07/31/2014 4:06PM

Colorado residents to vote on allowing slot machines at Arapahoe Park


Colorado residents will vote on whether to allow slot machines at Arapahoe Park in Aurora after a citizen-led initiative on gaming was recently approved for the ballot by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. 

The gaming question will be the Nov. 4 general-election ballot. It is tied to a proposed state tax increase, which after a certain period of time would be paid by a new tax on “authorized horse racetracks' adjusted gross proceeds from limited gaming to increase statewide funding for education,” the ballot reads. The state of Colorado requires a vote of the people to raise taxes.

If approved, gaming would be restricted to parimutuel facilities at “one qualified horse track” in the counties of Arapahoe, home to Arapahoe Park, the lone operating horse track in Colorado, as well as Mesa and Pueblo. According to a document outlining the initiative, more than 2,500 slot machines could be allowed at a track. So could certain card games, roulette, and craps.

The proponents of the initiative turned in 136,800 “qualified” petition signatures, according to Andrew Cole, a spokesman for Gessler’s offices. Cole said a proposed initiative requires 86,105 valid signatures from registered voters in Colorado to qualify for the ballot. Under state law, the secretary of state first takes a random 5 percent sample of the signatures. Cole said because the random sample projected that the petition would have more than 110 percent of the signatures required, it was automatically qualified for the ballot.

Arapahoe is currently operating a mixed meet for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses that ends Aug. 17.