Colorado makes late play for legal sports betting

23 April 2019

A group of Colorado representative and senators have put forward a new bill with the aim of legalising in-person, online and mobile sports betting in the US state.

HB19-1327 has been introduced to the House and is now with the Committee on Appropriations for further consideration. Representatives Alec Garnett and Patrick Neville, as well as senators Kerry Donovan and John Cooke, are backing the bill, which would need to pass before Colorado’s current legislative session ends on May 3.

Key points in the new bill include a tax rate of 10% on the net proceeds of sports betting activity to fund implementation of the state water plan and other public purposes. Colorado’s voters must approve this measure at the state’s general election this November.

The bill would also establish a new Gaming Control Commission to regulate the market and assume responsibility for the awarding of permanent and temporary licences.

HB19-1327 states that only a limited number of licences would be available, but does not clarify exactly how many. However, it does establish three types of licence that would be on offer: a master licence, a sports betting operator licence and an internet sports betting licence.

A master licence would only be available only to entities currently licensed to conduct limited gaming in Colorado. Only holders of this licence could operate in-person sports betting, while they would also be able to contract with operators that hold a sports betting or internet sports betting permit.

Master licensees would be permitted to work with only one of each, but operators would be permitted to hold both a sports betting or internet sports betting licence.

The bill does not specifically state how much any of these licences would cost, but it does say that any fee would cover the Commission’s costs of processing the initial application and any subsequent background investigations up to $150,000 (£115,400/€133,300).

However, it is not yet clear whether online and mobile betting would be allowed only at licensed venues or across the state. The bill only states that apps must bear the same brand as the website that they are accompanying.

If the bill were to come into law, it would become effective from May 1, 2020.

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