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$29M+ in Sports Betting Tax Revenue: What Colorado Voters Need to Know About Funding Water Conservation Projects!

Colorado Voters to Decide on Using $29M+ Sports Betting Tax Revenue for Water Conservation

Will Colorado‘s $29M+ Sports Betting Tax Boost Water Conservation Projects?

According to the report of The Center Square, Colorado voters will soon decide if the state should use extra money from a sports betting tax for water conservation projects. This decision will be on the ballot in November and it’s all about whether to keep and spend the money from this tax when it goes over $29 million a year. The plan comes from House Bill 24-1436 which was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis. This bill was sponsored by Speaker Julie McCluskie, Rep. Marc Catlin, and Sens. Dylan Roberts and Cleave Simpson. Sports betting became legal in Colorado after voters approved Proposition DD in 2019 which included a 10% tax on sports betting operations. The money from this tax was meant to help with the state’s water plan and other public projects. Voters had set a cap of $29 million per year for these funds but the new measure asks if the state can use any money above this cap for water conservation instead of refunding it to sports betting operators.

Right now the tax revenue from sports betting helps pay for the administration of the state’s gaming division and also sends $130,000 a year to help people with gambling problems. The rest of the money goes into the Water Plan Implementation Cash Fund. If the measure passes any tax revenue over $29 million will also go into this fund. If it doesn’t pass the extra money will be refunded to sports betting operators. Since sports betting was legalized more than $65 million has been raised for water projects, according to Conservation Colorado an environmental nonprofit. They argue that using the extra money for water conservation is better than increasing profits for casinos and sports betting operators.  The Colorado Gaming Association has pointed out that the tax revenue from sports betting has already exceeded early expectations. In its first yea, the tax generated almost five times more money for water projects than expected. They believe the growing sports betting industry will continue to boost funds for Colorado’s water future.

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$29M+ in Sports Betting Tax Revenue: What Colorado Voters Need to Know About Funding Water Conservation Projects! (PHOTO: Wilklow & Associates, CPA PC)

Future-Proofing Colorado

Furthermore, although the state’s sports betting tax revenue hasn’t yet gone over $29 million estimates suggest it will soon. Predictions say the excess could be $2.8 million in fiscal year 2023-2024 $5.2 million in 2024-2025 and $7.2 million in 2025-2026. However, there is a delay in when the money becomes available so the extra funds wouldn’t be accessible until September of the following fiscal year. The first Colorado Water Plan, published in 2015 and updated in 2023 outlines strategies to address the state’s water issues through 2050 focusing on funding, equity, planning, storage, efficiency, education, and forest health.

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