Racetrack gambling amendment fails by large margin

DENVER - The amendment to allow expanded gambling in some of Colorado's horse racetracks has failed.

The amendment lost with 71 percent voting no and 29 percent voting yes, with 92 percent of the precincts reporting.



At 7:45 p.m., Bill Cadman, chairman of the No on 68 campaign, issued the following statement:

"After voter rejection of seven different gaming expansion initiatives over the last two decades, one thing is clear -- Coloradans like the system they have now. They like having casino gambling in the three mountain towns and they do not want gambling on the Front Range or in urban or suburban areas.


"If you want to have a casino in Colorado, then you need to do it in the three towns that Colorado voters have set aside for you.  Be ready to compete, because there are 46 casinos there now and you will be expected to operate under the same rules as everyone else. Trying to write special rules didn't pass muster with voters tonight and it won't in the future. Just as in 2003, Coloradans didn't just say no, they said hell no."

Amendment 68 would have created a fund to collect money for schools from revenue for expanded gambling at horse racetracks in Arapahoe, Mesa and Pueblo counties.

Those tracks would have be allowed to install slot machines, card tables for blackjack and poker, roulette tables and craps tables for gambling.  

The text of the amendment dictated that the money in the K-12 Education Fund be distributed each year to school districts on a per-pupil basis.  Districts would have been required to spend the money on reducing class sizes, acquiring technology for teachers and students, enhancing school safety or security and improving school facilities.

Within the first 30 days of operating horse racetrack limited gaming, the businesses would have been required to make a $25 million payment into the K-12 Education Fund. After that point, 34 percent of all proceeds from gambling would have been deposited into that fund.

The measure was opposed by existing casinos in Cripple Creek and Black Hawk.

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