Casinos, horse tracks butt heads over Lottery expansion
Todd Engdahl / EdNews Colorado
Colorado’s community colleges could hit an annual jackpot of up to $29 million if—and this could be a big if—House Bill 12-1280 passes. And up to another $43 million could be generated for college scholarships.
The bill had its first airing this week in the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, a 90-minute session that featured the interesting and complex alliances battling over the bill. But after testimony ended, chair Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, said, “I’m pulling this off the table. We will stand adjourned.” (Sonnenberg had hinted earlier that he’d do that.) …
…While the potential revenue that could be generated by HB 12-1280 has drawn attention from the higher education community, the fight over the bill has virtually nothing to do with education. It’s continuation of a years-long feud between two segments of the gambling industry—horse racing interests and mountain-town casinos.
The bill would allow establishment of three locations in the state where gamblers could play “video lottery terminals.” (Whether those machines are the same as slot machines is a key difference in the debate.) The bill would place one gambling hall east of the Continental Divide, one on the Western Slope and one in Pueblo.
While the bill doesn’t specify locations, it’s expected one would be at the Arapahoe Park racetrack (operated by Mile High Racing and Entertainment), one at the State Fair grounds in Pueblo and one in the Grand Junction area. The bill would require operators of the gambling halls also hold pari-mutuel licenses – i.e., racetrack licenses. …see full story by EdNews Colorado
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