Nov 022003
 
Authors: By Jamie Way

Casinos have sided with religious groups and racetracks have

sided with tourist-oriented businesses to provide both opposition

and support for Amendment 33 from a curious divide of

interests.

“There’s a pretty interesting coalition that has come together

against this,” said Katy Atkinson, spokesperson for the No on 33

campaign, which is primarily funded by casinos.

Amendment 33 proposes the allowance of video lottery terminals

in existing gaming establishments. Revenues would be divided

amongst the state of Colorado, which will use $25 million for

tourism, and the Great Outdoors Colorado Program. The focus of the

amendment is to create funds to promote tourism in the state.

Atkinson said there are many problems with the amendment. Among

her primary concerns are that the amendment would not make the VLTs

regulated by the gaming committee, which may imply that the

gambling age could be lower on VLTs than the typical 21.

Atkinson said that with this amendment they would have “violated

just about every rule that Colorado has set on gambling,”

Some believe that Colorado tourism has dropped due to lack of

funding.

“We’ve lost $2.4 billion of what we would be getting if we had

continued to fund marketing Colorado how we had been,” said

Colorado Sen. Jack Taylor from northeast Colorado.

Taylor supports the amendment for a variety of reasons, but his

primary concern is financing tourism promotion. He said that for

those who are opposed to gambling, this amendment can be viewed as

a trade-off.

“(VLTs) can be put in hometown convenience stores without the

vote of the people,” Taylor said. “Amendment 33 closes that door

and does require a vote of the people in the future to put these

devices in bars and businesses in your hometown.”

Atkinson said the amendment is a bad idea for Colorado taxpayers

because they may pay not only directly, but also in third-party

expenditures, such as additional roadways and law enforcement.

Taylor said that the amendment would not be funded by tax

dollars.

“Not one penny from public tax dollars,” Taylor said.

Although the casinos have chosen to oppose the amendment,

racetracks have embraced it.

“We’re in favor of it,” said John Manning, general manager of

Cloverleaf Kennel Club. “We think it will boost the economy of the

state as far as tourism and it will help our business.”

The racetracks are prepared to pay the taxes and license fee

that come along with the VLTs, and owners hope that Amendment 33

passes.

“I hope everyone would keep an open mind when they go to the

polls (Tuesday),” Manning said.

 

 

 

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