DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado could see more types of casino games and higher bet limits. Supporters of a measure that would allow gaming towns to raise the stakes and legalize new games turned in signatures this week. Right now, if casinos in Colorado want to raise the limit on how much people can bet, the whole state has to approve it.
Under the ballot measure, only Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek would have a say.
The economies of the three communities have been hit hard by COVID-19. Residents like Michelle Joyce believe the ballot measure could be a lifeline, “We’re the ones who voted gaming in in the first place. We’re the ones who live and die by it.”
Colorado is one of only two states to limit bets. The cap here is $100. In addition to raising the stakes, the initiative would also allow those who live in the three mountain towns to legalize new games.
Steve Boulter — who says he helped bring gaming to Cripple Creek 30 years ago — says they will, “I believe that the industry has been wonderful for the renovation of town and the creation of jobs and I think it’s a natural step in our growth process.”
But Jeff Hunt, Director of Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, says it’s not right for someone to lose their house in a single bet, “Casinos are going to make a lot more money off the backs of Colorado families suffering from addiction.”
David Farahi, CEO of Monarch Casino and Resort, says he wants to stop gambling addicts too, “We have a responsibility regardless of the bet limit to help identify people who are gambling irresponsibly.”
Farahi says the measure is about keeping tax revenue in Colorado, “By no stretch of the imagination are we thinking that everyone is going to stop going to Las Vegas. But if we can get some portion of those people to stay and play in Colorado, it benefits the whole state.”
While signatures for the gambling measure need to be verified, several other controversial have already made the November ballot. Coloradans will decide whether to require proof of citizenship to vote, ban late term abortions, reintroduce grey wolves, elect the president based on the national popular vote, increase taxes on nicotine and tobacco products and change how property taxes are assessed.
Supporters of two other measures, to lower the income tax rate and require voter approval for fee increases, turned in petitions today. Signatures are due Monday.
One familiar issue that won’t be on the 2020 ballot is oil and gas. Both sides agreed to a truce while new regulations are implemented.