photo - In this Monday, May 14, 2018 photo, people make bets in the sports book at the South Point hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, the race is on to see who will referee the multi-billion-dollar business expected to emerge from the decision. (AP Photo/John Locher)
In this Monday, May 14, 2018 photo, people make bets in the sports book at the South Point hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, the race is on to see who will referee the multi-billion-dollar business expected to emerge from the decision. (AP Photo/John Locher) 

Wanna bet legally in Colorado casinos on the Broncos, the Rockies, the Nuggets and the Avalanche?

Wanna walk into a Sports Book at Ameristar in Black Hawk and proclaim: "I'll take the Broncos minus-3 to beat the Raiders.''

Wanna hold a winning ticket on the Nuggets in the NBA Finals?

Wanna have $10 worth of Avs action up on Cripple Creek at Bronco Billy's?

Wanna watch the Rockies' comeback victory and know you've just paid for your day at the ballpark?

Wanna make a wager online with Draft Kings on the Nugs or the Avs while sitting at The Can before games?

Wannabe?

Wannas could happen in less than two years in Colorado.

The United States Supreme Court on Monday struck down a congressional mandate (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) prohibiting sports gambling in states (Nevada was grandfathered in) and, by a 6-3 vote, establishing that states can set their own sports gambling laws.

Several states, including Colorado, responded immediately.

Democrat Alec Garnett and Republican Cole Wist, assistant majority and minority leaders in the Colorado House of Representatives, will introduce a bill in the next general assembly, beginning Jan. 4, 2019, to allow, regulate and legalize sports gambling on professional sports teams at the state's casinos

The pair talked Monday afternoon and decided to "pull a bill title,'' which signifies they will be co-sponsoring a bill on that issue. The potentially landmark legislation, which, if passed, would authorize a ballot referendum Nov. 5, 2019. If a majority of voters endorse the measure, legalized sports gambling would start in early 2020. "Everybody knows how many people love sports in this state,'' Wist said. "Al and I believe there will be tremendous support. You shouldn't have to go to Las Vegas if you want to bet the Broncos will win the Super Bowl. Colorado must get out in front and aggressively pursue bringing legalized betting to our state. Logically, the first step would be to permit legal sports betting in casinos in the three mountain towns'' - Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. A state constitutional amendment sanctioning lawful gaming (slot machines, blackjack and poker) in those municipalities was approved by voters in 1991, and modified in 2008.

Wist and Garnett reached across the aisle in 2016 to sponsor a bill that would have state government license and control fantasy sports betting. The legislation cleared both houses and was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

"This bill would have a lot of similarities to the fantasy sport bill, and Draft Kings is a fit for the online betting, and the casinos have the infrastructure and the background to handle it.'' Wist said the bill would prohibit wagering on college sports, and he would not anticipate betting parlors at sports arenas and stadiums, or in multiple locations comparable to the marijuana dispensaries in the Denver area.

"A broad base of voters responded positive to the sports fantasy law, and the people have proven they are in favor of gambling, but are overwhelmingly opposed to spreading casinos beyond what we have currently,'' said Wist, who added rather wistfully, "We must keep our eyes on the ball.''

Garnett tweeted he wanted "to explore solution to legalized sports gambling.'' On his twitter account he admits to being a Broncos fan.

The Supremes' ruling is an historic game-changer for all professional sports in this country. More than 100 other nations, most notably Great Britain, already have myriad forms of legal sports gambling. It's common when I cover Wimbledon and the British Open to see gambling operations on street corners, and to hear professional tennis players and golfers acknowledge they bet on themselves.

The four major professional sports leagues offered different, or no, reactions to the significant decision.

Former baseball commissioner Bud Selig testified in 2012 that legalized gambling is "evil, creates doubt and destroys your sport.'' The 1919 "Black Sox Scandal'' did have a serious lasting effect on the pastime, but baseball recovered, as it did again after the lifetime ban for all-time hits leader Pete Rose.

The league office's statement now says legalize gambling on baseball will have a "profound'' result and "Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games. We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal."

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban asserted the change will double values of all pro sports franchises.

Wanna bet?

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