Some members of the Colorado Legislature are furious that the state’s House of Representatives has revived legislation that would permit casinos to loan gambling money to players.

This erratic turn of events late Saturday night prompted several lawmakers to criticize the process and, in some cases, even their aides.

SB23-259 bill:

This whole situation happened because of legislation SB23-259, which would have permitted casinos to provide lines of credit. Furthermore, the proposal had bipartisan sponsors, but also received bipartisan opposition.

In addition, supporters claimed that the credit would only benefit rich gamblers, giving them the ability to avoid flying with large sums of cash or needing to use ATMs.

In this regard, Rep. Marc Snyder, Democratic sponsor, said: “It’s really trying to attract folks that want to gamble … Gives them the opportunity ahead of time to apply for credit with the casino.

“It’s something that the casinos feel will help them to build and maintain (their) customer base. I would describe it as a tourism bill”

However, critics said: “It would just make it easier for casinos to keep people gambling beyond what they can afford.”

Reconsideration of the vote:

The misunderstanding was discovered late on Saturday, which was one of the last days of session. The legislation had already passed the Senate and required one final vote in the House, but, to the evident surprise of sponsors, was two votes short of the final count.

One of the two doubters was Republican Rep. Richard Holtorf.

In this regard, Holtorf said earlier in the week: “If you’re having to borrow money to gamble that means you already spent the money you had to spend on gambling, and now you’re wanting to get in the game without any money.

“I was struggling with the bill and suggested an amendment.” However, he later withdrew the said amendment.

On Saturday, when the legislation failed by just a 31-34 vote, Holtorf was the no.

However, just under an hour later, Holtorf asked for the vote to be redone, aka reconsidered in the legislature’s technical language, saying that he “may have voted in error.”

During the second attempt, both lawmakers who had previously voted no, Holtorf and Republican Representatives Mary Bradfield and Matthew Soper, changed their votes to yes, and the legislation officially passed 33-32. However, Rep. Jenny Willford changed her vote to a no.

Some MPs criticize a colleague:

The reconsideration of the legislation caused furious criticism from some Democrats, with Rep. Bob Marshall, Democrat of Douglas County, questioning the idea that Holtorf had cast a wrong vote.

In this regard, he said: “This is why people lose trust in our government.” 

However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives punished him for directly criticizing a colleague, which is a violation of the chamber’s rules of decency.

However, the statement of Rep. Bob Marshall was supported by some colleagues.

In this regard, Rep. Elisabeth Epps said from a nearby bench: “He’s right.”

But, Holtorf refused to comment after the vote.

Still, other representatives joined the critics online.

On that note, Rep. Jennifer Parenti that said that “a sponsor of the bill — she didn’t specify who — had been conferring with special interests in the lobby before returning to resurrect the bill.”

In addition, she tweeted: “This is not just a pretty big breach of the House rules … but calls into question the integrity of the entire second vote. The people of Colorado deserve better.”

However, a number of progressive lawmakers took advantage of the situation to compare the casino bill to their own proposals that haven’t advanced.

In this regard, Rep. Javier Mabrey tweeted: “Legislation designed to help working families and the poor is getting killed left and right but a bill designed to make it easier for casinos to make money gets a second chance to pass after it died fairly. This is so ridiculous.”

Rep. David Ortiz added: “It was absolutely disgustingly outrageous!!!! Power and wealth get what power and wealth want.”

Provisions of the bill:

The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Dylan Roberts, a Democrat, and Republicans Rep. Ron Weinberg and Sen. Mark Baisley. Next up for the legislation is for the Senate to consider the House’s amendments, which would ultimately require Gov. Jared Polis’ signature and take effect in August.

Additionally, the legislation would require casinos to decide if a person has creditworthiness and check other factors, such as if they owe child support or restitution, before approving them for a line of credit.

Commenting on the provisions of the bill, the sponsors said: “Customers would have to apply in advance.”