Aurora, CO

Aurora considers rule change for electronic bar games

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Aurora, Colo.) Aurora will discuss electronic bar games, carnival amusements and liquor stores Monday during its City Council study session.

Councilmember Curtis Gardner sponsored a bill updating requirements for games of chance in the city's bars. The thrust of the legislation is to prohibit illegal gambling machines that use cryptocurrency.

"Rather than addressing the definition of gambling, the ordinance addresses permitted amusement devices to close any loopholes in regulations," Aurora Licensing Manager Trevor Vaughn explained in a memo to the council.

Although the city has no simulated casinos now, some existed in the past and one was suspected of being involved in illegal drug activity. Similar operations in western Colorado were linked with criminal activity, the memo said.

Aurora has as many as 700 games

There are seven amusement device distributors in the city, according to Vaughn. Vendor businesses such as arcades and bars hold licenses for between 600 and 700 amusement devices, he explained in a memo to the council.

The new regulations would repeal the cost of licensing the games with the city, which is $35.75 per machine. The new rules would require a general business license to operate the devices. The city would lose about $23,000 in revenue.

The ordinance specifies that crane games where children fish for toys are permitted. So are amusement centers with multiple devices that award a cumulative non-cash prize.

The ordinance specifies prize values must be in line with the cost of playing the game.

The ordinance provides a court review process if business owners refuse to remove illegal devices.

Carnivals, liquor stores also could see changes

The ordinance, having come from the Red Tape Committee, simplifies regulations related to carnival games. According to Vaughn's memo, Aurora used language from Denver and the state of Virginia to craft the new rules.

Also Monday, the council will discuss a proposal by councilmember Dustin Zvonek to reduce the amount of space required between liquor stores from 2,000 to 1,500 feet. That would bring Aurora in line with state regulations. The item comes from the Red Tape Reduction Committee.

Council members will decide Monday whether to put the issue to the full council for a vote.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

Denver, CO
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