Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Three Colorado Towns Gamble on Slot Machines

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Three Colorado Towns Gamble on Slot Machines

Article excerpt

SMALL-stakes casino-style gaming opened Oct. 1 in three Colorado front-range communities.

Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek, acting on an amendment to the state constitution that voters approved last November, plugged in slot machines and uncovered $5-limit blackjack tables in an effort to revitalize their economies.

The move is part of an upward trend in gambling nationwide:

*Lotteries have swept the country; 48 states have some form of legal gambling. Tom Kitts of the Colorado Division of Gaming says many states are considering gaming legislation and are watching what happens here.

*Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, and Louisiana have approved riverboat gambling, according to William Thompson, professor of public administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Missouri may soon follow suit.

*Video lottery terminals soon will go statewide in South Dakota and Oregon (where some sports betting is already allowed).

*The Indian Gaming Act allows gaming on reservations if the states in which they are located have any form of legalized gambling. Tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and Nebraska have requested permits.

In all, Americans lose $30 billion on casinos, horses, and lotteries every year, Dr. Thompson says.

Gambling has been sanitized by several factors, such as state lotteries and church bingo, says Thompson.

"In the past, the arguments against gambling were morality, organized crime and corruption, and pathological gambling," says Bill Eadington of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada at Reno. "And of those, the one that has disappeared in most places is the morality argument."

Colorado Gov. Roy Romer (D) is opposed to gambling.

"I'm not trying to tell other people how to live their lives, {but} I do not want slot machines in every retail establishment in Colorado.... I'm particularly concerned when the state begins to promote gambling like lotto because then you get into the business of trying to convince people how they should spend their expendable income," Governor Romer said in an interview. …

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