Lawmakers Outraged as Colorado House Resurrects Casino Loans Bill

May 9, 2023 | Government

COLORADO (May 7, 2023) — According to a Colorado Public Radio report the apparent death, and subsequent resurrection, of a bill to allow casinos to loan gambling money to customers, is provoking outrage from some members of the state legislature.

The unusual sequence of events late Saturday night led several lawmakers to criticize the process and, in some cases, their colleagues.

CPR said the bill in question is SB23-259, which would allow casinos to offer lines of credit. The proposal had bipartisan sponsors, but also bipartisan opposition.

Supporters had argued that having credit available would be a convenience for wealthy gamblers, allowing them to avoid flying with large amounts of cash or having to use ATMs.

“It’s really trying to attract folks that want to gamble … Gives them the opportunity ahead of time to apply for credit with the casino,” said Rep. Marc Snyder, a Democratic sponsor, describing it as a tourism bill. “It’s something that the casinos feel will help them to build and maintain (their) customer base.”

But critics said it would just make it easier for casinos to keep people gambling beyond what they can afford.

The disagreement came to a head late on Saturday, one of the last days of the session. The bill had passed the Senate and needed one final vote of approval in the House — but, to the sponsors’ apparent surprise, it fell two votes short on the final count.

The reconsideration of the bill drew angry criticism from some Democrats. Meanwhile, CPR reported several progressive lawmakers used the moment to contrast the casino bill with proposals of their own that hadn’t advanced.

The bill’s next step is for the Senate to consider the House’s amendments. It would eventually require the signature of Governor Jared Polis and would go into effect in August.

The bill would require casinos to determine whether a person is creditworthy and check other factors, such as whether they owe child support or restitution, before approving them for a line of credit. Customers would have to apply in advance, the sponsors said.

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SOURCE: Colorado Public Radio.

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