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