Yes on 50 means more action in Colorado’s casinos, big payout for higher ed

Coloradoans for Community Colleges placed their $7.5 million campaign on black and hit the jackpot. With Amendment 50 passing statewide by a wide 58-41 margin, voters in Cripple Creek, Central City and Blackhawk are now authorized to decide on raising the maximum bet limit in Colorado from $5 to $100, allowing casinos to stay open 24/7 and bringing in previously barred craps and roulette games.

The lion’s share (78 percent) of the increased tax revenue from higher limits will be pumped into the Colorado community college system. Of the balance, 12 percent will go to Gilpin and Teller counties to help deal with impacts of increased gaming and 10 percent will to the towns where gambling takes place.

According to a fiscal impact statement put together by the Colorado Legislative Council staff, if voters in all three cities agree to raise bets to the $100 maximum, the increase in revenue should amount to about $300 million in the first five years.

Local elections have not yet been scheduled. Michael Hirsch, general manager of Gold Rush in Cripple Creek, told Marketwatch that any changes to the Gaming Act will not go into effective until July 1, 2009 or later.

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Bob Spencer

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