Impact of online sports betting since May 2020

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COLORADO — This year’s Super Bowl will be the second game since online sports betting became legal in Colorado. While online sports betting has brought in millions in state tax revenue, addiction experts wonder if the money is worth people getting addicted to.

In the nearly two years that online sports betting has been legal in Colorado, the Colorado Division of Gaming says it has changed the economic landscape in many ways. Dan Hartman, director of the Colorado Division of Gaming, says gaming has created more tech jobs.

“Four foreign companies came to set up their North American headquarters here in the state of Colorado, each of which eventually brought two to four hundred people into these new companies,” Hartman said.

Dan Hartman talks about the economic advantage of online betting. Credit: Rachel Saurer

Online gambling has steadily grown in popularity since it was also legalized. In the first month, Coloradans staked $26 million. Last month, Hartman said it was over $460 million.

But, with greater access to gambling and betting, the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado said it had a negative impact on gambling addictions.

“Online sports betting has doubled the addiction rate. Our increase in phone calls to the helpline between 2020 and 2021 has increased by forty-five percent,” said Peggy Brown, Board Chair of administration of the coalition.

The Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado said gambling addictions have been on the rise since sports gambling was legalized. Credit: File

But, the Colorado Gaming Division said there is such a big black market for online gambling anyway, that legalizing it brings it to light and they are able to better regulate it. .

“They encourage you to set your own limits. We have advertisements that you may see about setting your own limits. Know where you are. Have a game plan,” Hartman said.

Even though online gambling is legalized, the Colorado Gaming Division said it is still committed to safe and responsible gambling.

In September, $8.5 million was collected from betting taxes. Most of that money went to fund water storage projects in Colorado, with the rest going to the Hold Harmless Fund as well as mental health sources for those struggling with gambling addiction.

“It will always be part of the conversation that we go forward with. Responsible gambling and how to make sure you use it for entertainment and not something else.

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