Republicans in Colorado have knocked a recommendation from the Colorado auditor’s office to make casinos in the state pay taxes under a single licence, so the state can collect much more dosh every year from businesses.
An audit of the Division of Gaming (DoG) – which sets and enforces rules for state casinos – stated in the recommendation that regulatory changes will make the tax structure fairer. It added that the state would have collected about $4.9 million more in gambling taxes if casinos operated under a single retail license.
Auditors also said in their report that the Division of Gaming should “eliminate the tax advantage gained by ownership groups with multiple physically attached casinos.’’ This is because it believes business owners with multiple licenses are paying less in gambling taxes than if they had one retail license with a larger amount of total revenue.
However, Republicans on the Legislative Audit Committee, which heard the recommendation, weren’t too impressed by the DoG statement. Especially considering gaming tax revenue paid to the state of Colorado during the last five years has averaged about $106 million annually. Swaying their index fingers in disapproval, the Republicans said the auditor’s proposal didn’t take into account that each casino may have separate ownership structures and operating costs for each casino license.
In a report by Boston.com, Rep. Brian DelGrosso, a Loveland Republican, slammed the idea of a tax advantage, and whaled that the costs to operate three casinos often exceed what business owners pay to run one. He said:
“You got three separate sets of rents, you got three different sets of employees, utilities. I mean, all of the overall costs that are out there.”
The DoG said it partly agreed with the audit’s recommendation, adding that it’s an issue that warrants “further discussion”. Officials have apparently scheduled a hearing on the topic, but gaming officials added that it’s a “complex issue’’ that will require examining various factors and testimony from interested parties. So we’re yet to see where the recommendation will lead.