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Colorado casino lobby doesn’t gamble on gaming in Aurora

Author: Adam McCoy - August 21, 2017 - Updated: August 21, 2017

Casino-style gambling in Cripple Creek: Not in the cards of Aurora. (

If you get bit by the gambling bug and want to deposit some of your hard-earned cash in the slots or try your luck at roulette or blackjack, you’d have to leave the Denver-metro area for someplace like Blackhawk or Central City.

That’s by design, as Coloradans have said no to gaming expansion on the Front Range. Yet, when the folks over at the Colorado Gaming Association heard news about a possible entertainment district coming to the outskirts of Aurora, they still reached out for assurances it wouldn’t include gambling, the Aurora Sentinel reports.

The district could include a NASCAR-style racetrack, restaurants and nightlife, but a casino is not on that list. As the Sentinel’s Kara Mason notes:

Colorado’s current casino owners are excruciatingly protective of their turf, saying that any metro expansion of gaming would critically affect the state’s mountain gaming communities.

“Over time there has been proposals to put a casino in the vicinity of Denver International Airport. I believe the thought was that by putting a casino close to the airport there would be the possibility of tourists who would fly in, go to the casino and they’d be captured on that site and never make it to Aurora or Denver,” said Mark Grueskin, the CGA’s legal counsel.

When CGA approached the city about the possibility of a casino in the entertainment district, Grueskin said the city ensured that gambling was not any part of their intent.

CGA is working with the city on an ordinance that would ban limited gaming operations in the city, Mason reports.

A 1999 city charter amendment, barring public funding for motor sport projects, has dogged Aurora’s ambitions for the entertainment district and racetrack for years. The city decided in June to seek voter approval through a ballot initiative to roll back the amendment and recently cleared an early hurdle, winning a court challenge to the ballot question.

History is not on Aurora’s side however, with the city twice unsuccessfully asking voters to strike the amendment.


Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy

Adam McCoy covers Denver-area politics for Colorado Politics.