Colorado’s sports betting tax revenue is expected to double. That would mean a lot more money for water projects.

Colorado budget analysts project that sports betting tax revenues will be as high as $24 million in the current 2022-23 fiscal year, which began July 1. That’s double what was collected in the prior year.

Jesse Paul
Colorado Sun

Colorado budget analysts expect tax revenue from sports betting to double in the coming year in what would amount to a touchdown, a field goal and a safety for the Colorado water projects. 

The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting and the nonpartisan Legislative Council Staff project that sports betting tax revenues will be as high as $24 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year, which began July 1. Of that money, $22.5 million would go toward the Colorado Water Project, the plan aimed at ensuring Colorado has enough water for its growing population amid climate change-induced drought. 

The state collected only about $12.4 million in sports betting taxes in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended June 30, about $11.4 million of which will go toward the water plan. Hence, the touchdown ($6 million), field goal ($3 million) and safety ($2 million) analogy. 

Bryce Cook, chief economist for OSBP, said the reason for the big forecast increase is that the legislature passed a bill this year limiting the number of free bets that sports betting operators can offer starting Jan.1. (Colorado imposes a 10% tax on casinos’ net sports betting proceeds. A free bet doesn’t generate any proceeds.)

“We’ve also just seen record wagers this year in sports betting,” Cook said.


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