Colorado won’t give casinos tax relief as requested
By Bob Garcia
Casinos will have to figure out how to recover from the coronavirus without public assistance
The Colorado Gaming Association (CGA) has been sending warnings to state leaders about some casino operators that might be on the brink of shutting down businesses permanently due to the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. All gambling venues in the state have been closed since March 17, so that’s over two months with no revenue generated whatsoever. To ease the financial difficulty for casinos, a proposal was presented by the CGA to have a tax relief permit starting July 1; however, it was rejected unanimously by the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission.
The CGA has been trying to convince the pertinent authorities to revamp the current tax structure for casinos. This progressive structure has casinos paying higher rates of taxes the more revenue they generate, including a minimum level of gaming revenue needed to be moved to the next level of the tax rate ranges. The Association also noted that a total of 22 Colorado gaming venues have not had any revenue for over two months and even when they are able to open, it will be done with restrictions and fewer slot machines and more space between players at table games. This situation will deeply impact the normal revenue for the industry.
All those reasons did not seem to have enough weight for the five members of the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission. They looked more inclined to agree with previous comments made by Commissioner Tim Carlson in what was described as a “very compelling” testimony. Carlson noted that the counties and towns that are the beneficiaries of those taxes coming from the gambling industry are on the verge of breaking because there has been no income coming from casinos. Commissioner Gail Watson said that casinos revenue count for 83% of the county’s revenue, which is used to fund everything from the county jail services to sheriff’s office patrols.