Colorado Gov. Polis vetoes bill that would allow casinos to issue credit

Scissors cutting a credit card
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The Colorado legislature was on board with SB 23-259, a measure that would allow casinos to issue up to $1,000 in credit to customers, but Gov. Jared Polis was not on the same page.

Polis vetoed the measure last week, citing concerns related to problem gambling.

“I appreciate the bill sponsors’ efforts to increase the appeal of Colorado’s gaming sector. Casinos play an important role in local economies in several parts of our state. I support efforts to increase tourism revenue in all sectors of our state, including gaming. I also support the freedom of consenting individuals and companies to engage in transactions such as loans. The key element I take issue with here is whether persons with a gambling disorder can meaningfully consent to a transaction,” Polis wrote in his veto letter.

“If the purported target of this bill is out-of-state ‘high-rollers,’ then the credit line should be geared specifically to those patrons. However, as currently written and passed, I worry that the bill would contribute to problematic gaming activities and hurt Coloradans, in particular those of limited means, by facilitating dubious instances of consent from persons who are suffering from addiction.”

The sponsors of the bill argued that the intent of the bill was to make it easier for out-of-state tourists to bring in larger amounts of money to gamble with. Colorado casinos are limited to three small cities in the state: Black Hawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City.

The bill barely made it through the House in the first place, failing after an initial vote only to be called up again after a few lawmakers changed their minds.

There is still potential for the legislature to override the bill, but given that it takes a two-thirds majority in each chamber to do so, it will be a tough thing to pull off, especially considering it barely passed with a majority in the first place.