Sham or Scam?

2003-09-17

There's a push here in Colorado to pass something called "Amendment 33" on this fall's ballot. This measure would amend the state constitution to grant a monopoly on video gambling to Wembley PLC (a large British gaming firm) in certain locations in Colorado, ostensibly for the purpose of increasing funding for the state government's tourism office. The measure is wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin. First of all, why in the world would we amend the constitution of all things in order to pass such rubbish? Second, by what right does the state government see fit to grant commercial monopolies to any corporation? Third, why can the state government override the wishes of the towns where these video gamblig machines will be placed? Fourth, why is the state government paying for the machines, and why is this corporate monopoly granted 39% of the revenues in perpetuity? Fifth, it is perhaps germane that representatives of Wembley USA have been indicted in Rhode Island for making secret payments to former politicians in exchange for legislative favors. Sixth, what business does the state government have in running a tourism office in the first place (let alone a film commission)!? If those businesses who benefit from increased tourism, such as expensive ski areas and excursion companies, want to encourage tourism in our fine state, let them band together for that purpose and voluntarily fund advertising campaigns that encourage people to visit Colorado. But by no means is such advocacy an appropriate function for the state government to perform, and we would do well to abolish such offices. Personally, I plan to boycott any business (such as Rocky Mountain Adventures) that publicly supports this disgraceful proposal.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal