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Colorado Might Not Need Constitutional Amendment for Sports Wagering Launch

Few things beat the good news Colorado residents received this Thursday as the state Attorney General made it clear that thanks to the current state of the regulation, no constitutional amendment would be needed in order for Colorado to launch sports betting. The framework that oversees the field at the moment is flexible enough in its definitions to make it easy for the lawmakers to authorize wagering on sports events in the foreseeable future.

Cynthia Coffman is the Attorney General of Colorado
who made it known that the state regulations are devised in a way which could allow sports wagering legalization in a hassle-free manner. It could be recalled that the Department of Revenue made a formal request which aimed to see the AG provide more information in relation to the subject. For the time being, betting on sports events is still considered a criminal activity which is why the lawmakers would have to make sure the appropriate amendments to the criminal code are made.

With the help of a specifically designed regulation, the field could be regulated in a way that provides it with the means necessary to bring premium sports wagering to the players. This is going to facilitate the entire process and speed it up, as no cumbersome changes to the State Constitution would be necessary. Nowhere in the Constitution could text prohibiting sports betting be found which is the main reason why solely a change in the legislation would be considered enough for sports betting to be established as legal in Colorado.

Even though this is good news for the community and the supporters of the activity, it also comes as a surprise as the community had the general idea that a vote would be needed in order for the Constitution to be amended. However, this formal opinion stated stirred the pot on a state level as the Colorado Gaming Association claimed that in the past there have been instances in which Attorney General’s position on a given subject has been proven wrong by the courts.

Therefore the position should not be taken as the way things could go. In addition to that, the opinion expressed would only be taken into consideration without being granted the utmost amount of weight.

No constitutional Amendment Needed According to AG

In the statement issued by the Association, it was said that sports wagering could be considered a type of lottery in its core. The presence of the element of chance in a given activity is what defines it as a lottery-type one or not, and if sports betting features such element, no constitutional amendment is needed. The Attorney General considers thoroughbred horse and greyhound racing essentially different from sports betting, with which the Association disagrees.

By opening the conversation in this direction, the state could be well on its way to provide the needed regulation for the sector in the upcoming months and vote whose position should be taken into account. November’s ballot might be just the right time for the lawmakers to make their plans known and ask voters to consider several important questions such as the tax rates on the future field. The next step would be for the lawmakers to introduce a special legislation which would strive to bring the framework to existence.

Another crucial detail is the appointment of a monitoring institution which would be responsible for the management of the field and its regulation in the long run. Wagering on sports events is considered one of the preferred gambling activities across the states and this has always been true, judging by the rates of illegal activity consistent throughout the years. Before the official overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, illegal sports betting was present and it had its very own sector of operation robbing the states from a large amount of revenue on a monthly basis.

Now every state has the freedom to decide whether or not to give sports wagering a try within the borders of its region, such as Colorado’s current situation. In the past, there have been instances in which the state has had to battle illegal operation to the liking of arcades operating without the permission of the authorities.

Thanks to a legal loophole that provided gambling operators to offer arcades outside the three Colorado cities where gambling is legally allowed – Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek, such had been in operation for quite some time. With the help of a measure, called House Bill 1234 in April, three individuals were charged on 430 counts in terms of illegal gambling operations at three Denver gambling venues.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.