22 August 2014

Vote Yes On Colorado Amendment 68

Colorado ballot issue 68 would amend the state constitution to allow casino gambling at three existing horse racing tracks, one in Aurora, one in greater Grand Junction, and one in Pueblo. Special taxes on the casinos would be applied to K-12 education and charter schools.

It is supported by Rhode Island's Twin River Casino. The sanctimonious ads opposing it from "Don't Turn Racetracks Into Casinos" are paid for by a coalition of (at least) five of Colorado's existing casino operators. This measure has almost no financial support or opposition from anyone who isn't in the casino business.

As Ballotpedia, linked above explains:
Voters rejected the legalization of horse and dog racing in 1940, but later approved such gambling in 1948. In 2003, an initiative to allow video lottery at specific horse and greyhound racetracks with some proceeds going towards tourism promotion and open spaces for parks and recreation was defeated with fewer than 20 percent of voters supporting it. . . .

Following the 1990 legalization of casinos in Colorado, the state's first casino was opened in 1991. As of 2013, Colorado had 41 operating casinos employing 9,278 people. Gambling revenues in Colorado are subject to a graduated tax with a maximum assessment of 20 percent. This came to a total of approximately $104.26 million from casinos in 2013. Gambling revenue taxes are not currently allocated specifically to kindergarten through high school education. Instead, they are allocated to local communities, historic preservation, community colleges, tourism promotion and the general fund.

Colorado also has a state lottery, which has been operating since 1983. The lottery was made possible by a 1980 ballot measure, Referendum 2, which also required the net proceeds of the lottery to be put in the state's conservation trust fund. In 2013, the lottery contributed $59.2 million to the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), $54.3 million to the Conservation Trust Fund, $13.6 million to Colorado Parks and Wildlife and $8.6 million to the Public School Construction Assistance (BEST Program).
The case for saying no to three new casinos at locations where gambling is already conducted would hold much higher moral ground if it weren't for the fact that Colorado already has a state lottery, horse and greyhound gambling, and 41 casinos. The fact that the opposition is funded by existing casinos fighting to reduce competition in locations that are more convenient than their own, while claiming to have other justifications for their position also isn't impressive.

When it comes to gambling, the people of Colorado aren't virgins; they are whores. Preventing three new casinos from opening in places were two other kinds of gambling are already legal won't make the state any more pure, but may raise a little tax revenue for schools and may help Aurora's struggling economic situation.

From my perspective, as a Denver resident, I'd much rather have Aurora open a new casino that doesn't compete directly Denver venues, than have it pursue Aurora's recent efforts to build a Convention Center to compete with the one in downtown Denver linked into a regional public transit plan, or Aurora's effort to steal the stock show from Denver. An approach to developing the tourism industry in Denver that doesn't undermine huge investments in the same thing that have already been made in the metropolitan area by building a casino is a better choice. Maybe Aurora's next step will be to attempt to legalize and tax the prostitution industry that thrives on its stretch of East Colfax.

The opposition to Ballot Issue 68 (which has outspent the casino's effort to pass it by more than three to one) is pure astroturf with no more concern for actual public opinion than the campaign to prevent a new taxi service and Uber from entering the metropolitan Denver transportation market. Given this reality, allowing three more casinos to enter the gambling marketplace in exchange for more taxes is the right choice.

Vote Yes On Colorado Ballot Issue 68.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You pay for the Racetrack aka casino...

Anonymous said...

I am voting yes on this Amendment 68. Sick of the thieving casinos who won't pay bus fares and think casinos should be available throughout the metro Denver area. I hope Black hawk and the other thieves go out of biz!

Anonymous said...

Yes, we need casinos in Denver. The prissy Roy Romer caused the gaming to be in the lowlife towns in the mountains and gave the thrives and bus companies a license to steal. Try getting enough points to redeem bus fare. You must spend at least 100 dollars to get enough to get a bus ticket. All the black hawk Anne central city casinos are owned by Vegas thieves! I say I hope they go belly up!

Anonymous said...

