Proposition DD, which is the measure to legalise Colorado sports betting, pulled slightly ahead overnight in ballot counting, although the margin is still very small.
With more than 1.3 million ballots counted (nearly 80% reporting), Prop DD passes by 13.141 votes Wednesday morning, a lead of nearly 1 point (50.48% to 49.52%).
According to the Office of the Secretary of State, counting is not finished in some of the most populated counties of the state such as Denver, El Paso, Jefferson, Pueblo, and Boulder, but it is uncertain how many ballots are left out, as stated by The Denver Post. Just 58 of the 64 counties of the state have completely reported.
DD will allow sports betting in Colorado and impose a 10% house winnings tax on casinos that would greatly benefit Colorado’s Water Program. If licenced, Colorado’s 33 casinos would be permitted in May next year to provide in-person and online wagering on private, university, motor and Olympic sports. The business would be controlled by the Colorado division of Gaming.
There was little opposition to the proposal to allow Coloradans to place bets on the outcome of sporting events, but some voters may have been balanced by the ballot language that described it as a tax increase. The measure did not face an active campaign of opposition, although it was argued against by some activists and political figures. Under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, politicians had to put the tax issue to voters.
The state’s earliest modern move into legalised gambling came in 1991, when casinos in Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek begun to open. A bipartisan team of state legislators, Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and his Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Patrick Neville, have channelled the proposed betting market through these cities in part because Colorado voters have reported a reluctance to expand gambling to other locations in the recent past.
Proposition DD would allow the state to collect up to $29 million per year from the new tax, although it is not expected that this amount will flow into state coffers until the betting market matures. Usually, sportsbooks take a 5-7% cut from each bet, and the tax would be added to what they are pocketing.
Initial tax revenue figures begin at approximately $10 million in the first full fiscal year, based on projections that Colorado licensees will take bets of $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion, based on the fiscal impact statement of the measure. Analysts also estimated that the gambling tax in the first five years would carry a total of $16 million, with $14.9 million going to the Colorado Water Program.
Under Proposition DD, bets on professional sports and some bets on college sports would be permitted It would also allow betting on licenced eSports. But the measure would not permit bets on college players ‘ in-game performance, and it would bar any bets on high school sports.