‘Yes’ on Amendment 50

Casino gambling could expand significantly in a handful of Colorado’s historic mining towns if Amendment 50 on this year’s ballot is approved by voters — and if voters in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek approve separate measures to authorize the expansion.

That last provision is what makes Amendment 50 acceptable to us. It doesn’t force expanded gambling on the mountain towns. Instead, it leaves it to the citizens of those towns to decide.

When voters approved casino gambling in the three mountain towns in 1990, they authorized the use of slot machines, blackjack and poker, with a maximum limit of $5 per bet.

Amendment 50 would change the 1990 constitutional language to allow roulette wheels and craps as well as the other games. It would authorize the casinos to operate round the clock and — most importantly — would allow wagers of up to $100 per bet.

The additional revenue from the expanded gambling would be split, with 22 percent of the revenue going to the communities where gambling occurs and 78 percent designated for student aid and classroom instruction at community colleges in the state. Both are reasonable uses of that money.

Raising the bet limit from $5 per wager to $100 is a substantial hike. But the $5 bet limit approved 18 years ago is clearly out of date today. No other state that allows casino gambling has such a low wager limit. Furthermore, raising the stakes doesn’t mean everyone who enters the casinos will be plopping down $100 chips at the gaming tables. But it does mean those who want to play for more than $5 — as they can in most other casinos around the country — will have the option.

The communities where casino gambling occurs should have the option on whether to raise betting limits, increase the number of games available and extend casino hours.

Vote “Yes” on Amendment 50.


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