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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 5, May 2010, Posted On: 4/29/2010

Colorado Considers Lottery-Run Gaming Machines For Bars, Restaurants

by Staff Reporter
Colorado Lottery, Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, video lottery terminal, VLT, video poker, amusement operator, Chris Romer, Abel Tapia

DENVER -- The Colorado Lottery might be allowed to operate video lottery terminals in the state's bars and restaurants, if lawmakers pass Senate Concurrent Resolution 10 and citizens subsequently authorize the machines in a voter referendum this November.

However, sponsors indicated this part of the bill could be sacrificed as a bargaining chip to win support from the gambling industry for another part of the measure authorizing gaming machine terminals at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

State Sens. Chris Romer (D-Denver) and Abel Tapia (D- Pueblo) introduced the resolution on April 21. Romer said VLTs in bars and restaurants would generate $60 million in state taxes annually. The measure requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to pass.

But since its introduction, SCR 10 has been amended to expand gambling legalization to include a racetrack with VLTs at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo. Romer said this operation would add up to $60 million to state coffers annually.

Romer also said the sponsors would drop the bill's provision for lottery-run machines in bars and restaurants, confining them to the fairgrounds, in exchange for political support from the gambling industry. Colorado has casinos.

Tax revenues from VLTs would be used to fund college education and tuition programs. The state's college programs face $300 million in cuts next year unless new funding is created.

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