When Coloradoans cast their vote in the 2022 General Election on Nov. 8, they’ll be faced with an amendment to Colorado gambling laws.
Colorado currently allows certain nonprofit groups to operate chance games (such as bingo and raffles) to raise money. Organizations must be at least five years old. Additionally, unpaid volunteers are the only workers allowed to run the games.
Amendment F looks to change that.
What does Amendment F propose?
For starters, Amendment F would allow charities to pay their game operators, instead of enlisting them strictly as volunteers. The amendment would not require that change, but it would be optional, should it pass.
Pay will not exceed minimum wage until the middle of 2024. At that time, the nonprofits and workers can decide on a new rate.
Bingo-raffle license requirements would change as well. The minimum time length for operation before applying for licenses would decrease from five years to three. That could change in a few years if Amendment F passes, though.
The amendment would authorize legislative leaders to converse on a new age requirement in 2024.
“We haven’t been able to keep pace with technology. We haven’t been able to keep pace with players’ tastes changing” Colorado Charitable Bingo Association executive vice president Corky Kyle told CPR News.
Amendment F needs at least 55% of the vote on Nov. 8 to pass.
“We haven’t been able to do anything because of the restrictive nature of the Constitution,” Kyle told CPR News.
What does Amendment F look like on Colorado’s general election ballot?
Here’s the specific language residents will see on Nov. 8 when they cast their ballots:
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the conduct of charitable gaming activities, and, in connection therewith, allowing managers and operators to be paid and repealing the required period of a charitable organization’s continuous existence before obtaining a charitable gaming license?
Amendment F’s financial impacts on Colorado
Should voters say yes to Amendment F, costs would go into effect over the next two budget years. Colorado’s nonpartisan fiscal impact statement says over those years, it would cost the state $174,000.
Amendment F, though, is viewed as a long-term win. In just the current fiscal year, the amendment would bump the state revenue up by $20,000. It’s projected to yield higher totals year after year.
“All of the money stays in Colorado and it goes to do lots of good things,” Kyle told the Colorado Sun. “We’re between a rock and a hard spot and we need this to happen.”
Are there drawbacks to Amendment F?
One of the main concerns regarding Amendment F is how it would impact the current landscape. According to Colorado’s Blue Book, the amendment could increase the difficulty for organizations to operate these bingo-raffle games due to increased competition.
Nonprofit groups may also feel pressure to pay their employees, despite it being optional in Amendment F, not required. By paying employees, organizations may have to eat into their funds, which currently all go back to charitable groups.
A similar amendment failed in the 2020 general election
This isn’t Colorado voters’ first chance at changing these rules.
In 2020, Amendment C failed in the general election. The amendment had the same time-frame adjustments (five years to three) and gave operators the chance to hire paid staff as well.
How to apply for a bingo-raffle license in Colorado
According to the secretary of state’s website, you can submit your application online or through the mail.
If you’re submitting online, you’ll need your certified games manager’s license number and the following documents:
- Proof of five years of continuous existence
- Proof of the organization type
- The organization’s purpose
- Membership qualifications
- Copies of articles, by-laws, constitutions, etc.
- Membership roster
- Names and addresses of additional officers and board members (if necessary)
Head to the website for additional details and information on how to renew your license as well.