A new poll indicates that Colorado is poised to become the latest state to legalize sports betting following the Tuesday, Nov. 5 elections.
Proposition DD will be considered by Centennial State voters today and is being pitched as a way for the state to shore up some of the $100 million annual shortfall in its water budget. Earlier this year, Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, signed a bill that passed the state’s Democrat-controlled legislature authorizing Prop DD’s placement on the 2019 ballot.
Initial polls on the fate of Prop DD showed murky prospects at best for the sports betting plan. But the effort has gained momentum over the past couple of months. The fourth annual Colorado Political Climate Survey, recently conducted by the University of Colorado-Boulder, forecasts easy passage for Prop DD.
We expect Proposition DD – the measure to legalize and tax sports gambling – to win handily,” said the university. “Sixty-two percent of Colorado voters favor the measure, and the proposition garners big majorities among Democrats (71%) and independents (64%).”
The poll was conducted between Oct. 23 and Nov. 1, and surveyed 800 registered Centennial State voters.
Not A Cure-All
Colorado’s population is about 5.69 million and the state is one of the fastest-growing in the country, underscoring the need for adequate water funding. The population there is up from 4.43 million in 2000 and could top 11 million by 2060.
While various industry groups, including the state’s massive farmer and rancher community, as well as local media, support Prop DD, sports betting won’t solve all of Colorado’s water budget issues. The most aggressive estimates forecast an annual tax haul of $20 million for the state off of sports betting, leaving the water program short by $80 million.
Still, support for the sports betting referendum is highly bipartisan, as nearly half of Republican voters surveyed by the University of Colorado said they’ll vote in favor of the measure.
This is the question the pollsters put to survey participants: “Proposition DD would legalize and tax sports gambling at licensed casinos in Colorado with revenue from the 10% tax being spent to fund state water projects and commitments along with gambling addiction services. If the election were held today, would you vote yes or no on this proposition?”
Assuming Prop DD passes today, and it appears that will happen, the 17 operators of the state’s 33 casinos will be allowed to apply for permits to run brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, with online and mobile platforms expected to be approved in the future.
Even before it appeared, voters were warm to sports betting in Colorado. Gaming companies showed a willingness to bet on it being approved and have been among the largest contributors to the “Yes on DD” campaign.
Gaming companies with Colorado footprints include Century Casinos, Eldorado Resorts, Full House Resorts, Monarch Casino, and Penn National Gaming.
It’s widely expected that if Prop DD passes, the earliest sports betting will be operational in Colorado will be May 2020. Although that means bettors there will have to wait six months until the start of the 2020 football season, the Centennial State will enjoy some geographic sports betting benefits, because of the seven states Colorado borders, only New Mexico has legalized sports wagering, and none of the other six are close to doing so.