DENVER – Colorado voters handed local control to residents of Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek to vote to add new casino games and raise single-wager limits with Amendment 77’s passage.
The Associated Press called the race not long before 10 p.m. Tuesday, with 60% of Coloradans voting in favor of Amendment 77’s passage, compared to 40% who voted against it, with 84% of precincts reporting.
With the measure’s passage, voters in those three municipalities will now be allowed to vote to expand games at casinos there beyond the current slots, blackjack, poker, craps and roulette – the only games currently allowed at casinos in Colorado.
They will also be allowed to increase single-wager limits beyond $100, where they have been capped since 2008. Amendment 77 changes the state’s constitution.
Proponents of the measure had argued that the $100 limits – among the lowest in the country – were keeping the local communities from benefitting from extra revenue by sending gamblers to other states with higher limits.
The bulk of the increased revenue coming in from the new games and higher limits – if they are passed by voters locally – would go toward community colleges and student retention and graduation programs. Seventy-eight percent of the revenue would go towards those programs; 12% would go to Gilpin and Teller counties; and 10% would go toward the towns, according to the measure.
Amendment 77 has received backing from the Colorado Gaming Association, various community colleges and the Colorado Chamber of Commerce.
“We appreciate that Coloradans supported our town’s right to determine our future so we can improve economic opportunities for the people who live and work here,” said Bruce Brown, Cripple Creek’s former mayor and a proponent of Amendment 77. “Things won’t change overnight, but I believe this will help us get back on our feet.”
“Hopefully, a modest boost in revenue will help as these towns rebuild their economies, as well as help students stay in school and graduate,” said former state Senate President Bill Cadman, who also supported the measure.