Sports betting won’t be happening in Colorado anytime soon

DENVER - On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a decades-long ban on sports betting in most states, opening the door for states to allow bets on sporting events if they wish.

So will it happen in Colorado? The answer is likely yes, but it won’t happen anytime soon.

According to the state constitution, any change in gambling laws would have to go to the voters.

Additionally, state lawmakers would likely want to pass regulations -- and perhaps taxes -- on the industry. That would also have to go to voters.

The deadline for submitting a sports betting proposal to get on the ballot this year has also passed and state lawmakers wrapped up their annual session last week.

That puts it into early 2019 before the issue is debated here and perhaps fall of 2019 before voters would be asked to approve it or not.

“We are going to have to look at it pretty closely; gambling is like so many things lots of people can do it it’s fun but other people are particularly vulnerable,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper did add “my guess it’s just a matter of time.”

In Central City and Black Hawk, the news is welcomed.

Scott Riak drives up often from Greeley for the slots, but he thinks sports betting would bring more of his buddies on NFL Sundays.

“It would bring a lot more people to place bets on Sundays,” Riak said.

Officials from Black Hawk also said they would welcome the news. But others are asking for caution.

“Gambling is unique. It has the highest suicide rate from people suffering from it,” said Dr. Jay Michael Faragher, an addiction specialist with the University of Denver.

Faragher said gambling has the potential to ruin lives and families.

“This is maybe the single biggest event impacting gambling in the history of the United States,” Faragher said.

As for the Colorado Gaming Association, it said it will spend the next several months analyzing the potential impact on legaIzed sports betting in Colorado.

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