‘We Need The Moisture:’ How Sports Betting Can Help Colorado Water

Written By Ian St. Clair on 03/30/2021 - Last Updated on March 31, 2021

Colorado goes about its partnerships in unique ways.

Marijuana and schools.

Lottery and outdoors.

Sports betting and water.

It’s the last one that Brian Jackson and the industry want to build more awareness around.

Colorado Water Wins

Jackson, along with Terry Fankhauser of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, have created the “Colorado Water Wins” campaign.

Along with sports betting operators BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet, the push aims to make the benefits of sports betting top of mind for Colorado. Namely, what sports betting does to help water conservation in Colorado.

“This is an opportunity to talk about our issue — water,” Jackson, the senior manager of Western water for the Environmental Defense Fund, told PlayColorado. “The importance of water to the state, whether it’s rivers and streams and the environment or agriculture and drinking water for cities. That’s an issue that touches the whole state. Any chance we get to talk about it, we’re going to seize or create.

“So planting that flag and making that helpful reminder to everybody in the state that the voters were right, they wanted this to go to water, we want to maintain that connection and keep water the beneficiary.”

Water conservation

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.

As WestWord points out, the Colorado Water Conservation Board will be able to use the money generated from sports betting starting in the summer of 2022.

“The Colorado Water Wins campaign is important to making the public aware that their dollars put towards sports betting in Colorado will directly support the state’s most critical natural resource through funding the Colorado Water Plan,” Sara Leonard, the marketing and communications director for the Water Conservation Board, said. “Sports betting revenue will provide a more long-term and permanent funding source to support goals in the Colorado Water Plan around funding projects that meet a broad range of water challenges.

“We hope that this funding will significantly help the Water Plan Implementation Grant Program in the next fiscal year.”

Making water top of mind

So where will you see the Colorado Water Wins campaign?

Not that people need to see anymore sportsbooks commercials, but when they see them in the next few months from these four operators, they’ll see the Colorado Water Wins logo.

The branding will also appear on billboards.

“Making this connection that water is incredibly important to the state,” Jackson said. “It’s an underfunded part of our infrastructure. And revenue from sports betting tax is a great downpayment on that investment need. The more we’re talking about water, the better off the state is.”

The sole point of the campaign is to promote how important water is to the state.

As Jackson said, the model for Colorado Water Wins is Great Outdoors Colorado.

That’s the campaign used by the Colorado Lottery to show how buying a Colorado Lottery ticket helps “preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces.”

The thought behind it: When you buy a lottery ticket, even if you lose, the state wins.

The same is true for Colorado Water Wins.

If your bet doesn’t win, you and the state still do.

Highlighting the good of sports betting

That’s one of the main reasons PointsBet is involved. The sportsbook has made a concerted effort to commit and invest in Colorado. Playing a role in bringing even more awareness to water for the state is the latest push.

“So when the Colorado Water Wins team came to us, it really was a no-brainer,” Patrick Eichner, director of communications at PointsBet, said. “We are thrilled to be a part of this effort alongside three other phenomenal operators that have, obviously, been doing great work within the industry, too. It’s a win-win across the board and a good opportunity to highlight some of the good that sports betting brings to a state.”

You have no doubt heard, “Well, we need the moisture.”

Given the recent snowstorms, you probably said that a lot. The running joke in Colorado is that it could become the state motto.

You can now include sports betting in that common phrase.

“Legalized sports betting? Well, we need the moisture.”

That’s another benefit to all of this. The campaign will help push potential bettors to regulated sportsbooks as opposed to offshore. Though Jackson was quick to point out that’s not why the campaign was started.

It’s all about water and making it top of mind.

“I think that visibility is key,” Eichner said. “It’s something that was understood, but perhaps more so by folks who are already invested in the industry. But this is just an opportunity to publicize it more on a mass scale. And you’re talking about a state that is filled with people who love their outdoor activities, love their state and love taking care of it. So all of those things come together and it’s a perfect marriage.”

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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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