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Monday, October 13, 2008

More Sleight of Hand from Casino Interests

For several years now we have been fighting in Missouri to keep a $500 loss limit on casino gambling. It’s not that restrictive to begin with. That current loss “limit” simply says that a gambler on one of our “boats” (let’s not get into the whole issue of “boats” that are permanent land based buildings!) can only lose $500 every TWO HOURS! That’s right, every two hours. That’s $500 per every two hours. $6,000 per day. $42,000 per week. $168,000 per month. Not really much of a limit to begin with is it.

In fact, this limit was originally an idea proposed by the casinos themselves as a safeguard against problem gambling. Even they recognized the benefit of trying to put at least some kind of limit on things. Not to mention how this serves as a deterrent for money laundering schemes in casinos, etc.

Anyway, the battle rages on. This year it’s called Proposition A. It’s not bad enough that the gambling interests now want to remove these limits so they can rake in the big bucks at the expense of problem gamblers and their families. Now they want us to think it’s a noble cause for our children.

The slick PR types are promoting this as “millions of dollars for our schools.” There are a couple of problems with that. Number one, the end result of this legislation will not actually add any monies to Missouri schools since the budget will just be altered to offset whatever revenue this might bring in (a standard “shell game” in Jefferson City). Number two, I think we’ve pretty much proven over the years that simply throwing more money at our schools doesn’t help that much anyway.

The real outcome of this legislation will simply be that people already struggling with gambling addiction will be allowed to lose their homes and families quicker, the casino owners will make a fortune, and the state will be given the burden of providing aid for those families devastated by the whole thing. And yes, the schools will get some money. But just like with the lottery promises, etc. the Jeff City shell game will just move things around so that the net increase for schools will be next to nothing.

For more information (and a more intelligent discussion of the issue than found here), check out these links.

Missouri Family Network

Vote No on A

Casino Watch

I wish we didn’t have casinos at all. But I hope Missouri voters can at least see through this fancy trickery to see that no one will benefit in the end with Prop A except the casino folks.

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