Two Colorado tribes request a change in sports betting laws

Colorados’ sports betting handle totalled $552.6m last November.
Colorados’ sports betting handle totalled $552.6m last November.

The Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribes asked the legislature to bring them into online sports betting.

US.- Since sports betting began in Colorado on May 1, 2020, it has become a booming business, but not for all. 

On Wednesday (January 11), the chairmen of Colorado’s two Native American tribes, the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute tribes, asked the legislature why they were “left out” of the legislative conversation in 2019.

According to the chairmen, the tribes’ casinos – the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel in Towaoc and the Southern Ute Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio – allow in-person sports betting, but they are unable to offer online sports betting as other casinos do.

Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart and Southern Ute Chairman Melvin Baker said neither tribe was consulted when the 2019 legislature referred a measure to that year’s vote, Proposition DD, urging voters to approve sports betting.

The debate arises just when the governor’s Office of National Planning and Budget and bipartisan legislative committee staff predicted that sports betting tax revenues will be as high as $24m in the 2022-23 fiscal year, which began July 1. 

Authorities also revealed they collected about $12.4m in sports betting taxes in the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ended June 30. Last Novembersports betting handle totalled $552.6m. That’s an increase of 16.2 per cent from November 2021 and 4.9 per cent from $526.9m in October 2022.

Several state lawmakers told The Sun they were interested in finding a solution but acknowledged that it could be difficult due to the intersection of state, federal and tribal laws.

It’s also possible that statewide ballot action will be needed to address the situation under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which would require voter approval of many tax changes.

State agencies have also explored a rulemaking solution that would not require legislative or electoral approval. However, it is still unknown what legislators would do.

Heart told The Sun that the tribe wanted to address the sports betting issue to shore up their future revenue.

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