Regulators use two-tier approach

Sep 27, 2005 2:35 AM

The state of Colorado features a two-tiered regulatory approach to low-stakes gambling in the state.

First, the Colorado Division of Gaming, a division of the Colorado Department of Revenue, is responsible for the regulation and enforcement of limited gaming in Colorado.

The Division, with offices in Lakewood, Central City/Black Hawk and Cripple Creek, employs a staff of 72 persons, which includes investigators, auditors, accountants, administrators and support personnel.
Among the duties of the Division of Gaming is the investigation of gaming license applicants, who must submit to a thorough background review. Division investigators scrutinize personal and financial histories of applicants, including the sources of all money applicants plan to invest in a proposed establishment.

Background investigations have taken Division investigators worldwide to obtain information. All Division investigators have the powers of peace officers and are certified as such.
The scrutiny doesn’t end once the license is issued. Division staff continue to monitor licensees for such problems as hidden ownership interests and organized crime involvement. Division investigators also patrol casinos during all hours of operation to handle patron complaints and observe for possible violations of gaming laws, rules and regulations.
The Division is also very involved in other day-to-day activities of limited gaming. In the first 13½ years of gaming in Colorado, the Division’s licensing section processed more than 30,000 licenses for casinos and casino employees (not including renewals).

The Division’s Audit Section conducts regular compliance and revenue audits of casinos to ensure that establishments are following stringent accounting and compliance procedures to ensure proper reporting and payment of gaming taxes.

The Emerging Technologies Section oversees the approval of all gaming devices and systems. The Communications Section handles hundreds of information inquiries each year. The Training Section provides training to casinos in all areas of casino operations and regulation.

Gaming Commision

In addition to the Division of Gaming, much of the day-to-day enforcement of regulations falls to the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission, a five-member regulatory body appointed by the Governor.

By statute, the Commission is responsible for enforcing all the rules and regulations governing limited gaming in Colorado, including the establishment of the gaming tax rate. The Commission also has final authority over all gaming licenses issued in the state.

By law, the Commission is made up of members from different professional, political and geographic backgrounds. The Commission must include the following:

”¡ An attorney with experience in regulatory law

”¡ A Certified Public Accountant with knowledge of corporate finance

”¡ A law enforcement official

”¡ A corporate manager with five years of business experience

”¡ A registered voter

In addition, no more than three Commissioners can be from the same political party and no more than one Commissioner can be from the same federal congressional district.

All appointments to the Commission must be confirmed by the State Senate. Commissioners serve four-year terms, and no Commissioner can serve more than two consecutive terms.

The Commission has final authority over all expenses concerning the regulation of limited gaming in Colorado. Commission members approve the budget for the Division of Gaming, as well as allocate money to other state departments, such as the Department of Public Safety, to ensure that the gaming industry is adequately regulated and its patrons protected.

The Commission is required by law to meet at least monthly.