Prop DD Won. Here’s When And How You Can Place Your 1st Colorado Sports Bet

Wayne Parry/AP Photo
In this Sept. 5, 2019 photo, customers watch the first game of the new National Football League season in the sports betting lounge at Bally’s casino in Atlantic City N.J.

It was a nail-biter, but Proposition DD has passed, ushering in the state’s first legal sports bets.

Colorado has joined 19 other states in jumping on the bandwagon after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the near-nationwide ban on sports gambling in 2018.

When can I place my first bet?

Not until May 1, 2020. This isn’t an ideal date for those who want to place a 2020 Super Bowl bet. State regulators wanted plenty of time to fine-tune rules for sports wagers before the first bets were made. The first local event you can bet on is the Rockies vs. Phillies game the night of May 1. Nationally, the Kentucky Derby is run the next day, May 2.

Also, it’s likely you can place a futures bet in May that the Broncos will win the 2021 Super Bowl. (But it’s a risky choice.)

Where can I wager on sports?

Anywhere in the state of Colorado, at least on your phone. The passage of Proposition DD marks a significant geographic expansion of gaming. Casinos, confined to a few historic mining towns in the mountains, can open physical sports books — and they can build mobile apps. That means a gambler will be able to make a bet on a game from the comfort of their living room couch or while sitting at Mile High watching a Broncos game. A user can register, fund and use the app without ever having to step foot in a Black Hawk casino.

What can I bet on?

Pretty much any sporting event except high school sports, proposition bets on college games and e-games that are not sanctioned by a sports governing body. Motorsports are allowed. 

The Colorado Division of Gaming can also authorize new sports. 

The concern with high school and college is the ability to influence young, amateur athletes and change the outcome of games. With college sports, the legislature threaded a bit of a needle, allowing bets on games but not proposition bets. Prop bets are wagers on small changes within a game, like making or missing a field goal, or random things like which team wins the opening coin toss.

What are the limits on how big bets can be?

Despite Colorado’s history of strict gambling limits, the new law gives casinos the authority to set limits or not. They have the freedom to set limits on specific sports or events within that sport.

Can I make bets using a credit card?

Maybe. The law is silent on it, so the Division of Gaming could add rules allowing or restricting it. However, some casino operators believe that since much of the system will be mobile, credit cards are a natural fit to fund app accounts.

Where do the taxes for sports gambling go?

Casinos will essentially pay a 10 percent tax on profits from sports gambling wagers. That is expected to raise about $15 million annually by the second full year of taking wagers. The bulk of the collections will go to the Colorado Water Plan, a long list of projects agreed to by lawmakers to help prepare for future population growth and make the state more resilient to climate change. It’s not a lot of tax revenue, but advocates say it’s a start to handling some of the $3 billion shortfall for the plan. Some of the money will also go to behavioral health services and addiction hotlines for gamblers.