A measure to help hoist Colorado casinos from a pandemic-sized hole will have its fate decided in the November general election.
With more than 125,000 signatures pushing it to the fall ballot, Initiative No. 257 looks to receive approval from the majority of state voters to go into effect by May 2021.
Should all go according to plan, casinos in the state’s three gaming communities will have the opportunity to expand their offerings while increasing revenue and jobs.
What does Initiative No. 257 mean for Colorado casinos?
Summed up, the initiative merely shifts control to local residents.
Initiative No. 257, if signed off on by voters, will allow residents in the Centennial State’s three gaming regions — which includes the towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek, which are in Gilpin and Teller counties — to approve maximum bets of any amount.
Additionally, the affected public will have the opportunity to let casinos expand their gaming offerings beyond what is already allowed by the state constitution.
As it stands, casinos can only offer the likes of blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and slots.
Similar measures have received approval before in Colorado. In 2008, for example, voters supported Amendment 50, which eventually led to the addition of craps while upping the maximum bet limit to $100.
Initiative’s passage could be vital for Colorado casinos
Casinos in the Centennial State have reopened following lengthy closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, they are operating with limited capacity and without table games.
In fact, as Gilpin County Commissioner Gail Watson told PlayColorado:
“Every month that the casinos are closed, we lose an estimated $1 million in gaming tax revenue. Allowing the casinos to open with the necessary safety precautions puts us on the long road back to financial recovery. It also allows our residents who work in the casinos to return to work.”
Initiative No. 257 picked up added urgency because of the pandemic-forced closures. The gaming towns’ economies took massive hits. With this initiative’s passage, these towns could potentially start recouping losses.
Consider this from Bill Cardman, formerly the Colorado Senate president:
“If these mountain communities want to increase travel and tourism, they should be allowed to do so, as they are the ones most directly impacted. The modest boost in revenue would be a win-win for businesses and employees in these towns, as well the community colleges that will receive more resources to help students obtain a college degree.”