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Ballot Initiative Could Lift Colorado's $100 Betting Limit

Initiative 257 Would Allow Residents Of Three Mining Towns To Vote On Whether Its Casinos Have Limits

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A couple of former politicians in Colorado are pushing a ballot initiative that could lift the $100 maximum bet rule enforced at the state’s casinos, allowing poker players in the state to play traditional no-limit hold’em cash games.

Currently, all poker games in the Centennial State are technically spread-limit games with a maximum bet of $100. The same limit is enforced at other table games throughout the state’s 33 casinos. Most of those 33 casinos reside in Centennial City, Cripple Creek and Black Hawk, three historic mining towns located 45 minutes outside Denver.

Bruce Brown, a former mayor of Cripple Creek, and former Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman are the two main proponents of Initiative 257. The initiative would give residents of those three towns final say on the betting limit laws and whether or not new games should be implemented at casinos.

“These towns have built much of their local economies around hotels, restaurants, tourism and travelers who visit because of gaming,” Brown told Westworld. “Voters in these communities should be allowed to decide what is best for them and their economy, including whether they want to change betting limits and add new games.”

If the initiative receives 125,000 signatures, then it would be on the ballot in November and residents would get to vote on the limit. If it got support at the polls, those limits could be removed and new games could be added by May 2021.

Over the last few decades, gambling in Colorado has exploded. The state legalized casino gambling in 1990 with a $5 max bet, which was increased to $100 in 2008, and in the last few years, many of poker’s biggest tours make regular stops in Colorado.

Last November, voters narrowly passed a ballot initiative that legalized sports betting. Sportsbooks won’t be operational until May 1, but the state finalized its sports betting regulations last week and awarded the first licenses to seven different casinos.

Since sports betting is not a table game, it will not be subject to a maximum wager rule. South Dakota is the only other state in the country with a limit on what can be bet. In Deadwood, gamblers can’t wager more than $1,000.

The mayors of all three cities with commercial gaming in Colorado support the initiative.

“The city of Black Hawk is always in favor of gaming enhancements,” said David Spellman, mayor of Black Hawk. “As the gaming experience improves, it is more likely the original three host cities will continue to meet the demands of the gaming community.”