Prop DD Funds Beginning To Emerge
In 2019 American Whitewater endorsed Proposition DD, a statewide ballot initiative in Colorado that asked voters to legalize online sports gambling and direct the revenue to fund the Colorado Water Plan. This ballot initiative saw broad buy-in from a wide variety of water users and ultimately passed with a 3 point margin at the ballot box.
Scheduled to launch in May of 2020, the early adoption rate of sports gambling hit a snag with the COVID-19 pandemic closing nearly every sports league around the world. With sports like ping pong and Belarusian soccer providing the only option for bets from May to July, revenues have now grown precipitously in the late summer and throughout the fall. As the NFL, MLB, NBA, and college sports came back in their respective COVID protocols, their restart allowed for fans to get involved as well. This uptick in the regularity of games saw the state finish out the 2020 calendar with a total of $4.2 million in funds that will go towards this implementation of the Colorado Water Plan! And who knew you’d ever get such an in-depth sports update from the AW website!
While 2020 was a turbulent year for us all, it’s encouraging to see that our efforts to endorse and pass Proposition DD is producing better than expected returns. While the first calendar year of funds will build out the office and programs that will administer sports betting, it’s a great sign for the funds that we can expect in 2021 and beyond. Initial expectations for revenue generated on an annual basis varied from $3m to $27m. Seeing that in ⅓ of the year the state generated $800,000+ each month, proves that once sports teams are back competing on a more regular basis, we can expect to see more sustainable amounts of revenue to be generated.
As Colorado and the entire southwest continue to grapple with extreme drought conditions, the Water Plan will prove to be an essential guide in water management and project implementation for the coming decades. Ensuring that we have sustainable funding for projects that will directly benefit river health, recreation, and infrastructure is essential. We know that the Colorado Water Plan is only part of the solution, but we’re happy to see the funding is rolling in. AW will continue to ensure that environmental and recreation projects like access area development, boatable flow enhancement, public lands protection, and many other projects are being focused on in order to make our members proud.