Gambling on new casino revenue

We are pleased to see that historic preservation advocates and representatives of the state’s community colleges managed to reach agreement last week on how revenue from last year’s Amendment 50 should be spent. We hope most of it will flow to the community colleges as voters intended.

Amendment 50, which this newspaper and the majority of voters in the state supported, allowed casinos operating in Colorado’s historic mining towns to make a number of changes if voters in those towns agree. With voter approval, they can increase their hours of operation, introduce roulette and craps games and raise the individual bet limit from $5 to $100.

The measure was expected to raise $39 million in additional revenue the first year, with 78 percent of that going to community colleges throughout the state.

But some of the existing money from casino gambling goes to historic preservation and is administered by the Colorado Historical Society. There was a dispute between the historic preservationists and the community colleges over what the base funding level would be in future years, and therefore how the additional revenue would be distributed after the first year.

That dispute was settled late last week and the House Education Committee approved the bill to administer the money.

The settlement was not perfect, but it does ensure that both community colleges and historic preservation projects in Colorado will continue to receive a larger stream of revenue, thanks to the ballot amendment that voters approved last fall.


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