Guest Editorial

Why Sports Betting is on the Ballot Twice in Cripple Creek This November!

by Mark Campbell, Cripple Creek City Administrator


In May of this year, the Colorado State Legislature passed House Bill 19-1327.


This enabled the state to place on the ballot the choice of whether to allow sports betting in the state of Colorado. This followed the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to allow sports betting in Murphy Vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association. (Previously, sports betting was only permitted in Las Vegas and Nevada.)


The legislature decided to do this constitutionally (vote of the people) rather than legislatively (state elected officials acting on behalf of the people of Colorado) in keeping with the practice of all betting in Colorado. All gambling legislation has been approved by the people constitutionally from its inception in 1991 through raising of stakes and 24-hour opening.


Since gaming’s inception in Colorado, three municipalities in Colorado: Cripple Creek, Black Hawk and Central City have been allowed to have limited stakes gaming (currently, no more than $100 per wager). This is planned to be the same for sports betting. There are two other casinos in Colorado that are on Native American lands, that are not governed by state law, but federal law.


The bill allows for limited stakes sports betting in the state of Colorado on sports games and events, if approved by the people at both the statewide level and also within the three municipalities. The first vote at state level will, if approved, make it legal in the state of Colorado to bet on sports, if at least one of the three municipalities approve it. The second vote will allow for sports betting in the three individual municipalities. Only the municipalities will vote on this. Therefore, Cripple Creek will vote twice on the issue.


If Approved,  How Will This Work?

Current gaming licensees, within the three cities will be allowed to apply for sports betting licenses. Some may opt to run their own sports betting “book,” but most will probably go with established brokers and place franchised sports betting machines on their premises. Players will have to sign up in person at first to be able to access the machine, but if the licensee has an internet option, then bets could be made from their home at any time after the initial set up. The maximum bet is still $100.


Where Will The Monies Go?

The state of Colorado will tax all bets at 10%.


This is estimated to bring in $11.1 million. These monies will go to in order: 1. set up costs which will diminish to $0 after a year; 2. $2.4 million Administration (Dept. of Gaming); 3.  6% of the 10% or $90,000, will go to a hold harmless fund for Historical Preservation, Higher Education, the cities involved, Gilpin and Teller County, only if they can prove a negative impact through an application process; 4. $130,000 for problem gambling;  5.All remaining money shall go to the State of Colorado Water Plan. This is expected to be the bulk of the money estimated at $8.5 million annually.


City of Cripple Creek

The local vote portion is Ballot Question No. 3, or 2C, and it reads, “ Shall the City of Cripple Creek, Colorado allow sports betting within the City consistent with the provisions of C.R.S. 44-30-1505(5)(d) of House Bill 19-1327, provided that sports betting is also concurrently authorized at the statewide election submitted pursuant to C.R.S. 44-30-1514? ”


If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact Mark Campbell at City Hall (719) 689 – 3316.