Colorado Seeks Greyhound Simulcast Wagering Ban, Fixed-Odds Betting No Replacement

February 10, 2023
A bill to end simulcast wagering on greyhound racing in Colorado is moving forward with bipartisan support in the state legislature but questions remain if fixed-odds wagering on horse races can replace the purse revenue generated by these wagers.


A bill to end simulcast wagering on greyhound racing in Colorado is moving forward with bipartisan support in the state legislature but questions remain if fixed-odds wagering on horse races can replace the purse revenue generated by these wagers.

House Bill 1041 would prohibit simulcast wagering on greyhound races that take place from out-of-state tracks and are available at the state’s lone racetrack — Arapahoe Park — as well as at 11 off-track betting locations across the state.

Colorado banned live greyhound racing in 2014 but allowed simulcast betting to continue. In total, 42 states do not allow gambling on greyhound racing, while the only live dog racing takes place in West Virginia.

The measure, co-sponsored by Democratic House Majority Leader Monica Duran, was recently amended after some horse breeders objected to the loss of funds for racing purses.

Duran and the bill’s three other sponsors amended the measure to allow simulcast wagering to remain in effect through October 1, 2024, allowing the state’s horseracing industry to secure another source of revenue.

“We are very pleased the bill sponsors have acknowledged the inadvertent harm their bill could have done to horseracing,” Jim Mulvihill, interim executive director of the Colorado Horse Racing Association (CHRA), told VIXIO GamblingCompliance Tuesday (February 7).

“The House majority and minority leaders initially saw this as a simple 'clean up' to fully eliminate the state's participation in greyhound racing but were unaware that revenue from greyhound simulcast wagering supports purses for horse racing.”

Mulvihill stressed that the amendment delaying implementation beyond the next two live racing meets was important to the industry and signaled that “the legislature meant no harm to horseracing.”

Eliminating simulcast wagering on greyhound races would cost the state $330,330 in fiscal year 2023-2024 and $639,880 in fiscal year 2024-2025, according to a five-page revised fiscal note by the Legislative Council Staff. A 0.75 percent tax rate is levied on gross receipts from wagering.

The report also found that implementing a wagering ban would cost the supplemental horseracing purse fund $128,675 in the current fiscal year, rising to $244,180 in 2024-2025.

Mike Lynch, Republican House Minority Leader and a co-sponsor of HB 1041, said amending the bill gave the industry “two more meets to get revenue and get their feet under themselves before they move on.”

Arapahoe Park, a Bally’s Corp. property, operates its mixed quarter horse and thoroughbred meet annually between July and October.

“This is a common sense clean up more than anything,” Lynch told the House Finance Committee. “If we are going to stand by our values and get rid of that racing … then we can’t allow us to gamble on it in the state.”

Duran agreed, telling the committee the bill simply closes a loophole and ends simulcast betting.

“It does nothing else,” she said. “It does not end horseracing, nor does it expand gambling.”

The amended bill was passed out of the House Finance Committee with a 10-0 vote on Monday (February 6). The bill next heads to the House Appropriations Committee.

As lawmakers look to end simulcast wagering on greyhound races, Colorado’s efforts to emulate New Jersey’s efforts with offering fixed-odds betting on horse races has yet to leave the starting gate.

Suzanne Karrer, a spokeswoman with the Colorado Division of Gaming, confirmed Tuesday (February 7) that fixed-odds wagering is available on Colorado’s approved sports-betting catalog, but “no operators are offering it yet.”

Regulations approved by the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission in March 2022 apply Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 principles to fixed-odds betting, in that they require agreements between sports-betting operators, Arapahoe Park, and horsemen’s groups in the state, out-of-state and internationally.

Local horsemen and Arapahoe Park would also have to grant approval for out-of-state quarter horse and thoroughbred races to be offered with fixed-odds in Colorado.

“The horsemen and the track have been working together to make fixed-odds work for everyone,” said Mulvihill.

“It's been a long process but we want to get it right,” Mulvihill said. “This means making it a win for the horsemen, the track, the bookmakers, and the horseplayers. That's a tough balance to strike but we're getting closer and I do believe we will be live with fixed-odds wagering in 2023.”

Our premium content is available to users of our services.

To view articles, please Log-in to your account, or sign up today for full access:

Opt in to hear about webinars, events, industry and product news

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Get in touch to speak to a member of our team, and we’ll do our best to answer.
No items found.