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Post  PoWdA on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:36 am

HUGE NEWS!!! I REALLLLLLY HOPE THIS CAN PASS!!!


DENVER - Imagine $50 blackjack bets, $200 rolls of the dice in craps and a 4 a.m. spin of the roulette wheel.


As appealing as that might sound to those who enjoy traveling to Las Vegas, Rep. Al White (R-Hayden) wants you to further imagine providing more than $100 million to save higher education in Colorado.

He will introduce a measure at the State Capitol next week to remove the current $5 betting limit at Colorado's casinos and their hours of operation (Closed 2 a.m. 8 a.m.). Voters put the restrictions in place in 1990 when they approved gambling at Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk by a 57-42 percent margin and would have to approve any change to Colorado's constitution.

"If we can create a new tourist market and create $100 million of additional funding for higher education in the state of Colorado, then we've solved a problem," said White. "And we've done it without putting it on the backs of the citizens of the state."

Higher education in Colorado is being funded at nearly the same levels today as it was in 2001-2002. White says because there's no constitutional protection for the money, like there is for K-12 schools, it's the first area raided during a recession.

"I'm just trying to provide some financial safety net to keep that from happening (during the next recession)," said White. "Higher education needs a solution before the train hits the brick wall and I think that brick wall is looming down the road."

Critics say it is not the voters' desire to expand gaming and that there must be savings to be had elsewhere in the state budget to help higher education. Further, they question the morals behind expanding something like gaming.

"The first question I ask myself is: 'Are we wanting to become the 'What happens here, stays here' state?'" said Jim Pfaff of Colorado Family Action. "The ABCs of gambling are addiction, bankruptcy and crime. If we want more gambling in this state, we're going to get more of the ABCs of gambling. That's really the concern."

It will take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to send the issue to Colorado voters this fall. That happened in 2000 when they approved bringing Powerball to the state, but six other times since that 1990 vote, Coloradans have overwhelmingly rejected increasing gaming. White hopes the times have changed as the budget challenges have changed.

The 2008 General Assembly begins its 120-day session next Wednesday, January 9.

The leaders at Colorado's State Capitol, Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver), House Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker), Senate President Peter Groff (D-Denver) and Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany (R-Colorado Springs) will be your guests this week on YOUR SHOW. To participate in the conversation, e-mail us at comment or question at yourshow@9news.com.



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Post  Stallion on Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:20 pm

I would love to see this happen. The money in Vegas will be lobbying against it though.
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Post  Mondogarage on Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:24 pm

I predict a 0% chance of this even getting to a statewide vote.

There may be changes able to be made such as, perhaps, upping the max bet to $25, but you will never see unlimited gambling in a state with the evangelical base that Colorado now has.
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Post  Stallion on Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:06 pm

Mondogarage wrote:I predict a 0% chance of this even getting to a statewide vote.

There may be changes able to be made such as, perhaps, upping the max bet to $25, but you will never see unlimited gambling in a state with the evangelical base that Colorado now has.

+1

They'll need a 2/3 majority vote to even get it on the ballot. It would be great, but between the focus on the family effect and Vegas rallying against it I can't see it happening.

That's probably a good thing for me, if they ever put up craps tables up the hill I'll be broke and standing on the street corner with a cardboard sign that says:

"Rolled another damn 7
Any help appreciated"
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Post  dexman1349 on Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:33 pm

If this does go through, then it would also help offset alot of the money lost to the smoking ban that just went into effect. I'm curious to see how this turns out.
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Post  PoWdA on Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:35 pm

<-- crossing his fingers. Does anyone know which reps are going to be deciding wether this goes to a vote? maybe we could look em up and send letters or something. This needs to pass. I would look them up right now but I am headed out for a while.
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Post  Mondogarage on Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:51 pm

PoWdA wrote:<-- crossing his fingers. Does anyone know which reps are going to be deciding wether this goes to a vote? maybe we could look em up and send letters or something. This needs to pass. I would look them up right now but I am headed out for a while.

The correct answer would be "pretty much all of them".

If this were not a state constitutional question, I would be much more optimistic. However, because it is, I think a complete removal of limits is a non-starter, and not solely because of some of the particular lobbying interests here in Colorado. And, given that the casino smoking ban is so recent, there's not going to be a large historical database to blame the expected drop in revenue on.
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