Slots idea is a Nov. 4 dog |

Slots idea is a Nov. 4 dog

Yes, tourism promotion would benefit from a permanent funding stream, but no, taking a cut from the allowance of slot machines at the five dog tracks in Colorado is not the way to accomplish what is much needed.

Constitutional Amendment 33, which is headed for the Nov. 4 ballot, asks that “video lottery terminals” be allowed in the five dog tracks in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs.

Reports are that some 2,500 machines would be installed at the tracks, basically turning them into casinos. Four of the tracks are owned by Great Britain’s Wembley gambling empire.

Wembley bought its way onto the ballot with the would-be Amendment 33. It commissioned a firm to solicit 120,000 petition signatures.

Denver Post columnist Bob Ewegen this weekend called the paid-for ballot question “Astroturf” because it’s an “artificial grass-roots” movement. That about sums up how this thing got started. Something is wrong about tinkering with the Constitution through “Astroturf” movements.

Amendment 33 did not emerge from an outcry in distressed communities where people are desperate for economic development.

Summit County’s state senator, Joan Fitz-Gerald, wrote in the Summit Daily News Saturday that Amendment 33 is misguided because it would hurt the mountain towns of Blackhawk, Central City in nearby Gilpin County, and Cripple Creek, outside of Colorado Springs.

Gambling is always a specious way for government to raise funds. We say, keep the gambling where it is. A cut of the Gilpin County proceeds goes to historic preservation funding.

A bill in the last legislative session would have taken part of these proceeds, which are larger than expected, and applied the funds to statewide tourism funding.

We still think that is a good idea. Colorado has yet to find a way to promote one of its top industry’s – the most important one in the High Country.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard and Martha Lunsky.

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