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Local communities should have a say in their local economy

Let gaming communities decide

Colorado has permitted limited stakes gaming in three mountain communities – Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek – for almost 30 years. As a result, these former mining towns built a new economy dependent on hotels, restaurants and tourists who visit for gaming.

To provide more tax money for these local communities and community colleges, Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 that raised single betting limits from $5 to $100 and allowed casinos to add craps and roulette games.

Now, these local communities are asking Colorado voters to let their towns decide whether they want to approve maximum single bets of any amount and add new games such as baccarat.

The measure will help boost travel and tourism jobs and increase revenues for restaurants, hotels and casinos, which are the lifeblood of these towns. This will be a particularly welcome boost during the pandemic. The measure will also increase tax revenue for students at community colleges. This funding bump won’t be a game changer, but will provide additional resources to the community college system at a time when financial resources are scarce.

Betting limits are critical to the gaming industry as they compete with other gaming markets, such as Nevada, and the gaming industry is critical to the economy in these communities. Since voters in these towns are the most impacted by gaming, they should have the right to make decisions about gaming that is right for them.

Learn more about Amendment 77

“These towns have built much of their local economies around hotels, restaurants, tourism and travelers who visit because of gaming. Voters in these communities should be allowed to decide what is best for them and their economy, including whether they want to change betting limits and add new games.”
– Bruce Brown, former mayor of Cripple Creek

Endorsed by:

  • Bell Policy Group
  • Boulder Weekly
  • Brush News-Tribune
  • City of Blackhawk
  • City of Central
  • City of Cripple Creek
  • Colorado Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Community College System
  • Colorado Concern
  • Colorado Gaming Association
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)
  • The Cortez Journal
  • David Olguin
  • The Denver Post
  • The Durango Herald
  • The Durango Telegraph
  • Everlasting Creations
  • Fort Morgan Times
  • The Little Store
  • One Colorado
  • Polly Baca
  • Progress Now
  • The Pueblo Chamber of Commerce
  • Rocky Mountain Canary General Store
  • Silver Dollar Business Improvement District
  • Sterling Journal Advocate
  • The Vail Daily

Why local communities want change now

The current limit has not kept pace with inflation or other states that permit gaming. Of the 23 states with commercial betting, Colorado is one of only two states with bet limits. In fact, Colorado’s limits are by far the most restrictive in the country.

If local voters choose to approve new games and betting limits, mountain casinos could attract higher income Coloradans who would typically travel to other states to gamble, as well as out-of-state, high-stakes bettors visiting Aspen or Vail. This will improve economic opportunities for people living in these mountain towns by bringing in more tourists, creating good paying jobs and increasing tax revenues.

“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. This will be an important step to rebuilding our local economies and will help the State of Colorado by contributing additional gaming taxes to the General Fund and other tax distribution beneficiaries . . .”
– Cripple Creek Mayor Milford Ashworth and Cripple Creek City Council
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More tax revenue isn’t a game changer, but it helps

If local voters change the betting limits, it won’t significantly increase tax revenue. However, it will:

Generate a modest amount of new tax revenue for the state’s community colleges to help more students stay in school and graduate. The money will provide resources to students so they can complete certificate programs and obtain a degree.

Benefit small businesses and the trades, which need skilled workers, by helping community college students graduate.

Create additional local jobs and revenues for restaurants, hotels, convention bureaus and casinos.

Permit voters in each local community where gaming is legal make decisions about the industry that are best for them and their economy.

“Any additional revenue is critical not only to these gaming towns struggling in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns, but the State of Colorado, which has received millions in gaming tax revenue for the general fund, community colleges, historic preservation, and state tourism promotion.”
– John J. Tipton, former Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Revenue and former creator and Director of the Colorado Division of Gaming

Frequently asked questions

What is Amendment 77?

Amendment 77 gives voters in three mountain communities – Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek – the right to approve a maximum single bet of any amount, as well as games in addition to slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, and craps.

Why is Amendment 77 a priority now?

Colorado is one of only two remaining states with bet limits. In fact, Colorado’s limits are by far the most restrictive in the country.

Colorado is one of only two remaining states with bet limits. In fact, Colorado’s limits are by far the most restrictive in the country.By allowing the three gaming towns to approve new betting limits and games, mountain casinos could attract higher income Coloradans who typically travel to Nevada, as well as attract out-of-state, high-stakes bettors visiting Aspen or Vail. This will improve economic opportunities for people living in these mountain towns by bringing in more tourists, creating good paying jobs and increasing tax revenues.

Will Amendment 77 expand gaming into other areas of the state?

No. The Colorado Constitution has permitted limited stakes betting in only these three towns for almost 30 years.

If betting limits are changed, will these towns turn into Las Vegas?

No. Under Colorado’s constitution, casino-style gaming can only take place in these three mountain communities, which restrict the number and size of the casinos.

Where will the additional tax revenue go?

If local voters decide to lift the betting limits, it won’t significantly increase tax revenue. However, it will:

  • Generate a modest amount of new tax revenue for the state’s community colleges to help more students stay in school and graduate. The money will provide resources to help students complete certificate programs and obtain a degree.
  • Benefit small businesses and the trades, which need skilled workers, by helping community college students graduate.
  • Boost travel and tourism jobs and revenues for restaurants, hotels and casinos which are the lifeblood of these mountain communities.

Permit voters in each local community where gaming is legal to make decisions about the industry that are best for them and their economy.

Has something like this been done before?

Yes. Colorado voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 that raised single betting limits from $5 to $100 and allowed casinos to add craps and roulette games.

What other types of gambling are legal in Colorado?

In addition to commercial gambling, Colorado also permits betting on horse racing, simulcast horse and dog races, sports betting, the state lottery and bingos and raffles sponsored by nonprofit organizations.

Who supports Amendment 77?

Local community and business leaders and casinos support the measure. It has also been endorsed by the Colorado Gaming Association.

“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 
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