50: More Gambling
The measure would allow the general assembly or voters in the cities that permit limited gaming to extend the hours of limited gaming operations; to add roulette, craps, or both to the allowed games; and to increase the maximum bet up to $100.
The extra tax revenue generated by the changes would be required to be distributed 22% to the cities where limited gaming exists for gaming impacts and 78% for student financial aid for higher education. Any increases in gaming taxes would have to be approved by a statewide vote. Only institutions of higher learning operating by July 1, 2008 could receive funds.
Gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math.
We presently have gambling in three mountain towns. The hope was that it would prove an economic boom for those towns. That hasn't happened. Doubling down on a bad bet is good money after bad. (See, even governments can hurt themselves gambling.)
We need to move very carefully on gambling as it can bring many more problems than benefits. Any initiative on this issue should come from the legislature, not for a couple of citizens working to force their individual proposal through.
Amendment 50 could significantly expand gambling in Colorado. It could turn the three historic gaming communities into high-stakes, round-the-clock gambling destinations. Further, Indian casinos that currently operate under the state's gaming limits would likely increase their limits to the maximum allowed by this measure. This expansion could occur even if the voters in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek do not choose to change their gaming limits.
Providing more opportunities to gamble may lead to an increase in the number of compulsive gamblers in the state. The effects of compulsive gambling are costly to families and society. Compulsive gambling can lead to bankruptcy, divorce, child neglect and abuse, domestic violence, suicide, and crime.
The measure gives voters in each gaming community the ability to decide what is best for them. For example, one community may decide to expand casino hours of operation to help manage traffic, while another may choose to attract new visitors by expanding both bet limits and games.
Amendment 50 makes Colorado more competitive with other gaming states. Colorado has the most restricted gaming in the country. The tourism industries in other gaming states benefit from less restricted gaming, and changing Colorado's gaming limits could result in more tourist spending in the state. Colorado's gaming limits have been in place for seventeen years, and the bet limit of $5 in 1991 equals about $3 today.
Come join the discussion on this initiative at any of the following blogs:
Shawn Michael Olsen and Richard Evans
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