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Black Hawk Prepares to Vote on Amendment 50
On January 14th, 2009, the gaming industry of Colorado is preparing for growth this summer even with the ongoing financial crisis and after a year of record profit drop. This optimism comes from the November 4th, 2008 approval of the Amendment 50, which permits the three gaming towns in Colorado-Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek-to hold elections in order to determine if residents will allow the maximum wager raise from $5 to $100, allow craps and roulette and extend casino gambling hours. With just ninety active registered voters and an economy dependent on casino gaming revenue, a majority approval is widely accepted. Marc Murphy, the co-owner of Bronco's Billy's casino in Cripple Creek, which allowed the changes in a majority vote in December, said that the Amendment 50 will have a positive effect in their economy. Murphy said that they plan to hire at least fifty to seventy five people. The casino employs around 300 people. It will offer craps and roulette and raise the betting minimum as soon as the state law allowed it.
The language of the Amendment 50 states that the propose changes can be implement after July 1st, 2009, making July 2nd, 2009 the earliest possible date to implement the new changes, according to Don Burmania, the spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Gaming. Presently, casino facilities must close at 2:00 a.m. and can only offer blackjack, slot machines and Poker. On July 2nd, 2009, the Lodge and Gilpin casinos in Black Hawk will accept $100 wagers from customers, feature craps and roulette and open 24 hours a day, according to John East, the Vice President at Jacobs Entertainment, which manages the casinos. The Lodge will offer two craps tables and a single roulette table. Jacobs plans to hire forty new casino dealers.
The Isle of Capri in Black Hawk also plans to take advantage of the changes as soon as permitted, according to General Manager John Bo Hannon. He said that they will also hire new employees. City Manager Lynnette Hailey said that in Central City, a brand new casino-hotel is in the works.
The facility is being constructed by American Gaming and will offer six hundred slot machines, forty-four hotel rooms and six hundred parking spaces. American Gaming opened a casino facility in Cripple Creek last year. Central City will decide on the changes on January 20th, 2009. Revenue at Colorado's casinos slide down by twelve percent through November 2008 compared with 2007 because of a weakening economy, high gasoline prices during the first part of 2008 and a smoking ban that was enforced last January 2008.