Amendment 33 video gambling: no dice |

Amendment 33 video gambling: no dice

Wembley USA and its British backers are asking Colorado voters for a multi-million handout in the form of 500 video lottery gambling machines for its race tracks along the Front Range.

The gambit is money for tourism promotion.

Colorado voters should reject Amendment 33, hands down.

It’s a phony appeal to tourist businesses that will turn seasonal dog and horse tracks into year-round casinos with no control for local governments.

Yes, Colorado should get back in gear to fund statewide tourism promotion. But adding video gambling machines to racetracks in Loveland, Commerce City, Arapahoe County, Colorado Springs and Pueblo is not the way to do it. (Wembley owns four of the five tracks.)

Read the fine print on Amendment 33, and you’ll find that Wembley will collect 39 percent of the gross revenues, while the state must buy, install, maintain and regulate the machines and pay out winnings, collecting as little as 6 cents on the dollar.

On top of that, Wembley has been indicted for bribery in connection with video gambling at its racetracks in Rhode Island, which are not yielding the returns originally projected.

State Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, is promoting this measure for its pro-tourism aspects, noting that the state Lottery Commission could install these machines in every corner convenience store.

Taylor should be working to close this loophole, not plugging an amendment that will line the pockets of racetrack owners.

Colorado voters have already drawn the line on gambling expansion in the state. After approving limited stakes gambling for three mountain communities in 1990, voters turned down six expansion proposals.

Amendment 33 should meet the same fate. Vote “no.”

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