Southeastern Colorado: Small community gambles economic future on casinos

Apr 6, 2014

Grain storage, houses and out buildings as well as playground Residents attend the Eads Main Street Bash aimed at raising money to save the town's theater, August 10, 2013.
Grain storage, houses and out buildings as well as playground Residents attend the Eads Main Street Bash aimed at raising money to save the town's theater, August 10, 2013.
Credit RJ Sangosti / denverpost.com

The Kiowa County oil and gas boom has tanked, and now the small community of Eads is putting its economic development bets on casino gambling according to a recent article from the Denver Post

"There's no jobs around here," Kiowa County Commissioner William Koehler said. "There's been some exploratory wells drilled but basically all dry holes and a lot of money spent."

A recent survey of the county’s 961 registered voters was conducted.  484 responded.  55% said yes to gambling. 

The ranching and farming community is planning to start small.

"We're looking at a single casino, or maybe two," Koehler said. "No more than that."

To move forward, Kiowa County first needs the measure on the November ballot using a citizen-proposed or legislatively referred constitutional amendment.

The county would then ask statewide voters to authorize the casino gambling.  Three other Colorado counties are working toward the same goal. 

Currently, commercial casinos are authorized in the mountain communities of Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek. Voters approved limited-stakes gaming in the early 1990s as a way to revitalize the historic mining towns. Also, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe operate two casinos on reservation land in southwest Colorado.

More details about gambling in southeastern Colorado can be found here.