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Colorado Prop DD: Sports betting measure in a near-tie
6th November, 03:50Colorado voters were almost evenly split on a ballot question that would legalize and tax sports betting Tuesday night.
As of 8:35 p.m., there were 521,780 votes in favor of Proposition DD -- 49.66% -- and 528,888 votes -- 50.34% -- in opposition.
Proposition DD would allow casino operators to enter a new legal betting market in Colorado, profiting off bets on professional and sanctioned sports that are placed in person, or through mobile apps and websites run by operators contracted by the casinos. The providers would pay a 10% tax to the state on their net proceeds, with the money largely going to help fill gaps in Colorado's water plan.
The measure didn't face an active opposition campaign, though some activists and political figures argued against it. Lawmakers had to put the tax question to voters under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights.
Voters at a polling station in Denver's Sunnyside neighborhood Tuesday were split on the issue.
Matt Wade said he voted against Proposition DD because "I didn't want Colorado to become a gambling state."
While she's no gambler, Nellie Medina strongly supported DD. "If it's going to help Colorado be better, if it's going to fund some action on water, I'm all for it," she said.
If voters approve DD, Coloradans could begin placing legal bets in May. The Colorado Division of Gaming would regulate the market.
Colorado is among at least 42 states that have at least considered allowing sports gambling. The rush came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that invalidated a federal law outlawing betting for all but Nevada.
The state's first modern foray into legalized gambling came in 1991, when casinos authorized by voters began opening in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. A bipartisan team of state lawmakers, Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett and his Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Patrick Neville, channeled the proposed betting market through those towns in part because Colorado voters have signaled a reluctance to expand gambling to other places in the recent past.
Proposition DD would allow the state to collect up to $29 million a year from the new tax, though that amount isn't expected to flow into state coffers until the betting market matures. Sportsbooks typically take a 5% to 7% cut of each bet, and the tax would be applied to what they pocket.
Initial tax revenue estimates start at roughly $10 million in the first full fiscal year, based on projections that Colorado licensees will take $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion in bets, according to the measure's fiscal impact statement. Analysts have projected the betting tax would bring in an average of $16 million in the first five years, with $14.9 million of that going toward the Colorado Water Plan.
Under Proposition DD, bets on professional sports would be allowed, as well as some bets on college sports. Betting on sanctioned e-sports -- video game tournaments -- also would be allowed. But the measure wouldn't allow bets on the in-game performance of college players, and it would bar any bets on high school sports.
This story will be updated as new election results are released.