Cher Rain-Bolt, Central City. The City of Central Council discussed Free Play Marketing and marijuana permits during a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at the Central City Hall.
The City discussed the probable unintended consequences of Free Play, likely to adversely impact Central City and the local governments of Cripple Creek and Teller county. Council consensus to staff is for a letter stating the City is in support of the Free Play Proposal concept with conditions to the Gaming Commission.
Roughly 2 out of 3 casinos in Colorado use the Free Play Marketing strategy. The free play system tracks consumer data so that customized credits can be matched to the consumer, based on spending.
Free-Play utilizes electronic downloadable promotional credits. Free play credits have no monetary value.
Casinos currently lacking the infrastructure to participate will not have enough time to make the necessary improvements by July 1st, the 3-year pilot rebate programs proposed implementation date.
Smaller casinos without the necessary infrastructure will need to invest a significant amount of money into these systems with the possibility of not qualifying for the rebate, as well as run the risk that the rebate program may end in three years. It is, to the smaller casinos, another unfair competitive advantage.
Alderman Aiken stated that the Free Play program needs to have both cash and non-cashable credits so there is a benefit to the smaller casinos.
The tax hearing at the Division of Gaming in Golden, CO is open to the public and scheduled June 15, 9:30 a.m. For more information on the Free Play tax proposal visit colorado.gov/pacific/enforcement/gaming.
Marijuana License Limits
Many municipalities in the Denver and Boulder metropolitan areas have instituted restrictions on the number or concentration of marijuana establishments within their jurisdictions, and, not being a jurisdiction with such restrictions currently, Central City has started receiving increased interest from individuals and business entities desiring to set up marijuana establishments within the City.
The greater interest has the potential to generate an increase in marijuana establishment license applications, and therefore a greater number of marijuana establishments, within Central City. As discussed at prior meetings, higher numbers of such businesses within the City may have multiple advantages and disadvantages for the City. The proposed temporary suspension established by Ordinance 17-05 is well within legal parameters and should not expose the City to increased legal liability.
Attorney McAskin explained that Ordinance No. 17-05 extends the temporary 180-day suspension on the issuance of medical and/or retail marijuana licenses under applicable provisions of the City of Central Municipal Code that was imposed by Ordinance No. 16-07 until November 30, 2017. The current moratorium imposed by Ordinance No. 16-07 expires on June 30, 2017. However, the Community Development Director requested an extension of the temporary suspension of acceptance and approval of marijuana business license applications in order to allow the City more time to investigate, develop, and, if appropriate, adopt and implement regulations designed to limit the concentration and/or number of marijuana businesses within the City. Adopting Ordinance No. 17-05 will extend the temporary moratorium imposed by Ordinance 16-07 until and including November 30, 2017.
Currently there are 5 reporting licensees operating marijuana related business in Central.
Don Boring, owner of The Annie Oakley’s dispensary, reported financial numbers to support a limit on marijuana licenses. In motion No. 17-05 the council voted to extend the temporary 180 day suspension imposed by ordinance 16-01 on the submission, acceptance, processing and approval for a permit or license.
Mayor pro tem Voorhies invited the community to the Lou Bunch event on June 17.
Barbara Thielemann thanked the volunteers and City staff for the successful city clean-up event.
The City of Central Council will hold its next meeting Tuesday, June 19th, 2017 at 7 p.m. at City Hall 141 Nevada St, Central City.
(Originally published in the June 15, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)