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Authorize And Tax Sports Betting Refer Under Taxpayers' Bill Of Rights

Concerning sports betting, and, in connection therewith, submitting to the registered electors of the state of Colorado a ballot measure authorizing the collection of a tax on the net proceeds of sports betting through licensed casinos, directing the revenues generated through collection of the sports betting tax to specified public purposes, including the state water plan through creation of the water plan implementation cash fund, and making an appropriation.
2019 Regular Session
Business & Economic Development
Gaming, Lottery, & Racing
State Revenue & Budget
Bill Summary

Gambling - betting on sports events - legalization - creation of division of sports betting - rule-making authority - taxation - submission of ballot issue under Taxpayers' Bill of Rights - allocation of tax revenues - appropriation. In 2018, the United States supreme court held in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association , 138 S. Ct. 1461, that a federal law prohibiting states from authorizing sports betting violated the tenth amendment of the United States constitution. States may now authorize sports betting.

The act decriminalizes sports betting in Colorado, effective May 1, 2020, under the following conditions:

  • The collection of a tax on the net proceeds of sports betting must be approved by the registered electors of Colorado at the November 2019 general election;
  • Sports betting will be regulated by the department of revenue, subject to supervision by the existing limited gaming control commission;
  • A limited number of licenses will be issued. Persons or entities currently licensed to conduct limited gaming (i.e., the owners of casinos in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek) are the only persons or entities eligible to hold a "master license" to conduct sports betting upon paying a license fee and submitting to background checks. A master license entitles the licensee to contract with a licensed "sports betting operator" or a licensed "internet sports betting operator", or both, for the operation of sports betting.
  • The conduct of sports betting in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek is further conditioned on approval by the voters of the respective city in a local election to be held concurrently with the statewide election in November 2019; and
  • The state will collect a tax of 10% on the net proceeds of sports betting activity to fund implementation of the state water plan and other public purposes. Of the total amount of tax collected, after first repaying the general fund appropriation for startup and initial operating costs, 6% is set aside annually to compensate the beneficiaries of revenues generated by limited gaming and other wagering activities for any losses attributable to competition from sports betting.

$1,739,015 is appropriated from the general fund to the department of revenue for startup and initial operating costs in the 2019-20 state fiscal year.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details