Colorado voters’ gambling may soon have paid off after all.

Sports betting got off to a hot start, which means enough tax revenue has already been raised to support Colorado’s water plan projects. This is despite Governor Jared Polis’ government predictions that betting would start slowly and that money would not go to water projects until the second full year of sports betting.

Colorado had already raised more than $ 3.4 million in sports betting tax revenue by the end of December, more than enough to cover the roughly $ 2 million in startup costs that had to be paid back before the stakes were used on the water plan projects could become. including increasing the storage capacity.

Sports betting began in Colorado in May after voters passed Proposition DD in November 2019. More than $ 1 billion has been deployed to date.

“It’s a sign that we’ve built a healthy, competitive, and regulated marketplace,” said Alec Garnett, a Denver Democrat who campaigned for laws that put Proposition DD on the ballot.

Proposition DD was presented to voters to inject money into the state’s water plan, which could cost up to $ 40 billion. In December 2019, the Polis Treasury Department warned lawmakers that it might take until fiscal year 2021/22 before enough tax revenue would come in for the water plan.

Sports betting tax revenue is still far lower than forecast by financial analysts at the Colorado General Assembly. The result, however, is that there is already plenty of sports betting tax money in place, generated by a 10% tax on the casinos’ net revenue to turn on the water plan funding tap.

In other words, Colorado players lost a lot of money last year and state water projects will benefit.

It’s not entirely clear how the coronavirus affected sports betting, but officials are happy with the number of bets.

Suzanne Karrer, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Gaming, which reports to the Treasury Department, said payments to the water plan were due by the end of the fiscal year.

“The division is pleased with revenues that are exceeding expectations and how positive the impact will be on the fall water plan,” said Karrer.

Garnett said sports betting tax revenue is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to Water Plan needs, but it’s a good place to start. Proposition DD critics complained that it did too little to make a difference.

Players have placed more than $ 1.1 billion in bets since sports betting began in Colorado last year.

American football had the most bets in December with bets of $ 88.1 million from retail and online operators, followed by basketball at $ 42.8 million. Coloradans continue to show interest in table tennis betting. Last month, bets were placed on the sport for $ 10.9 million.