Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Anna Staver: Colorado Voters Have an Ambivalent Relationship to Gaming, Denver Post

In a front page, top-of-the-field story, Denver Post reporter, Anna Staver, captures Colorado voters’ ambivalence toward gaming. After having authorized casino gaming in 1990 and 1992 in three historic mountain towns, they have decisively said “no” to expansions off those footprints. She points out that at least some of the resistance is based on the mixed results in the three communities, especially in terms of historic preservations as key original purpose.

I related some history of gaming elections:

Ciruli has asked voters about several gambling ballot measures over the last two decades. The only successful campaign was in 2008, when Colorado voters gave the existing casino towns permission to raise bet limits, add games and stay open round-the-clock. It passed, he said, because it didn’t expand gambling to other parts of the state — giving it critical support from the gaming industry.

“Once we passed gaming, what is very clear is the voters of Colorado do not want to expand it,” he said. “It is where it is, and we don’t want to see it anyplace else.”

She quoted Governor Roy Romer’s opposition in 1990, and I pointed out that proposals in a host of smaller towns and counties were defeated (Pueblo, Manitou Springs and Trinidad, and numerous small cities and counties, mostly in southeast and southwest Colorado).

“Some were quite sympathetic,” Ciruli said. “But we’ve just never been able to get off those campuses.”

My polling (Adams County likely 2019 voters) suggests the vote is close, with nearly a fifth of voters unaware of the issue. But, an effective “yes” campaign should get a “yes” vote.

Longtime Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli told The Denver Post the limited polling so far suggests a coin toss when it comes to the proposition’s chances in November, but he’s still betting on the “yes” campaign convincing enough voters to put DD over the top. If passed, taxes raised from it would go toward the state’s water plan.

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