Sports Betting Taxes Already Flowing To Water Conservation

Written By Ian St. Clair on 10/08/2020 - Last Updated on January 4, 2021

Since the legalization of sports betting in Colorado, one of the benefits is water conservation.

Colorado voters passed Proposition DD in November 2019, and one of the stipulations was a 10% sports betting tax. The state collects the money throughout the year, which goes toward Colorado’s water conservation plan.

But what does that mean?

As drought conditions intensify wildfires in southern Wyoming and northeastern Colorado forestlands, water conservation is on the minds of about every citizen.

Walk outside for a few minutes and you can smell why it is so important. The fact that CO sports betting offers environmental benefits is another reason people can trust that this new form of entertainment is on the up-and-up.

How much money could go toward Colorado water conservation efforts?

In only four months of sports betting in Colorado, the state has already collected $744,890 in tax revenue. That means about $75,000 has already been collected for water conservation. As more sportsbooks launch, that total should continue to climb, especially with the Denver Broncos and NFL now in action.

In order to give a clearer understanding of how this benefits water conservation, PlayColorado reached out to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for a Q&A with Sara Leonard. Leonard is the marketing and communications director.

Colorado sports betting and water conservation

PlayCO: Why is water conservation so important?

Leonard: Water conservation is especially important in Colorado because we are the headwaters state, and must ensure adequate water supplies for both our state residents as well as states downstream. The Colorado Water Plan provides an outline for our water future that promotes a productive economy, sustainable cities, viable and productive agriculture, a strong and healthy environment, and robust outdoor recreation. To maintain and enhance these values, we must continue to work toward better conservation and efficiency practices.

PlayCO: How will the tax from Colorado sports betting help?

Leonard: We rely on nonprofit organizations, businesses and our water partners on the ground to propose innovative, multi-benefit projects that support the goals of the Water Plan — and sports betting will allow the Colorado Water Conservation Board to award more grants for more projects.

PlayCO: How much could sports betting help water conservation in the future?

Leonard: With the pandemic limiting (essentially all) revenue from sports betting since May when Prop DD went into effect, it has been difficult to really estimate just how much revenue would come in for funding the Water Plan. If successful down the road, sports betting revenue could support our Water Plan Grant Program significantly by providing a more permanent funding source and allowing the Colorado Water Conservation Board to award more grants across the state for water projects.

PlayCO: How hopeful is the state that this will mimic the Lottery?

Leonard: We haven’t specifically discussed that, but it is definitely a way of looking at this. However, it is still too early to predict how much funding the Water Plan will see.

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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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