Policy Reason #1: The Family is targeted.
Though “slots-at-the-tracks” folks have always exaggerated how much “can be raised,” no one is pointing out that huge sums of money — literally billions of dollars over time — will simply change hands.
Clearly, gambling doesn’t create new wealth. It only makes wealth change hands.
What hasn’t happened in this “slots hype” is a discussion that tells us where all this money will come from.
Corporations can’t gamble, nor can businesses, institutions, schools, churches, nonprofits, clubs, nor civic organizations – only moms and dads, and a few single people. In other words, all the BILLIONS of dollars that they say will be “raised” over the years through gambling is just a shift of assets FROM the hands of the family INTO the hands of the gambling industry. The government gets its share simply by taxing the money as it changes hands. The bottom line is that family picks up the whole tab, and tragically, government, charged with protecting families, is maneuvering to “get in on the action.”
Now advocates say “$797 million annually” from slots . . . And $1.02 billion annually in five years. That means proponents are serious about ripping-off Kentucky families,. This is a VERY, VERY BAD idea!
Policy Reason #2: Businesses will lose.
As families lose, businesses will lose. Think about it: after the losses, parents can’t afford to take the family out to eat, buy their children new clothes for school, purchase a new refrigerator or finance a new addition to the house.
And, when a family files bankruptcy, the businesses that the family owes lose even more. In other regions of the country where casinos have opened, the losses to businesses have been clearly documented. But the casino/racino always gets its money.
The fact that businesses will lose is common sense with the Governor’s plan: If $797 million is taken annually from Kentucky families (and then the $1.02 billion annually ) that currently is spent on goods and services in the state, where will businesses find customers that can afford what they offer?
Remember, Las Vegas was built by losers – not winners. Slot machines will simply drain the wealth from Kentucky’s communities, and local economies will pay dearly.
Policy Reason #3: Government will be corrupted.
With billions going into the hands of the race tracks, who will become the greatest contributor and most influential group in the political process? If our legislature is “gambling friendly” today, how much more “ friendly” will it be in ten years, when many of its members have received sizeable contributions from the gambling interests?
Now, imagine that there’s a tough debate, like “Should we legalize prostitution?” (as was the case in the “casino state” Nevada). That legislature decided to legalize prostitution in order to embellish the gamblers’ “good times.” If gambling interests want it, what will the legislature do? The answer: the will of the gambling interests.
The gambling world is all about two things – “A good time” and “the bottom line.” “Good times” demand prostitution and strip bars, and of course, when good times go awry, you’ll need abortion to be readily available. “Nice” legislators that will reluctantly vote for gambling today will themselves be replaced by pro-gambling legislators that will not care one iota about the family. Is it likely that Kentucky will escape the corruption of its values?
Policy Reason #4: The Vulnerable are destroyed.
Though families are targeted , finances aren’t the worst of the costs to families. Financial loss is just the beginning of a tragedy that all the family members, even extended family members, experience.
There will be some citizens, poor in spirit as well as poor in financial assets, whose lives will be totally destroyed – relationship-damaging financial stress, alcoholism, drug use, child neglect and abuse, spouse neglect and abuse, divorce, depression, suicide, embezzlement, imprisonment and crime (both victim and perpetrator).
And even worse, the children will lose their childhoods, and be affected for a lifetime.
Doctors have a policy regarding their treatment of any patient: First do no harm. Policymakers in Frankfort would do well to apply this wisdom to the gambling expansion decision . . . because the Vulnerable (and their families) will be destroyed.