State Water Plan on Tap for $11.4M from Gaming Revenue

Sunlight on Water


Colorado’s state water plan will receive $11.4 million from gaming revenues this year, a 43% increase over last year’s distribution.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission on Thursday announced that sports betting yielded tax revenues of $12.4 million in its second year of operation.

Under House Bill 19-1327, which later became Proposition DD on the 2019 ballot, tax revenues from sports gambling first go to a “hold harmless” fund and to address program gambling. The state water plan, while last on the list, gets the lion’s share of the revenues.

Colorado’s water plan has suffered from low investment from state government. Initially, the water plan, issued in 2015 under Gov. John Hickenlooper, was projected to require $20 billion in investments – to be paid for with higher water rates, federal grants and loans, and severance tax collections. The state’s share of that investment was projected at $100 million per year, beginning in 2020 and running through 2050.

State funding has fallen far short of that estimate.

However, in 2022 alone, in addition to the $11.4 million from gaming, the Water Plan got a $17 million boost from oil and gas severance tax revenues, and $10 million in general fund revenues in the 2022-23 state budget.

The $11.4 million from the 2021 calendar year still doesn’t meet original estimates from Proposition DD, which projected between $15 million and $27 million annually from gaming. Distributions in previous years have been hampered by low sports betting activity, the result of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit two months before legalization. Casinos had closed, for example, at the height of the pandemic.

Since legalization began on May 1, 2020, more than $7.88 billion has been wagered within Colorado borders by sports bettors, according to the limited Gaming Control Commission. The Colorado sports betting market has grown from four original online operators who opened on May 1, 2020 to 24 internet operators and 15 retail locations.

By Marianne Goodland

Filed Under: AgricultureEnvironmentMedia ReleaseWater

About the Author: