Last week, the Colorado Senate approved a sports betting bill, which will now be sent to the state’s Governor for approval.
The state Senate voted 27-8 in favor of the proposed legislation on Friday 3 May, the same day that Colorado’s 2019 legislative session came to an end.
The bill titled, HB19-1327, will now be sent to Governor Jared Polis for final approval. If the bill receives the Governor’s signature, Colorado’s voters will have the opportunity to vote whether to authorize sports betting.
The bill was introduced on April 18 and has managed to clear both the House and Senate in the space of two weeks. Last week the House voted on the bill where it passed by a vote of 58-6.
Because Colorado is a Taxpayer Bill of Rights state, any legislation that would introduce a new tax rate requires voter approval via a referendum.
Although the bill doesn’t propose a date for a vote, the Centennial State could vote on sports betting in November when a general election is set to take place.
If the bill is approved by Colorado’s Governor and gets the support of voters, Colorado could launch sports betting in time for 2020.
In August last year, Colorado’s attorney general Cynthia Coffman released an 11-page document outlining her opinion on the legalities of authorizing sports betting in Colorado, suggesting that voter approval is not required to authorize the activity.
However, In October, Representative Cole Wist told The Denver Post, that voters deserved to have their voice heard.
Wist said: “I think it’s important to go back to the voters and make sure it’s something that they want. I think there are reasons legally why we don’t have to, but we have to be respectful of that history.”
What’s in HB19-1327?
If the bill gains the support of the Governor and voters, land-based and state-wide mobile sports betting will be legalized in Colorado.
Three different types of sports betting license will be available: a master license, a sports betting operator license and an internet sports betting operator license. The cost of these licenses has yet to be set.
The 33 casinos in the state would be able to apply for master licenses. Each casino will be able to partner with a land-based sports betting operator and an internet sports betting operator.
The bill also proposes a 10% gross revenue tax for sports betting operators in the state.
HB19-1327 would also establish the Colorado Gaming Control Commission (CGCC), a new regulatory body charged with regulating the state’s sports betting industry.
Elsewhere in the US, Montana has become the first state to legalize sports betting in 2019.