The Colorado Division of Gaming has named Chris Schroder its new director, giving him sizeable shoes to fill after its former director, Dan Hartman, retired in May.
Hartman made a lasting impact on the state of Colorado over his 31 years in state government, during which he played an integral role in advancing horse racing legislation and legalizing sports betting and marijuana.
Now, Schroder steps into the role with all the tools he needs to succeed in a dynamic landscape. PlayColorado recently spoke with Schroder about his role, priorities and ambitions as the new director.
Schroder returns to The Centennial State
Schroder’s gaming career dates back to 1999, when he started as a cook at a racetrack in Dubuque, IA. He then transferred to security with Boyd Gaming and fell in love with the industry, inspiring him to ascend the ladder with the goal of making it to the Las Vegas Strip.
He reached that goal, working in Pennsylvania and Colorado casinos along the way. This provided him with invaluable experience working with regulators, understanding the needs of casinos and learning the importance of RG and integrity in gambling.
It also gave him experience that translates directly to his new position. Schroder said he always wanted to return to Colorado because he loved the state, its casinos, jurisdiction and scenery.
“When I previously worked in Colorado, I highly respected and appreciated the role of the Division of Gaming in regulating the gaming industry. To now be a member of this team, working alongside this group of dedicated experts in gaming, is truly an honor.”
Responsible gambling top focus of Schroder and division
Gambling activity continues to rise nationwide as Colorado sportsbooks and casinos open in new jurisdictions. It’s also a popular activity among Coloradans, who have voted to legalize sports betting and abolish betting limits at casinos in recent years.
Schroder said RG is a passion, and advancing RG efforts is both a short- and long-term goal.
Before Hartman retired, he played an instrumental role in passing new RG legislation to obtain $2.87 million in funding for the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado. With the money, it will set up programs, provide information and increase its number of nationally certified gambling counselors. It also seeks to gain annual funding and grow its influence.
Schroder understands this is the first step of many. He aims to increase access to education and tools that enable Coloradans to make sound betting decisions.
The same goes for abstaining from betting. As a result, a new self-exclusion program will launch soon in Colorado, Schroder said.
“Responsible gaming is a priority of mine, as well as of the division. We will soon introduce a statewide self-exclusion program that will give Coloradans the education and resources to make appropriate decisions for themselves and the opportunity to set their limits across all gaming in Colorado.”
The division worked closely with gambling operators to develop the new program. It will include:
- A self-exclusion program for players to join on the division’s website
- Education material promoting players to gamble responsibly
- Technology developed on a secure, user-friendly and robust system that allows for proper verification of self-excluded players
Schroder meets every requirement to be director
Hartman spoke with PlayColorado in June about his career and the future of Colorado gaming. He said he had no say in choosing his replacement but wanted to see some particular characteristics.
- A cohesive person within the division’s management group
- Someone the group is comfortable working with and can trust to grow the industry
- An understanding of Colorado’s gaming industry
Schroder checks all three of those boxes. Additionally, Hartman said he hoped the division would do a nationwide search. Schroder has experience nearly from coast to coast and will use it to immerse himself into his new team, work on projects moving forward and continue growing the Colorado sports betting and casino industries.