Casino Question on Colorado Ballot Passes

Update 11/4/2020: The ballot question that allows for higher bet limits and larger game selection in Colorado casinos has passed. The charitable-gaming question is losing.

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There are two ballot questions on the November 2020 ballot pertaining to gambling. The first covers casinos in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. The other is related to games of chance operated by state charities. 

Colorado requires 55 percent of voters to vote in favor for a measure to pass. This is typical of all constitutional amendment ballot questions in the state. 

Colorado Amendment 77 would eliminate two limits imposed on casinos by existing language in the state constitution. The state’s bet limit stands at $100 today. The constitutional amendment would strike that language and permit bets of any size in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. 

Another part of the proposal would drop the table-game title limits. Currently, craps, roulette and card games that require some skill are allowed. If approved, games such as baccarat and Casino War could be dealt in Colorado casinos. Currently, table games of luck may only be dealt electronically. Video baccarat is available in Black Hawk and Cripple Creek.

If approved at the state level, local referendums would then be required in the state’s three casino cities. Each would be independent of the others, meaning it could get approved in one or two but not all. 

The earliest that the removal of bet and game limits could go into effect is on May 1, 2021. Sports betting and poker tournaments are exempted from the current $100 bet limit. 

Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), the state’s two tribal casinos would also be able to raise bet limits and expand games, regardless of the outcome of local elections, should the referendum be is passed by voters on Tuesday. This is the same federal law that permitted tribal casinos when Colorado voters approved gaming in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek.

Charitable gaming constitutional amendment

Colorado Amendment C covers charitable-gaming operators. If affirmed by voters, it would lower the number of years, from five years to three, that a charity must exist before getting licensed for gaming. Amendment C would also allow charities to pay workers minimum wage. Today, those that work a charity bingo or raffle must volunteer time; no payment of any kind is permitted under current law.

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