Oct 292003
 
Authors: Stacey Schneider

For some, there is nothing sweeter than the sound of clinking

change and sirens after putting a nickel in that shiny, colorful

slot machine. The thrill and excitement of the win drives people up

to such Colorado gambling towns as Black Hawk, Central City and

Cripple Creek. With the November election approaching, Colorado has

placed an amendment on the ballot that would move gambling down to

the Front Range. While this may seem convenient for the hardcore

gambler, Amendment 33 is more trouble than it first appears.

Amendment 33 proposes placing Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) into

the five racing tracks in Colorado. These greyhound and horse

tracks are located in Loveland, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Pueblo

and Commerce City. According to the amendment, the money generated

by these machines will go towards The Great Outdoors Colorado

Program and tourism promotion in Colorado. Up to $25 million of the

monies made will be used to promote Colorado tourism.

As it stands now, Colorado allows only limited stakes gambling

in the state, meaning only slot machines and some table games are

allowed with a maximum bet of $5. These games can be found in three

Colorado towns mentioned earlier. It was decided that certain

amounts of profits gained from these cities would be placed in a

historical preservation fund for not only the three mountain

cities, but for Colorado as well.

While some claim that Amendment 33 will help Colorado through

increased tourism, job creation, higher sales and income tax

revenues, this amendment is actually a detriment to the state.

Supporters try to sugarcoat the ballot issue with the promises of

$25 million to promote tourism and containment of the gambling to

only racetracks. However, there are deeper issues that need to be

brought to the surface.

“Video Lottery Terminal” is just a fancy term for slot machine.

Technically, the video lottery machines are not slot machines as

they play a type of approved lottery game. However, they are

machines that you throw money into to gamble away. The reason for

hiding underneath this name is simple. If a machine is deemed a

“slot machine,” it falls under the realm of limited stakes

gambling. In order to implement this gambling in a town, it must

come to a vote within each individual city. The supporters of the

amendment recognize that it would not pass in all the proposed

areas, and so Video Lottery Terminals are the replacements. These

machines are not seen as limited stakes gambling and as such are

not subject to city vote.

Is it fair to bring gambling into a city that has not voted for

it? No. The individuals in each community should have the

opportunity to prevent this activity from coming to the cities.

Gambling begets more people, more traffic and possibly more

problems for a city to handle. These considerations should be up to

each city, and not to the state as a whole.

Another hidden agenda of Amendment 33 is to bring revenue to the

racetracks. It is estimated that $60 million will be earned by

these tracks. However, up to $25 million is designated for tourism,

which is less than half the amount these racetracks are going to

make. Wembley, a British company, owns four of the five tracks in

Colorado. It is no wonder they have a vested interest in this

amendment. Who ends up the real winner, Wembley or the state?

The implementation of Amendment 33 would open the door for more

gambling in Colorado and along the Front Range. The state has not

expanded gambling since 1990, even though there have been several

opportunities to do so. Should this pass, it would open the

floodgates to gambling. This may seem harmless, but what comes

next? Slot machines in every town? Casinos on every corner? When I

visit South Dakota every year, I cringe to see old doughnut shops

turn into casinos. It ruins the charm and beauty of the state, and

I do not want to see Colorado hindered in any way.

When you vote this coming week, think long and hard about the

deceptions of Amendment 33. Is this amendment really helping the

state, or is it a cover to bring money to greedy businesses? If you

are that bent on gambling, Black Hawk is just a short drive away. I

am sure their machines are ready to suck up your every nickel.

Stacey is a senior majoring in marketing. Her column runs every

Thursday.

 

 

 

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