Colorado has long been one state mentioned when talks turn to legal online gambling offered by state sanctioned companies. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada all currently deliver Internet gambling options to their residents and visitors, and it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that California will join the burgeoning but still infantile United States Internet gambling industry in 2014, earlier than later. But there have been substantial rumblings for well over a year that the Colorado legislature is prepared to and excited about discussing legal betting online in that state, with voting and passage possible this year.
New Jersey just released its first ever Internet gaming revenue report, showing a take of $8.4 million over roughly a six week period. And while not gaudy, those types of numbers may get Colorado lawmakers and Internet gambling proponents serious about offering some type of legislation sooner than later. For years Colorado has been seen as a provider of foot traffic to Las Vegas land-based casinos, and after legalizing the public sale of medical marijuana, the Centennial State is obviously open to exploring options which will fill government coffers, regardless how controversial. And while legalized gambling online for real money has its deterrents, it certainly isn’t as taboo a topic as legalizing the sale of marijuana.
Bills have been proposed and voted down in the past in Colorado, but 2014 looks like a good year for Internet gaming passage for several reasons. With three states already currently expressing their satisfaction over their early entry into the US online betting industry, some legislators sitting on the fence may more easily become gambling proponents. And just last year an Internet gaming Bill was proposed in Colorado, so the issue is fresh on lawmakers and voter’s minds. Play-makers in the state’s gaming industry have been watching New Jersey closely, as it has quickly taken on the leader in this new United States industry. And after the favorable and recent Garden State revenue report, Colorado residents staying home this chilly winter may have supported Internet gambling in that state had it been offered.
As soon as California enters the Internet gambling fray, the state with the largest population in the US is no doubt going to become the premier revenue maker. As a nearby neighbor, if Colorado already had a gambling industry up and running online, it would be much easier for them to form an interstate compact with the Golden State. This would help both states improve their player pool size, and Nevada Governor Sandoval has already been discussing openly the need for Nevada to sign player pool agreements with other states offering Internet gambling as well. Colorado would make an easy choice as such a partner.
Colorado online gambling sites are estimated by industry analysts to produce anywhere from $100 million to $115 million a year in revenues their first year of operation. While those numbers are crafted out of thin air and cannot be supported until Colorado passes some type of Internet gambling legislation, instant income in the form of Internet gaming application fees and licenses would produce an immediate and guaranteed annual income for the state. Colorado Gaming Association executive director Lois Rice mentioned that “late in last year’s session” multiple legislators were pursuing it, but there simply was not enough time left in the year to make a reasonable effort, making early 2014 a logical time frame for revisiting the topic of legal Internet gambling again.