Sports Betting Taxes in Colorado

Welcome, Colorado residents! In this guide, we’ll explore the tax structure associated with sports betting in our state. Since the legalization of sports betting through Proposition DD in November 2018, Colorado has implemented a comprehensive tax system for this industry. Our aim is to help you better understand the tax rate, how it’s calculated, and where the revenue goes. In doing so, we hope to provide you with valuable insights into the impact of sports betting taxes on our state.

Legalization and regulation

The passage of Proposition DD not only legalized sports betting in Colorado but also established the Colorado Division of Gaming as the regulatory authority for the industry. This agency is responsible for overseeing sports betting operations, ensuring that they adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the state, and collecting the taxes generated by this activity.

Tax Rate and Calculation

The tax rate for sports betting operators

One of the key aspects of sports betting taxes in Colorado is the tax rate applied to operators. Both retail and online sportsbooks are subject to a 10% tax on their net proceeds, which is revenue minus payouts. This relatively low tax rate has made Colorado an attractive destination for sports betting operators, promoting growth and competition within the industry.

Calculating net proceeds

To determine the amount of tax owed, operators must calculate their net proceeds. This figure is obtained by subtracting the total amount paid out to bettors (in the form of winnings) from the total revenue generated by the sportsbook. The remaining sum is then multiplied by the 10% tax rate to determine the tax liability for that period.

Comparison with other states

Compared to other states with legalized sports betting, Colorado’s 10% tax rate is considered quite favorable. Some states impose higher tax rates, which can be a deterrent for potential operators. By maintaining a lower tax rate, Colorado has been able to attract numerous sports betting providers, ensuring a diverse and competitive market for residents.

Allocation of Tax Revenue

Funding Colorado’s water projects

A significant portion of the tax revenue generated from sports betting in Colorado is dedicated to funding the state’s water projects, as outlined in the Colorado Water Plan. This crucial initiative aims to address water-related challenges, such as supply, conservation, and infrastructure, ensuring that Colorado residents have access to clean and reliable water sources.

Administrative costs and regulation

In addition to supporting water projects, sports betting tax revenue also covers administrative costs associated with regulating the industry. This includes expenses related to the Colorado Division of Gaming’s oversight of sports betting operations, ensuring that providers adhere to state rules and regulations.

Gambling addiction services

Recognizing the potential risks associated with gambling, a portion of the tax revenue is allocated to support gambling addiction services. These programs provide resources and assistance to individuals struggling with problem gambling, helping them regain control of their lives and make healthier choices.

Conservation Trust Fund

Lastly, some of the tax revenue is directed towards the beneficiaries of the state’s Conservation Trust Fund. This fund supports various environmental and conservation projects throughout Colorado, contributing to the preservation of our state’s natural beauty and resources.

Reporting and Payment Process

Monthly reporting requirements

Sports betting operators in Colorado are required to report their revenue to the Colorado Division of Gaming on a monthly basis. This includes providing a detailed account of the total revenue generated, the total amount paid out to bettors in the form of winnings, and the resulting net proceeds. These figures enable the Division of Gaming to accurately calculate the tax owed by each operator.

Payment procedures

Once the tax liability has been determined, operators must submit their tax payments to the Colorado Division of Gaming. Payments are typically due on a monthly basis, ensuring that the state receives a steady flow of tax revenue from sports betting activities. Timely and accurate payment of taxes is crucial for maintaining good standing with the regulatory authority and avoiding potential penalties.

Colorado Division of Gaming oversight

The Colorado Division of Gaming plays a critical role in overseeing the sports betting industry, ensuring that operators adhere to state regulations and fulfill their tax obligations. In addition to collecting taxes, the agency is responsible for licensing sports betting providers, monitoring their operations, and enforcing compliance with the rules set forth by the state.

Impact of Sports Betting Taxes in Colorado

Tax revenue generated

Since the launch of sports betting in May 2020, Colorado has collected millions of dollars in tax revenue. This influx of funds has had a significant impact on the state, helping to support crucial projects and initiatives that benefit Colorado residents, such as water conservation and gambling addiction services.

Funded projects and initiatives

The tax revenue generated from sports betting has been instrumental in funding various state-funded programs, particularly those related to the Colorado Water Plan. By directing a portion of the revenue towards these initiatives, the state has been able to address pressing water-related challenges and improve the quality of life for its residents.

Growth of the sports betting industry

The relatively low tax rate of 10% on net proceeds has encouraged numerous sports betting operators to set up shop in Colorado. This has led to a thriving and competitive market, providing residents with a wide range of options for placing bets on their favorite sports events. The growth of the sports betting industry has, in turn, contributed to increased tax revenue for the state.

Retail vs. Online Sports Betting Taxes

Unified tax rate

In Colorado, both retail (brick-and-mortar) and online sportsbooks are subject to the same 10% tax on net proceeds. This unified tax rate ensures consistency and fairness across the industry, regardless of the platform through which bets are placed.

Pros and cons of the tax structure

The unified tax rate has several advantages, such as simplifying the tax system and providing equal opportunities for retail and online operators. However, some critics argue that different tax rates should be applied to account for the distinct operational costs and challenges associated with each type of sportsbook.

Impact on operators and bettors

Colorado’s tax structure has been generally well-received by both operators and bettors. The low tax rate has encouraged many sports betting providers to enter the market, increasing competition and giving Colorado residents a diverse range of options. Furthermore, the unified tax rate ensures that both retail and online sportsbooks contribute fairly to the state’s tax revenue, supporting crucial projects and initiatives.

Future Outlook and Developments

Potential changes in tax rates

As the sports betting industry in Colorado continues to evolve, there may be discussions or proposals to adjust the current tax rate. While the 10% tax rate has been successful in attracting operators and promoting industry growth, future changes could be considered in response to economic factors or shifting priorities within the state.

Evolving sports betting landscape

Advancements in technology and changes in consumer preferences will continue to shape the sports betting landscape in Colorado. This may lead to new forms of betting, innovative platforms, and additional regulations, all of which could impact the tax structure and revenue generated for the state.

Economic implications

The sports betting industry’s ongoing growth in Colorado has the potential to create new jobs, stimulate local economies, and generate additional tax revenue. As the industry expands and evolves, it will be essential for the state to maintain a balanced approach to taxation, ensuring that the needs of both operators and residents are taken into account.


In conclusion, sports betting taxes in Colorado play a vital role in supporting various state-funded initiatives, including water projects, gambling addiction services, and environmental conservation efforts. The state’s relatively low tax rate of 10% on net proceeds has attracted a diverse range of sports betting operators, fostering a competitive market for residents. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, it will be crucial for Colorado to strike a balance between promoting growth and generating tax revenue to support essential projects and programs that benefit its residents. By understanding the tax structure, Colorado residents can appreciate the positive impact that sports betting taxes have on our state’s economy and infrastructure.