Colorado became the 19th U.S. state to legalize sports betting in some form after residents voted by a narrow margin to approve Proposition DD, the Associated Press said on Wednesday.
The ballot measure, which received bipartisan support from state lawmakers, garnered 51 percent approval among the 1.4 million Colorado residents who cast votes. Colorado casino operators can offer sports betting through physical or mobile sportsbooks starting in May and take bets on professional collegiate, Olympic and motor sports.
State officials expect the Colorado sports betting marketplace to generate roughly $11 million in revenue in the upcoming fiscal year through a 10 percent tax on net proceeds. Most of the money raised is earmarked for the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Proposition DD’s supporters suggested that the ballot measure’s language, which described a vote for approval as a vote in favor of a tax increase “to fund state water projects and commitments and to pay for the regulation of sports betting,” may have contributed to the close vote.
DraftKings and FanDuel, both daily fantasy sports companies that also operate sportsbooks, spent a combined total of more than $1.5 million to lobby for Proposition DD’s passage.
Elsewhere on election night, voters in five New Hampshire cities voted to allow physical sportsbooks to operate. New Hampshire was already set to offer mobile sports betting statewide starting in January.
Sports betting was illegal in all but four U.S. states until May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court voted to repeal a federal act that banned the practice at a national level. The decision allowed states to determine whether to approve regulated sports betting on a case-by-case basis.
The U.S. legal sports betting market set a record for monthly handle, or totally money wagered, in September, with sportsbooks around the country taking nearly $1.4 billion in bets. To date, 13 states have already offer legal sports betting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.