The Election in Washington Brings New Gaming Laws to Colorado and Nebraska

Nebraska and Colorado have been affected by recent elections that took place in Washington, D.C. These elections affected Washington and also extended to both aforementioned US states, all in regards to gaming.

The approval of gaming expansion in both states came pretty easy as the change has been long overdue. The question that was presented on the ballot was voted “Yes” in both states overwhelmingly. The dominance of the “Yes” votes showed how much residents in both states needed a change to the existing law.

Cities or State, Who Will decide on Stakes?

Three cities in Colorado have poker, all of which have operated with the state law guiding them. These cities – Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek, have operated with the state law of a player’s maximum limit of $100 on a table. Amendment 77, which covered the question to voters was for a decision to be made on whether the stakes should be set by the cities or the state. A “Yes” vote was in favor of the cities deciding on the maximum limit, while a “No” vote was for the state to decide.

It was not a close contest in any regard as the vote in favor of the cities having the autonomy to decide on the stakes players would play stood at 60.5 percent of the total votes. That 60.5 percent was represented by 1,854,153 voters, while those against the cities deciding on the stakes were only 1,208,414 (39.5 percent). The 39.5 percent of voters against Amendment 77 came from only five of the sixty-four counties in Colorado.

The vote in favor of the cities is good news, but one that will not be put into effect immediately. The cities first have to decide on what the new maximum limit will be. Also, casinos have to be fully operational again, as they covid-19 safety regulations have them not operating at full capacity.

After all, is said and done, we likely will see a poker explosion as a result. The same happened in Florida, and the state has since then flourished in the poker scene. Florida first allowed poker gaming in the state in 2007 at dog and horse racing tracks. However, they were made to operate under strict limits that prohibited high stake gaming. An amendment in 2009 saw the end of the limit, and the result was a poker boom in the state. Organizations like the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the World Poker Tour (WPT), and other smaller tournament circuits made their way to the Sunshine State to offer their services.

Since then, the poker industry has generated huge revenues. The Fiscal Year of 2019/2020, which ended in June 2020, saw all twenty-five poker rooms in the state generate over $132 million. It would have been greater, but all poker rooms were shut down from April as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Nebraska Gaming Regulations

Nebraska also passed new gaming regulations that were represented by Initiatives 429, 430, and 431. 429 was the main one as it begged the question of whether casino gambling should be allowed at racetrack facilities in the state. Initiative 430 was to establish the Nebraska Gaming Commission that will regulate the new casinos, while 431 was to address how the tax will be collected.

All three Initiatives were favored in the votes as overwhelming numbers voted in favor of allowing gambling in racetracks, and by extension, the establishing of the Nebraska Gaming Commission and the determination of taxation.

The new casinos will likely be in operation in late 2021. With this, Nebraska does not have to worry about losing money to neighboring states like Iowa and Colorado.

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Jackson
Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.