Hickenlooper replaces gaming commission

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Governor John Hickenlooper dismissed and replaced all five members of the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission Wednesday.

The dramatic move came almost two months after the commission voted to reduce the tax charged to Colorado casinos by 5 percent. The casinos had complained to the commission that they had suffered negative revenues three years in a row (see related story here).

While the tax reduction, which went into effect July 1, promises to offer relief for mountain town casinos, it will also dig into funding for the communities where the casinos are located, including Cripple Creek, and into already dwindling funding for community colleges (see related story here).

Hickenlooper advocated for the colleges following the gaming commission’s decision and urged the group to reconsider.

“We don’t believe the Colorado gaming industry should be judged reasonably unprofitable or unhealthy at a time when some casinos are making major multimillion-dollar investments in one of the worst economic periods in our nation’s history,” Hickenlooper said in a statement Wednesday. “Gaming should be subject to the same risks and rewards of operating and expanding as other industries that don’t have the same ability to change their tax rate based on market conditions.”