#Colorado Sports Betting Generates Nearly $8 Million for State Water Plan in FY21 — Casino.org #COWaterPlan

The 2015 Colorado Water Plan, on a shelf, at the CU law library. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From Casino.org (Steve Bittenbender):

Colorado gaming officials on Thursday [September 23, 2021] announced that the first full year of legal sports betting in the state produced nearly $8 million in tax revenue that will help the state implement its water resiliency plan.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission approved the allocation at its meeting Thursday.

“In all, the state received nearly $8.6 million in revenue, that’s discounting $1.6 million state gaming officials returned to the general fund in March to reimburse for start-up costs covered to launch wagering in May 2020.”

The Colorado Water Plan was established in November 2015 to help ensure the state’s long-term water needs would be met amid concerns about climate change and other challenges the state faces…

Despite the water plan funding representing less than 1 percent of the actual bets placed, state officials are still pleased with the results so far.

Teenage boys, young men, and a girl pose on the steps of a building, clothes include turtleneck sweaters, knee pants, a leather helmet, and duster hats. One holds a football. photographed by either Fred Garrison or Ola Aftinson Garrison.; History Colorado

From The Denver Post (Conrad Swanson) via The Lamar Ledger:

Since Colorado launched legalized sports betting in May 2020, the state has collected nearly five times more money for water projects than anticipated, gaming officials said.

The start of the National Football League’s season provided yet another welcome financial bump, with about $44 million in bets during its first weekend (Sept. 9-13), according to Daniel Hartman, director of the state’s Division of Gaming…

Money collected from gambling proceeds goes toward work meant to conserve water, protect natural habitats, improve infrastructure and more, according to Lauren Ris, deputy director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. And more money equals funding new projects under the Colorado Water Plan at a time when Colorado River reservoirs downstream are low.

Hartman said his office earmarked about $8 million from sports betting for the plan, which sets priorities through 2050 for projects in the following five categories: agriculture; conservation and land use; engagement and innovation; environment and recreation; and water storage and supply.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board doles out the money, and Ris said it tries to fund projects that check more than one box, like work with Colorado Springs Utilities that brings water from the Eagle River Basin to Colorado Springs and Aurora — which she said “opened up quite a bit of fish and boating habitat.”

Before voters legalized sports betting, Ris said her department was awarding grants with whatever money officials found in their “couch cushions.”

At the outset, legislative analysts projected gambling could bring in between $9.7 million to $11.2 million in its first year, revenue department spokeswoman Suzanne Karrer said. But shortly after voters agreed to legalize the practice, state officials cut their estimates for 2020-2021 to between $1.5 million and $1.7 million in part because casinos weren’t willing to pay $125,000 every other year to host sports betting, Karrer said.

Even when the pandemic shut down leagues for a few months, gamblers flocked to sports betting — made easy through apps. The $3 billion in bets from May 2020 to July 31, 2021, translates into $9.4 million in state revenue, Hartman said…

Ris said the board can’t give out any of this windfall until next summer, after the 2022 General Assembly grants it permission to spend the money.

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