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Colorado Senate is proposing a bill designed to bring in more control over online gambling. The proposed law will make the existing gambling laws clearer.
The step, called HB1234, significantly will ban internet cafes that offer online gambling through slot-like machines, as it is not established clearly whether those slot machines are games of skill or chance.
To Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, the answer is simple. He said it has long been defined in the Colorado Constitution when limited-stakes gambling was made legal decades ago in the state’s three gambling towns, Cripple Creek, Blackhawk and Central City.
“If there is a beef about these so-called games of skill outside of the areas of limited gaming … your problem is with the Constitution of Colorado,” Gardner said. “Apparently the law, as clear as it is to me, is not as clear to some. Apparently, some people can be confused. House Bill 1234 really enables and enacts the Constitution, and that’s all it really does.”
Under the bill, it is gambling if the player wins anything of value. The bill also defines slot machines as any device that requires skill and chance and allows the player to potentially win something of value.
Additionally, it defines “simulated gambling device,” a phrase some establishments have used in lieu of slot machines, as actually being slot machines if the player wins something of value, even if it’s a coupon for a drink.
Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, said the measure just goes too far.
“The provisions outlawing and defining illegal gambling state that if a game has skill then it is not a prohibited gambling activity,” Kagan said. “What the people who are opposed to House Bill 1234 have experienced is an interpretation of the law that declared them to be criminals, seizure of their equipment, in some cases destruction of their equipment (and) the arrest of some of the operators.”
Kagan was referring to the raiding and shutting down of a couple of internet cafes in the Denver area, cases that later were dismissed because of uncertainty over the law.
Grand Junction has similar internet cafes.
Because of changes in the bill, the measure must return to the House for a final vote before it can head to the governor’s desk.
Source: European Gaming Media and Events