Colorado Approves Amendment 77; Amendment C Still Waiting To Be Called

Posted By Ian St. Clair on November 4, 2020 - Last Updated on March 25, 2021

The choice before Colorado voters was simple.

No, not who to vote for in the presidential election.

There were two Colorado gaming-related amendments on the 2020 ballot. While they were both completely different, the purpose was the same. Both aimed to give much-needed assistance to aspects of the gaming business in the state.

The Colorado voters stepped up and approved Amendment 77, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, Amendment C has not been decided as of Monday morning. With 94% of the vote in, the measure sits at 52.3%.

Amendment C needs a super majority, or 55%. So while the AP has yet to call the race, it’s not looking good.

Amendment 77 needed a simple majority, or 50%. The initiative currently sits at 60.5%.

The fact voters approved the latter isn’t a surprise, given they passed a similar measure in 2008.

Bruce Brown, former mayor of Cripple Creek and a proponent of Amendment 77, said a press release:

“We appreciate that Coloradans supported our town’s right to determine our future so we can improve economic opportunities for the people who live and work here. Things won’t change overnight, but I believe this will help us get back on our feet.”

What does this mean for Coloradans?

Amendment 77

Let’s tackle Amendment 77 first. It’s also known as Initiative No. 257.

The amendment gives local control to residents of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. That means they now have the authority to approve the maximum bet of any amount.

The voters would also approve the addition of casino games to what is allowed in the Colorado Constitution: blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and slots.

The initiative does not alter gaming laws in Colorado.

Now that it passed, it merely gives residents in the three towns the option to hold a local election and decide whether residents want to extend betting limits and games.

David Farahi, the Monarch Casino and Resort COO and president of the Colorado Gaming Association (CGA) said in a press release:

“This amendment gives local communities the keys to rev up their economic engines.”

As the release notes, additional tax revenue from any changes to bet limits and games will go to CO community colleges, which are also cutting millions of dollars from their budgets due to the pandemic. The money will go towards resources that help retain students and increase graduation rates.

As noted earlier, this same measure was passed 12 years ago when voters approved Amendment 50.

The big takeaway from Amendment 77:

If voters approve the addition of, say, baccarat, it doesn’t just add another possible revenue stream for casinos in Colorado that they desperately need because of COVID-19. It would also add thousands of jobs in the process.

Amendment C

Otherwise known as the Charitable Bingo and Raffles Amendment, would change certain laws in relation to charitable gaming in Colorado if it gets approved.

According to Ballotpedia, here are the changes that Amendment C would have instituted:

“The amendment would require charitable organizations to have existed for three years before obtaining a charitable gaming license instead of the current constitutional requirement of five years. The amendment would allow charitable organizations to hire managers and operators of gaming activities so long as they are not paid more than the minimum wage. Currently, the constitution requires those who operate charitable gaming activities to be a member of the organization working as an unpaid volunteer.”

The bingo and raffle segment of the Colorado constitution was instituted 62 years ago. According to Ballotpedia, Colorado Measure 4 was a citizen initiative that amended the constitution to legalize charitable gaming (lotto, bingo and raffles) by charitable organizations.

Since the measure was approved in 1958, there was one change. That lone alteration allowed for electronic devices to be included.

We will see if Colorado voters bring bingo and raffle games into 2020. But as noted earlier, it’s not looking good.

The two gaming-related amendments before Colorado voters tackled completely different issues.

At least the approval of Amendment 77 could give the gaming towns the help they desperately need.

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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