DENVER (KDVR) — Like with the marijuana industry, sports betting is proving to be a game-changer for Colorado, generating millions of dollars in tax revenue that will bolster the effort to preserve and protect the state’s water supply.

State officials tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers a new record has been broken, with $4 billion in betting wagers generated since the legalization of sports betting on May 1, 2020.

Department of Gaming Director Dan Hartman said Colorado’s water board uses the money to fund projects around the state.

“There is work on dams, other things, that really help keep water in the state of Colorado the water that we’re entitled to here in the state,” he said.

Taxes collected by the state last October alone from sports betting totaled $1,246,804.

Tax incentives draw betting operations to Colorado.

Kristin Mackey of SuperBook Sports told FOX31 the impact of the revenue is extremely important, especially when it comes to water conservation.

“Having so many days without any snow or measurable moisture, this seems like an important time to be talking about this,” Mackey said.

Paul Leggett of MaximBet also emphasized the importance of a safe betting environment.

“One of the big benefits of regulation is that tax revenue goes to fund the preservation of water in Colorado, and again, the benefit we believe is bringing it out of the shadows and into the light where people can participate in this form of entertainment in a safe manner,” Leggett said.

FOX31 spoke to fans who say sports betting is properly monitored and offers a way to enjoy the game in a new way, with one saying, “it just adds another level of excitement to the game.”

Mackey added that Colorado provides a positive environment for sports betting.

“With great home teams and such a loyal fan base, it was a natural,” she said.

Almost half of all bets placed in October were made on NFL and NCAA football games, with the rest placed on basketball, baseball and tennis.

Mobile betting is the most popular, with more than 98% of wagers made online.

Colorado encourages responsible betting. Apps are available that help customers limit the amount they wager. The state points to a 24-hour confidential helpline for anyone who needs help or more information with problem gambling: 1-800-522-4700.