2 Jurisdictions Aim To Keep Fair Share Of Colorado Gambling Revenue

Written By Adam Hensley on 11/10/2022
Gambling leaders in Cripple Creek hope to maintain gambling revenue equity

One Colorado town wants to retain its fair share when it comes to gambling revenue.

Cripple Creek and Teller County leaders believe new legislation is needed for the area to keep its fair share of Colorado gambling money.

“We want a seat at the table,” Teller County commissioner Erik Stone, according to the Mountain Jackpot News.

Colorado wants to switch to allotting dollars based on gaming expansion, but that worries Stone. Under that model, Cripple Creek would not benefit as much as leaders would hope.

According to Mountain Jackpot, state leaders favor the expansion of the gaming model because the Taxpayer Bill of Rights doesn’t restrict that revenue. Stone said he believes moving the money allocation from limited gaming toward extended gaming violates what residents voted on originally.

“It is a big deal for us,” he said. “It does cost us money.”

Right now, the city gets a set percentage based on casino revenue. An impact dollars fund exists as well.

Previous Colorado gambling legislation

In 2021, legislators introduced a bill late that could have cost Cripple Creek and Teller County some serious dollars: $500,000, to be exact.

Those losses would occur due to changes in gambling allocation. According to the Mountain Jackpot, leaders claimed no one contacted them for input at the time, which didn’t sit well.

Laws passed that ended up refunding said money, but that’s due to change. A sunset clause is on the horizon.

A long-term solution would fix that, but it remains to be seen.

How Colorado sports betting impacts the potential decision

To date, Cripple Creek and Teller County haven’t been able to retain any extra Colorado sports betting revenue. The allocation of sports betting money is one area leaders hope will change.

“It will be interesting in how it is going to play out,” Teller County assessor Colt Simmons said.

Sports betting has boomed nationally since its widespread legalization, and Colorado is no exception. In September, the Colorado Department of Revenue announced a handle of $450,232,597.

That’s a 55.2% jump from the previous month and a 10.27% jump from August 2021. Colorado was just one of eight states in the country to see at least $55 million in sports betting revenue during September, too.

A brief rundown of gambling in Colorado

Casino gambling is legal in three Colorado towns:

  1. Black Hawk casinos
  2. Central City casinos
  3. Cripple Creek casinos

The Colorado Limited Gaming Initiative was passed in 1990 and cemented those three towns as the only legal in-person gambling options in the state. At first, maximum casino bets could not exceed $5. That changed in 2009 when the limit increased.

The Colorado gambling industry changed drastically in 2019 with the approval of Proposition DD, the Legalize Sports Betting and Tax Revenue for Water Projects measure. The 2019 proposition allowed all in-state casinos to apply for online and retail sports betting licenses.

Online sports betting launched in May 2020. Online casinos are still illegal in Colorado, but there’s growing optimism that this will change soon.

A look at Cripple Creek casinos

In total, eight casinos call Cripple Creek home:

  • Brass Ass Casino
  • Bronco Billy’s Casino
  • Colorado Grande Casino & Hotel
  • Double Eagle Hotel & Casino
  • J.P. McGill’s Hotel & Casino
  • Johnny Nolon’s Casino
  • Midnight Rose Hotel
  • Casino and Wildwood Casino
Photo by PlayColorado
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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, who currently works for the USA Today Network. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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