DENVER – The supporters of a ballot initiative to expand casino gambling in the state of Colorado to racetracks announced on Monday a total of 136,342 petition signatures submitted to the Department of State to put the measure on the November ballot.
“Today is a significant milestone for our citizens committee and the thousands of supporters we have across the state,” declared Aurora Democrat and former state Sen. Bob Hagedorn.
The measure called Initiative 135 aims to amend the constitution in order to allow at least 2,500 slot machines, card games, craps and other games of chance at the racetracks of the Arapahoe Park, Pueblo County and Mesa County.
According to the Coloradans for Better Schools, the committee behind Initiative 135, the measure would raise $100 million annually to fund K-12 education in the state.
“Our initiative offers voters the opportunity to provide a new, reliable and protected funding stream to improve K-12 education in Colorado,” co-sponsor and former state Rep. Vickie Anderson stated.
In addition, the committee told that 34% of the adjusted gross proceeds from casino gambling would be allotted for the state’s education through a new account called K-12 Education Fund.
Based on the state law, an initiative requires at least 86, 105 valid signatures from registered voters to be on the ballot. So far, the committee submitted 158% of the required signatures. Once the Department of State verified the petition within 30 days, Initiative 135 will be assigned a permanent number on the ballot.
On the other hand, no education advocacy group supports the imitative yet. The group Don’t Turn Racetracks into Casinos as well as existing casinos were fighting the proposal.
“This initiative isn’t about public schools. Not a single one of Colorado’s 178 school districts have come out in support of this scheme. (Backers) paid to have signatures gathered because Colorado’s 36,000 teachers don’t support them. That’s because a plan to build mega-casinos to help one Rhode Island company isn’t a plan for our public schools,” expressed Don’t Turn Racetracks into Casinos spokeswoman Michele Ames.