Amendment 50 Changes Fails to Bring Significant Changes in Cripple Creek

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Amendment 50 Changes Fails to Bring Significant Changes in Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek Mayor Bruce Brown said that mountain town's continuing downward spiral has surprised a lot of individuals. Brown said on June 2nd, 2010 that after the approval of Amendment 50, a lot of Cripple Creek residents are hoping that things will be a lot busier. But everything has gone down with condition of the economy.

Amendment 50, which was enforced last summer, was supposed to improved the condition of the gambling market in Colorado by permitting gaming facilities to raise betting limits from five dollars to one hundred dollars, operate for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and add craps and roulette, which can only be previously played in Las Vegas and Atlantic City gaming facilities with voter approval.

In turn, casino facilities would pay the state more taxes, which will be allocated to community colleges. Cripple Creek voters approved the Amendment 50 changes with a lot of fanfare. But just a year later, little has changed in the Cripple Creek gaming market. Casino facility owners say that they see some younger gamers-largely attracted by the games of craps and roulette-visiting the town that is usually known for being a good place for retirees to settle down.

But the extra gaming revenue produced by a few new gamers has not been enough to make up for increased expenses that come down with longer operating hours and a increased variety of casino games. Revenue at casino facilities in Cripple Creek are either down or flat. Most financial experts say that the best way to evaluate a casino town's overall health is not the gaming profits but how much individuals are spending on casino games or the "coin-in measurements".

From that point of view, Cripple Creek's last year of gaming growth was in 2004. This year began unfavorably, with "coin-in measurements" down by 7.3% year-to-date through March 2010. Adjusted gross proceeds have also droppped in Cripple Creek as compared to last year, March 2010 dropped by 4.3% compared in March 2009.

During the same period, Black Hawk (with 73.6% of the Colorado gambling market) improved its AGP 6.6% and Central City, 4.2%. Compared with Cripple Creek, Black Hawk has greatly benefited from the Amendment 50 changes. Its gaming market is growing rapidly that a lot of casino facilities are being constructed, like the $300 million dollars, thirty-three story Ameristar Casino-Hotel.

Paul Harris, Cripple Creek's finance director, said that Black Hawk has a big advantage of being near Denver. It also has ignored historic preservation laws compared with Cripple Creek. Bronco Billy's Casino co-proprietor Mike Chaput said that Black Haek is not the only competitor of Cripple Creek since almost all the states in the US are now offering some form of gaming.

But he said that they are hopeful that this coming summer will be a lot better for Cripple Creek gaming facilities and they are still happy that the Amendment 50 has been approved. He added that it may not have helped much but it certainly has not hurt gaming facilities either.


Date: 2010-07-18
As Reported by: John O'Haver