Email letters, March 6, 2012

Bill would promote horse racing and video-lottery games

Raising, riding and racing horses is as much a part of our western heritage as the cowboy. MC4FF is a coalition of Montrose area business, civic and government leaders working to expand the area’s tourism industry, included a horse track and Old West town in their application to create the GREAT Colorado Adventures Regional Tourism Zone submitted to the Colorado Economic Development Commission.

This exciting project is part of a package of tourism developments that would give a tremendous lift to our stagnant economy with its 20 percent unemployment rate, by generating jobs and incremental sales tax for the area.

House Bill 1280, sponsored by Montrose’s Rep. Don Coram, would create a strong incentive for opening a new horse track in our community and would permit limited expansion of the Colorado Lottery to allow state-licensed operators of horse-racing tracks to install video-lottery games at up to three locations including one location on the West Slope. In addition to providing a big boost to the prospects of opening a track in Montrose to diversify our community’s economy, this legislation is projected to create some 6,000 jobs across Colorado.

Because current legislation prevents horse tracks from offering fans options beyond traditional wagering, our state is losing horse-breeding farms, racing stables and associated jobs to neighboring states like Oklahoma and New Mexico. House Bill 1280 would reverse this trend.

Rep. Coram’s effort at the Capitol is important to the future of horse racing in Colorado and to our ability to establish it in Montrose. By letting horse-track operators attract lottery fans, the legislation will draw new fans to horse racing, adding more race dates and expanding the prizes. HB 1280 will restore a cherished piece of our western heritage while growing our economy and adding jobs, a win-win. Let’s hope this legislation passes soon.


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