Colo. Bill Would Steer $10.6M In Bet Revenue To Water Projects

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A Colorado bill introduced last week would allocate $10.6 million in sports betting revenue from the state’s water plan implementation cash fund to grants intended for the state water plan.

The Senate bill, introduced Friday by Senators Dylan Roberts, a Democrat, and Cleave Simpson, a Republican, concerns funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board projects. It steers $380,000 to an active satellite monitoring system; $500,000 to floodplain map modernization; $500,000 to the weather modification permitting program; $500,000 to continuation of the watershed restoration program; $150,000 to continue the Colorado Mesonet program; and $1 million to continuation of the weather forecasting partnership project.

Additional allocations include $800,000 for water resources mobile field data collection, $1 million for the reservoir enlargement assessment project, $3 million for the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District’s augmentation efficiency project, and $2 million for the state water plan advancement project.

The appropriations are for fiscal year 2023-24, which starts July 1.

Gambling funds earmarked for water projects

Colorado’s 10% tax on sports betting revenue is used to help conserve water, fund grant projects specified in the state’s water plan, and ensure that there’s enough water in the state despite drought conditions in recent decades.

Colorado’s rivers, lakes, and streams face increasing pressure from population growth and climate change. Up to 93% of revenue from the state’s tax on its casinos goes to the implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan.

According to the WaterForColorado.org website, sports betting thus far has provided $23.8 million to support water projects. Colorado legalized sports betting with Proposition DD in November 2019 and it went live the following May. All mobile sportsbook apps in the state must be partnered with casinos located in Colorado.

Last month, Colorado became the seventh state in the post-PASPA era to surpass $10 billion in all-time sports betting handle.

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