With Coloradans scheduled to vote this month on a proposed ballot measure to make sports gambling legal, politicians and other interested parties are making plenty of claims about what implementing the new law would mean. Are they bluffing? We dug into a few popular assertions before you place your bet at the polls.
[Read More: What You Need to Know About Proposition DD]
1. Sports gambling will be a cash cow for the state.
The Verdict: Mostly false
The Reality: State Representative Alec Garnett, the measure’s main sponsor, estimates tax revenue from legalized sports gambling will total $10 million to $12 million in its first full year. (The state’s current budget? $32 billion.) Even that might be rosy considering Pennsylvania, a state with double Colorado’s population and a 34 percent tax on sports betting (the Centennial State’s would be 10 percent), has made just $8 million since opening sports gambling facilities in November 2018.
2. You’ll be able to place a wager at your favorite sports bar.
The Verdict: True
The Reality: Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk—the three Colorado towns that allow casino gaming—will be the only places permitted to house sports gambling. However, each of the 33 betting establishments in those cities can take wagers through mobile sites and apps, so technically you won’t have to leave your local watering hole to lose money on the Broncos.
3. The new tax revenue will help fill Colorado’s potholes.
The Verdict: False
The Reality: Unfortunately for our underfunded, sinkhole-y highways and roads, the state is earmarking sports gambling profits to help offset the cost of the Colorado Water Plan, a conservation initiative with an estimated revenue shortfall of nearly $3 billion over the next three decades. That’s after the earnings cover gambling’s administrative expenses, including hiring close to a dozen full-time government employees. The estimated remainder? Only $6.3 million in 2020-’21.