Poker rooms in Colorado have a betting restriction in which nobody can wager more than $100 on a single bet. I would personally have no problem with this if I visited the state because, well, I’m a pansy poker player. I would play low, low stakes and would be thrilled that I’d have to keep my bets low (that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still lose a bunch of money, of course – I’d just have to do it piecemeal). A couple former state politicians want to raise the stakes, though, and lift the wager cap.

According to Westword.com, former Cripple Creek mayor Bruce Brown and former Colorado Senate president Bill Cadman are trying to get Initiative 257 onto the November ballot. The measure aims to allow the residents of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk to vote on whether or not they want to lift the betting limit and permit new games.

Crazily enough, $100 is still much higher than what the cap used to be. When “limited gaming” was originally authorized in those three cities in 1990, the limit was $5. In 2008, voters increased it to $100 via Amendment 50. Here is how the Colorado government defines limited gaming:

$100 maximum wager

Slot machines, blackjack, poker, craps and roulette

Historical districts in the towns of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek Tribal reservation lands in Southwest Colorado

35% of a building’s total space or 50% of a building floor

Craps and roulette were also added in 2008 and 24-hour gaming was permitted starting July 2nd, 2009. Before then, casinos had to be closed from 2:00am to 8:00am.

Of Initiative 257, Brown said:

These towns have built much of their local economies around hotels, restaurants, tourism and travelers who visit because of gaming. 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.

For Brown and Cadman, it’s now a matter of getting the word out and pounding the pavement. They need 125,000 signatures by August to get the initiative on the November ballot. But it’s not just good enough to get 125,000 signatures. The signatures must represent at least 2 percent of the state’s registered voters. So no kids, no tourists.

Then, if the initiative wins in November, residents of Cripple Creek, Central City, and Black Hawk can begin deciding next May if they want to raise or remove betting limits and add more games.

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

Central City Mayor Jeremy Fey has also come out in favor of Initiative 257, touting the ability of the cities to maintain local control over their gaming.

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