So we give 35% to schools while simultaneously bailing out a Rhode island casino and taking jobs from the existing Colorado casinos.
Schools are great don't get me wrong but I quote Vickie Armstrong "We know Coloradans care deeply about education" if that is true then I'm sure we can find a better way. Do we really want the corruption that will most definitely come with the new casinos.

Anonymous said...

NO, we don't need casinos in Aurora. This is so poorly written, what about Havana Off Track Betting, will they be allowed to offer slots and table games as well? The casinos in Blackhawk, Central City and Cripple Creek have invested millions in their facilities and followed all state laws. Vote NO, I enjoy gambling but I don't want it in my back yard.

Anonymous said...

New casino is a good thing in a more attractive location. Why 2 hours to the mountains?

Anonymous said...

I miss the dog track here in colorado. We work for our money no one should be able to tell us how we can spend our hard earned money.

coopmagoo said...

Vote NO, already have casinos available within short drive of Denver. Plus all of the promised tax benefits of legalized marijuana, which haven't materialize to date. ENOUGH ALREADY. Keep casinos out of Aurora.

Anonymous said...

"I enjoy gambling, but I don't want it in my backyard"!! Seriously???? Even though this additional money will be going towards education???? Lord knows education needs the money. What I read from that statement is pure and simply hypocrisy!!!!

Rick said...

Two of the three horse tracks don't actually exist.

So casino companies fund the "NO" ads? A casino company funds the "YES" ads. They're all out-of-state, trying to take Colorado money out of the state. They like to show you guys the taxes they pay, but they couldn't pay those huge amounts if they weren't making a lot more than that.

The promised (estimated) taxes they pay don't account for the fact that some people (like some of you here) would shift their gaming from the mountains to Aurora; therefore, it's not "new" tax money, but rather a mix of new money (from people who don't gamble now) and "old" tax money that used to come from the mountain casinos, but those gamblers just go to Aurora instead.

Mike Hoffmann said...

This is NOT the type of language I would want to see in our constitution. Vote NO on 68. All of the tax proceeds from the single casino that would open in Aurora go to K-12 education and none goes to the areas that existing casinos pay into, such as the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission, historic preservation, etc. I think all casinos in the state should follow the same rules and pay their fair share for the oversight of gaming in the state. There is a limited amount of money that people are willing to gamble and an Aurora casino would drain money away from the casinos that actually fund the Gaming Commission, leaving the Commission to do more work on fewer funds. And yes, I do gamble in state on occasion and live in the Denver metro area.

Anonymous said...

People are selfish. Struggling, poor, rich, all kinds of people enjoy Gambling as entertainment. So let their selfish entertainment pay for education, since its not like everyone is running out to donate to schools, but I can tell you they're still Gambling for entertainment. Its not like the kid's will be in harm's way?? And isnt that what we care about? I still say, in its most exaggerated way, corruption or not, education is education.

Sandra Wickham said...

I'm voting "No" on 68. As a retired teacher, I am most concerned about children getting a good education. Must we appeal to the devil to get this to happen? No schools or educational organizations are supporting this amendment, and that means a lot in my book. Until we get rid of Common Core and high-stakes testing in the state of Colorado, I would not approve of any money being funneled into "educating" children
with this untested, ridiculous program in place. Let's clean out our Legislature and get a new Governor, and maybe then we can talk about real education.

Sandra Wickham said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm voting YES. Those fuckers that killed Blackhawk can go to hell.

Anonymous said...

1) I don't care who's for or against it. The arguments that base a conclusion on who supports or does not support this lack thoughtfulness.
2) As the retired teacher noted throwing more money at a broken system won't fix it. I am done funding schools, the operation of the schools need to change before we throw more money at them. However:
3)We should judge the bill based upon the overall impact of the bill, not just the impact to the schools. I find it humorous that a bill about gambling is being debated and marketed as a support your local school district bill.

andrew said...

Please not that the deleted comments were deleted because they were inadvertent duplicates, not because of the the opinions expressed therein.