Centennial Institute, Colorado Conservative Group, Opposes Prop DD Sports Betting Ballot Effort

Posted on: October 10, 2019, 11:43h. 

Last updated on: October 10, 2019, 01:06h.

The Centennial Institute, a Colorado-based conservative think tank and the sponsor of the annual Western Conservative Summit, is opposing Proposition DD, an upcoming ballot initiative that could legitimize sports betting in the state.

The Centennial Institute, led by Jeff Hunt, is opposing a Colorado plan to approve sports betting. (Image: YouTube)

Earlier this year, Gov. Jared Polis, also a Democrat, signed into law a bill putting Prop DD on the Nov. 5 ballot. The sports wagering effort is being pitched as a revenue generator for the state’s water budget, in which there is an estimated $100 million shortfall.

Legalizing sports gambling damages the foundation of athletic competition and invites corruption,” said the Centennial Institute. “Every pitch, every shot, every swing, every score will be bet upon. It should be rejected.”

The institute was founded at Colorado Christian University (CCU) and is described as the school’s think tank, “mobilizing ideas on faith, family, and freedom to strengthen America’s future.”

Support For Prop DD

The sports betting initiative has gained support among some groups in the Centennial State, including farmers and ranchers, and editorial boards at local newspapers.

In rebuking the Centennial Institute’s call for Coloradans to reject Prop DD, the Yes on DD campaign points out that some of the state’s conservative luminaries participated in authoring the plan.

“Proposition DD implements a $29 million tax on casinos’ sports-betting proceeds to fund a systematic bipartisan effort to preserve Colorado’s water future,” according to Yes on DD.

While proponents of the proposition claim it enjoys support among both political parties, opposition to the plan is also bipartisan. In addition to the conservative Centennial Institute, some liberal environmental groups, including Coloradans for Climate Justice, have decried Prop DD, calling it “climate denying” and bad for the state’s rivers.

Critics also claim that as of Sept. 11, just $10,000 of the $403,000 donated to the Yes on DD campaign came from water advocacy groups. But 97.5 percent of that sum was derived from the gaming industry.

Some gaming companies are already betting Prop DD will be passed. Colorado is home to 33 commercial and tribal casinos. Well-known operators in the state include Century Casinos, Eldorado Resorts, and Penn National Gaming. It’s expected that if Prop DD is approved, the state would allow brick-and-mortar sportsbooks to start, with online wagering being permitted at a later date.

Dueling Estimates

The $29 million revenue estimate highlighted by Yes on DD could be questioned, because that’s the high end of a range starting as low as $6 million. Previously, Colorado lawmakers have forecast $10 million to $20 million in added revenue if sports betting is approved there. Either way, Prop DD isn’t a cure-all for the state’s water budget.

Even if Prop DD is approved next month, the earliest the state could have sports betting up and running would be May 2020, meaning the state’s gamblers would miss out on all of the 2019-20 NBA regular season and have to wait to bet on football until August 2020.

Prop DD is being put to voters because it’s considered a new tax, and under the terms of the Colorado constitution, new levies or increases must be approved by voters.