Amendment 33’s video lottery terminals a bad bet for promoting Colorado tourism
I fully agree with Trent and Kelly Butler (SDN, Oct. 13) that we need to boost tourism funding in this state, but Amendment 33 is not the right way to do it.
What all those fancy TV ads are NOT telling you is that Amendment 33 will use Colorado Lottery funds to actually buy and service those machines.
The existing casinos in Central City, Blackhawk and Cripple Creek were financed with private money. Those casino companies made an investment in the state, and put their own money at risk.
In Amendment 33, the state lottery commission installs the machines (although the location does pay a $500 per machine “license fee” to apply for the terminals) and pays a “sales agent commission” to the racetracks for providing the facilities.
In other words, the state owns those machines, the state is responsible for the maintenance expenses for those machines, and the state’s lottery money is at risk for those machines. The racetracks simply provide a location for them and collect their money – they have no risk in the venture whatsoever!
Also, one of the reasons they have decided to go with “video lottery terminals” (VLTs) instead of “slot machines” is to bypass many of the protections put into the Colorado Constitution regarding gambling.
The voters of this state protected local control by only allowing an extension of “gambling” with the consent of local voters. By using VLTs instead of slot machines, the writers of Amendment 33 are bypassing that protection, since VLTs do not fit into the legal definition of “gambling.”
In other words, if we allow this precedent to be set, a similar big company could decide it wanted to put VLTs here in the heart of Summit County, they could put the issue up to a statewide vote, and we would have absolutely no say in the matter if it passed.
Again, we need to figure out a way to pay for tourism promotion in this state, and gambling proceeds might be a good way to do it. However, Amendment 33 is not the right way to go about setting this up.
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