During the 2008 General Assembly that began its 120-day session on January 9, 2008, Colorado State Representative Al White (R-Blackhawk) plans to introduce a measure that would increase gaming throughout the state.
The measure contains provisions that would allow no limit betting and remove the current $5 betting limit in Colorado casinos, and allow casinos to operate 24 hours a day rather than the current sessions of 8am to 2am. The elimination of the betting limit is important for poker rooms to allow for more high-stakes games, but it will also allow for the introduction of games like craps and roulette to the casinos which would generate additional revenue and create more jobs.
White is touting his proposal as a way to increase tourism and generate revenue to fund state colleges and universities. Currently, gambling brings approximately $100 million to the state of Colorado each year, and the passing of his measure would possibly double that revenue.
“The benefits are that we would see Colorado become a destination gaming area, similar to Lake Tahoe,” said White. “I could foresee people coming to Colorado to gamble a couple of days and enjoy the slopes of Vail or Grand Lake or camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. Let’s get some people from out of state, let’s get people from California, New York, to come into the state of Colorado, earmark the increase in gaming revenues for higher education and let those people put our kids through college. The kind of gamers that we would be looking at, are the kind that go to Las Vegas or the larger limit (areas).”
The challenge for White is to obtain a two-thirds vote in the state legislature, which would put the issue to the voters in November. The bigger challenge is to convince the voters to pass the measure, as six times since 1990, similar measures to increase gaming have been overwhelmingly defeated by the voters.