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IQ: Legalized Gambling

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Colorado voters approved legalized gambling in Cripple Creek, Central City and Black Hawk a decade ago. Do the economic benefits of gambling, lining the pockets of a few, outweigh the often less rosy consequences?

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Gary King
Artist
Shook's Run

Has gambling been good for Cripple Creek? It used to be a lot of fun to take a jeep or motorcycle up there to drive around the mountains, and maybe stop at Zeke's for a bowl of chili. Now it's just a bunch of casinos crammed with people getting fleeced.

Has its legalization benefited Colorado? A few have benefited, but in the same way that some people are enriched by problems like alcoholism, nicotine addiction and overeating.

What's your best gambling story? On a trip to Cripple Creek, a former girl blew $2,000 and another $500 besides that she'd spent the past two years saving up for a new car. It left her devastated and feeling rotten about herself. She had to ride the bus for another year or two.

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Carol Stanton
Occupational nurse
Stratmoor

Has gambling helped Cripple Creek? All those wonderful little shops have been replaced by something cold and impersonal. Affordable housing disappeared for people who work there.

Do you gamble? I play party bridge with friends and an occasional poker hand, but it's for very small stakes.

What's your best gambling story? On a vacation trip to Lake Tahoe with my late husband, I won enough money playing the one-armed bandits to pay for the entire vacation.

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Garfield Johnson
Tutmose Academy teacher
Downtown

Is gambling a boon to Colorado? As a Republican, I can't condone it. It destroys families and increases pathologies like drinking and overspending.

Do you gamble? I've gambled once in my life. I bought a lottery ticket while out with a bunch of teachers.

Any memorable gambling stories? My father lost hundreds of thousands of dollars during my childhood betting on horse racing in the Bahamas. The whole family suffered.

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Ramona Lapsley
Elementary art teacher
Manitou Springs

Has gambling been good for Colorado? It benefits parks, open space and recreation, but it's destroyed the unique historical character of Cripple Creek. Who knows how many individuals it's ruined?

Do you gamble? All teachers at my school get a lottery ticket on their birthday. For me, that's about it.

What's your best gambling story? I bet a friend stationed in Germany that the Avalanche would beat the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The loser had to buy the other dinner. I won, but I had to travel all the way to Germany to collect.

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