Two legislators from Southern Colorado plan to propose a measure that would introduce lottery games into the technological age and provide a considerable boost to the funding for higher education.
The proposal would ask voters in Colorado to permit a video keno lottery game that is similar to keno, with the revenue that they produce be allotted to higher-education scholarship grants. The planned gaming expansion would permit a lottery game on video monitors, something the Colorado Lottery does not currently feature.
Senator Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo), who is the author of the proposal in the Senate with Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver), said that the game would attract a new generation of lottery players that is more accustomed to enjoy games on video monitors. Tapia plans to offer the games in bars and restaurants.
Preliminary estimates of the money that it would produce for higher education range from $15 million to $100 million. Tapia said that Higher education lost a lot of money from the general fund but this year was temporarily replaced by the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which would not be there next year.
Tapia added that it is very important to get another revenue source for higher education. The proposal is being showcased as a referred measure, because allocating revenue for a specific purpose like higher education would need the approval of state voters under the constitution of Colorado.
In order to be place on the November ballot, the proposal would need the approval of a 2/3 majority of both chambers of the Colorado Legislature. Rep. Buffie McFadyen (D-Pueblo West), is co-sponsoring a proposal in the House together with House Minority Leader Mike May (R-Parker).
McFadyen said that it could greatly benefit Southern Colorado with new jobs and training to receive them. Proceeds from the Lottery presently support open space projects and other community improvements with the help of Great Outdoor Colorado grants. Tapia said that the group will also receive its share from the video keno lottery game.
John M. Thorpe