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Denver Business Journal – Colorado Congress members offer support at casino industry roundtable

October 15, 2015

By  Ed Sealover

October 15, 2015

One day after a Las Vegas casino hosted the Democratic presidential debate, the gambling industry brought its political message to Colorado — and picked up support from two members of the state’s Republican congressional delegation.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton both spoke at a roundtable hosted Wednesday by the American Gaming Association at Gaming Laboratories International, an independent casino-game tester that has an office in Wheat Ridge.

And while neither predicted any imminent legislation that could affect the gambling industry in the Centennial State or nationwide, both said they understand the industry is an economic driver, rather than just the controversial sector some see it as.

“There’s a wide variety of jobs, from the people who are dealing cards to the people working in the kitchens at casinos,” Gardner said.

The roundtable was part of the American Gaming Association’s “Gaming Votes” campaign, meant to promote the value of the industry in advance of the 2016 election.

Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA, emphasized the industry was not looking to expand beyond the three former mining towns and Native American reservations where casinos now operate in Colorado, but wants to get its message out in key battleground states, hoping to avoid any efforts to crack down on legal gambling from the next administration.

More than 30 casinos operate in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek, producing $1.5 billion in annual economic activity and supporting 10,300 jobs. Nationally, the gambling industry is responsible for 1.7 million jobs, $240 billion in annual economic activity and $342 million in federal, state and local tax revenues.

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