11/05/2014 12:11PM

Colorado voters say no to slots at Arapahoe Park


Voters in Colorado on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have allowed Arapahoe Park to add slot machines and table games, voting down the measure by a margin of 72 percent to 27 percent.

Although Arapahoe officials had said that the measure was critical to the long-term future of racing in the state, track officials said after the vote that Arapahoe, located just outside of Denver, had no plans to close.

“We are still committed to continuing racing at Arapahoe Park,” Becky Brooks, a spokeswoman for the track’s management company, told a local newspaper. The management company, Mile High Racing, also operates 11 offtrack betting facilities in the state.

Arapahoe is the last remaining parimutuel facility in Colorado. Several dog tracks in the state have closed over the past decade. Arapahoe operates a brief summer meet of 39 racing dates.

In 2003, Colorado voters rejected a similar measure by a similar margin. The measure was opposed by casinos that operate in three areas of the state that have been designated “historic mining towns.”

In other election-day news, voters in Massachusetts shot down a ballot measure that would have repealed the state’s 2011 decision to legalize three casinos and a slot-machine parlor. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of casinos, at a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent.

Massachusetts has yet to award licenses for the three casinos, but it is expected to award the licenses by the end of the year. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission passed over a proposal by Suffolk Downs and a partner, Mohegan Sun, to build a casino at the track, a decision that has jeopardized live racing at the facility.

Also, in Kentucky, Republicans picked up three additional seats to add to their majority in the state Senate. Republicans now outnumber Democrats in the Senate by a count of 26 to 12.

The state Senate in Kentucky has consistently rejected proposals to legalize casinos. The election results Tuesday likely will make it difficult for any further efforts to legalize casinos to gain traction in the short term.