There was anticipation that Amendment 77 could impact Colorado casinos in a positive way.
But there was no way to know for sure or the full extent.
Based on the numbers from July alone, the gaming statue initiated on May 1 is a game changer. And not just for the casinos, but the gaming communities and the state.
Before we dive into the numbers, a quick back story on how this happened.
May 1 was the date casinos in Colorado were finally able to add new table games and offer no-limit gaming. The reason was voters approving Amendment 77 in the November election.
The measure gave local control to residents in the three gaming towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. That means they had the authority to approve the maximum bet of any amount and approve the addition of casino games.
Since then, the voters in all three gaming towns approved the extension of the betting limits and the addition of new games.
The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (CLGCC) also approved the rules for the new games.
July numbers set new record for AGP and taxes
As a result, the impact was almost immediate.
To get a picture of that impact, the Colorado Division of Gaming (DOG) pulled some numbers to see if no-limit gaming and new games were indeed sparking a change.
DOG looked at the last full year with record numbers for adjusted gross proceeds (AGP) and taxes. That was fiscal year 2018. When the Division looked at numbers for July 2017 (the record year month) to this July, AGP is up 22.4% this year and taxes are up 71.3%.
So, yes, it does appear that the new changes for gaming in Colorado are making an impact.
As Kevin Dawn, the Ameristar Casino poker manager, said:
“There has definitely been a shift in play. Poker as a whole in Colorado is seeing a surge in business and all of the casinos that offer poker are benefitting from that. We typically have $1-$3, $2-$5 & $5-$10 (cost of the small and big blinds) no-limit every day and have spread games up to $100-$200 no-limit. The spread limit and straight limit have suffered because of this and interest in those games are far less than before.”
With a Labor Weekend a little over a week away, those numbers should only increase.
After a rough 2020 for casinos and the three gambling communities in Colorado, this positive development is a good sign for the rest of the year.
As Dan Hartman, director for the Division of Gaming, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the gaming industry last year. When and how long it would take the industry to recover was the uncertainty we faced last year. However, the surging economic comeback in the post-COVID-19 environment shows that partnerships between regulators and industry can help businesses resurge from the economic setbacks experienced in 2020.”