A state constitution amendment that would allow residents of the three cities in Colorado which host casinos to lift limits on single bets, as well as add new games to the casinos’ offering, is scheduled for voting along with the Presidential elections.
Amendment 77 seeks to take power away from the rest of the state and concentrate it into the hands of residents of Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City, to let them decide whether existing limits on single bets are appropriate or need to be removed. Unless the vote on the amendment is yes with a simple majority, a removal of the cap will require a statewide approval.
Single Bet Limits and Game Restrictions
Colorado has limited individual wagers to $100, raised from $5 in 2009, after Amendment 50 was passed in 2008. Besides, casinos are not allowed to offer games such as slots, blackjack, poker, craps and roulette, and supporters of the new amendment which will also allow the approval of these games believe the state is falling behind other states which do not have these limitations.
The proposed amendment which has the financial backing from some of the major casino operators in the state such as Caesars Entertainment, Penn National Gaming and Monarch Casinos, will also allow for the change in the distribution of gaming tax revenue for community colleges, to let them include programs aimed at student retention and credential completion.
State Money Outflow to Nevada
Supporters of Amendment 77 argue the decision about the cap in bets should be entirely up to the community people who depend most on the revenue from casinos. Among all three, Black Hawk is the city with the largest resorts attracting the players with deepest pockets and currently losing most to casinos in Nevada due to the limitations.
“We have built our entire economies around hotels, restaurants and tourists who visit because of gaming. Our residents want the opportunity to make their own decisions to spur local economic activity because they are the ones most vested in their communities and know best how to protect it.”
Black Hawk Mayor David Spellman and Black Hawk City Council
The local community in Cripple Creek is supporting the measure, as casinos are a major contributor to the city’s budget, and Cripple Creek Mayor and City Council believe local control in setting gaming limits and introduction of new games will be crucial for the city’s recovery from the virus impact.
“The City Council believes that by allowing local control of setting gaming limits and new games by the three towns, it will allow the cities to try and regain some of the tremendous financial losses that are, and will continue, to occur.”
Cripple Creek Mayor Milford Ashworth and Cripple Creek City Council
Central City Mayor Jeremy Fey does not believe casino operators in the small town will be much affected by any change in the limits, and he cannot see them change their rules due to upfront costs.
People who are against the amendment argue that raising or removing the limit on gambling will create more issues than benefits, and the issues will concern not only the three mining cities, but the whole state, which will be exposed to higher levels of problem gambling.