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Chairmen of Colorado’s two Tribes ask the state to change sports betting laws

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Staff member
Jan 17, 2008
'Source - GamingAmerica

A 2019 ballot left the Native American operators out of legalized online Sports Betting.
The Chairmen of Colorado’s two Native American Tribes have requested that the state legislature change Sports Betting laws on Wednesday,
as reported by The Journal. The Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribes both claim they were ‘left out’ of the legislative conversation in 2019.

The Tribe’s respective casinos – the Ute Mountain Casino Hotel in Towaoc and the Southern Ute Sky Ute Casino Resort – both have retail
Sports Betting permitted at their facilities. However, they are not able to offer online Sports Betting like other casinos in Colorado.

Ute Mountain Ute Chairman Manuel Heart and Southern Ute Chairman Melvin Baker said neither tribe was consulted when the legislature
referred a measure to a 2019 ballot called Proposition DD. This proposition asked voters to approve online Sports Betting, which they did.

Heart commented: “Time is money. And since this has been passed in 2019, we’ve lost that much money with Sports Betting.”

Heart added that he wants the state to make an exception that would allow them to earmark Sports Betting tax revenue for Tribal water projects.
Currently, Sports Betting revenue collected from these two Tribes is allotted to the state’s water projects.

The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting projects that Sports Betting tax revenues will be as high as $24m in the 2022-23 fiscal year;
of this amount, $22.5m will go toward the Colorado Water Plan. This plan is aimed at ensuring the state has enough water for its
population amid climate change-induced drought.

However, free bets from online operators aren’t subject to these same steep tax rates, which the Tribes feel is unfair to them.

When speaking to the state legislature joint session, Baker said: “We are asking you to resolve it this session through legislation, rectifying the inequity.”