Citizens of Colorado will see an item on the ballot this November that asks them to help the state turn betting sports into water. Back in May proposition DD was approved for inclusion in the state elections this coming November and aims to use tax revenue from sports gambling to pay directly for several clean water projects in the state. According to The Aspen Times, the bill was fully supported by the gambling industry in Colorado.
Like any tax-related topic, changes must be accepted by Colorado citizens according to the constitution of the state. According to officials, Prop DD was designed to help close a gap in government funding that currently stands at around $3 billion and could increase. It would pave the way for the Colorado Water Program and allow the state to raise up to $29 million a year in a 10 percent tax on casino sports gambling operations.
Of that number, which bean counters plan to concentrate on about $16 million annually more realistically, $130,000 will go to gambling addiction services and $960,000 will be placed into a “hold harmless” account. The fund, approved by legislators, will authorise conventional gambling practices to seek compensation if they could show their financial well-being affected by sports gambling.
The remainder would go to various projects set up to help achieve the goals of the Colorado Water Program. These include projects such as the Colorado River Compact (CRC), which includes many states, including Colorado, which allows those states to provide Lake Powell with 7.5 million acres of water each year, a reservoir that straddles the Arizona-Utah border. In addition to Colorado, the treaty covers Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico, with water bound for Lower Basin states like Arizona, Nevada, and California.
The CRC is not the only possible tax revenue beneficiary. Colorado-based water managers can also apply for grants to assist with certain projects such as farming, tourism, recycling and development through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and Prop DD will provide more support. $10 million will be allocated to the Water Plan Grant Program for Colorado’s upcoming fiscal year, but Prop DD would raise that amount by about $15 million a year.
The gaming community was instrumental in campaigning for the cause in addition to the obvious proponents of the measure— conservation organizations, farmers etc. According to information available from the office of the Colorado Secretary of State, by the end of September, the gambling industry raised almost $1 million to support the political action committee Yes on Prop DD.