Mixed Results for State Gaming Ballot Initiatives

November 5, 2014
Mixed Results for State Gaming Ballot Initiatives

Gaming was on the ballot in eight states.  The issues ranged from expanding existing gambling to loosening laws that apply to charities.  The results were mixed.

South Dakota Voters Approve New Games

South Dakota voters decided to expand the types of table games allowed in Deadwood, its only commercial casino market.  Craps, roulette and keno were approved.  The 56-44 vote only allows the state legislature to take up the issue during its next session in 2015.  It must pass both chambers.  The earliest these games could go live is July 1, 2015.  If approved by the legislature, South Dakota casinos on tribal land would also be permitted to spread the games.

Massachusetts Casinos Survive Repeal Attempt

Massachusetts voters were asked to repeal a 2011 law that legalized casinos in the state.  That attempt failed by a 60-40 margin.

Colorado Racetracks Will Not Become Racinos

Colorado voters decided not to expand casino-style gambling to racetracks in three counties by a 71-29 margin.  Taxes generated by this initiative would have been used to improve public schools.  This vote does not affect existing casinos in Central City, Black Hawk and Cripple Creek.

No Table Games at Newport Grand in Rhode Island

There were three ballot initiatives that needed to pass in Rhode Island to expand gambling at Newport Grand.  The ballot measures would have allowed live table games at the casino.  Two passed at the state level, but local voters in Newport had the final say and voted no by nearly 1,000 votes.

Newport Grand currently offers slots, video poker and virtual table games.  These machines will continue to operate.

California Voters Veto Gaming Compact

Proposition 48 was a veto referendum.  It was brought to the ballot by groups that opposed a gaming compact with the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe.  The gaming pact applied to 305 acres of land that was placed into a trust for the purpose of developing a casino.

The federal government found this arrangement suitable in 2011.  The California Legislature approved it in 2013 and it was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.  California voters vetoed this gaming pact by a 61 to 39.

South Carolina Approves Charitable Raffles

South Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved charitable raffles by 65 points.  The constitutional amendment now goes back to the state’s legislature for final approval.

Kansas Legislature May Permit Charitable Raffles

Kansas voters approved a constitutional amendment that allows the legislature to permit charitable raffles.  It passed by nearly 50 points.  The number of raffles per year is limited.  Electronic raffles are not permitted under this amendment.

Charity Lotteries approved in Tennessee

Tennessee voters approved annual charitable lotteries in Tennessee, as approved by a two-thirds vote in the state legislature.  It passed 70-30.

The above results are based on numbers available through 6am ET on November 5, 2014.  These results have yet to be certified by the states.

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