“Four Truths” about gambling expansion

It has always worked this way: A few people who have money try to induce those who have little to “take a chance.” Those wealthy individuals never gamble on their machines — they know better. Now we have the horse racing industry, which claims to need money, maneuvering in the court system, maintaining that these slot machines are actually pari-mutuel wagering on a horse race.The Family Foundation first worked with the horse racing industry, when it asked for help to keep the casinos out in 1994. Industry envoys told Kent Ostrander, the executive director of The Family Foundation, that casino gambling “rips-off families.” The Foundation came on-board and worked with them until the industry decided, “If you can’t beat them, OWN THEM.” Now it wants a full monopoly.

Truth #1: The Family is targeted.
Clearly, gambling doesn’t create new wealth. It only makes wealth change hands. What hasn’t happened is an honest discussion that tells us from where all the gambling money comes: corporations can’t gamble,nor can businesses, institutions, schools, churches, nonprofits, clubs, or civic groups – only Moms and Dads, and a few single people. In other words, all the BILLIONS of dollars that is gambled is just a shift of assets FROM the hands of the family INTO the hands of the gambling industry.

Truth #2:Businesses will lose.
As families lose, businesses will lose.Think about it – after all 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 anew addition to the house. Other businesses will suffer because money is TAKEN OUT of the economy. Remember, Las Vegas was built by losers – not winners. Expanding gambling will simply drain millions of dollars of wealth from Kentucky’s communities, and local economies will pay dearly.

Truth #3: Government will be corrupted.
With millions going into the hands of the gambling industry, 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 policy debate, like “Should we legalize prostitution?” (as was the case in Nevada). Nevada’s legislature, made up of Moms and Dads just like Kentucky’s, decided to legalize prostitution in order to embellish the gamblers’ “good times.” (Clearly, it wasn’t for “good jobs for women.”) If gambling interests want it, what will the legislature do? The answer: They will do the will of the gambling interests.

Truth #4: The Vulnerable are destroyed.
Though families are targeted (see #1 above), finances aren’t the worst of the costs to families. Financial loss is just the beginning of a tragedy that all the family members experience. There will be some people whose lives will be totally destroyed – marriage-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, their 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 vulnerable families will be destroyed.

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