Democratic House Majority Leader and co-sponsor of CO HB19-1327. “There’s a baseline of voters in Colorado – it doesn’t matter if you’re taxing casinos or puppies – they’re going to be against taxes, period.”

Despite the possible confusion by voters, sports betting in Colorado is set to launch on May 1, 2020.

Land-based Colorado sportsbooks will be limited to casinos located in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City. Approved casinos in those cities will then be able to offer statewide mobile sports wagering apps in CO. Sports bettors will be able to sign up and use these apps no matter where they are located in the state.

According to the Associated Press, FanDuel and DraftKings combined to spend more than 1.5 million dollars campaigning for their support of Proposition DD. It is likely these companies will soon be serving Colorado sports betting enthusiasts in 2020.

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