Expanded Gambling Will Only Bring Suffering

Don Cole

Don Cole, executive director of the Kentucky Ethics League, recently spoke out about about Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposal for a constitutional amendment to allow up to nine casinos in Kentucky. Here’s what he had to say:

Now is the time for the citizens of Kentucky to speak up and let their voices be heard. This state does not need more gambling. Expanding gambling will reduce the resources of the state and create more problems.

The cry is going out: “We have to get the gambling dollars that are being spent out of state to come back to Kentucky.” Guess what? Most of the money does not come back. Letting new gambling venues come into the state will only increase the number of gamblers in the area where they are located. Even with the new venues, the largest amount of the money will still be going out of state — to the gambling industry.

To allow casino type gambling in the state will harm the social structures of the communities where they are located. There will be an increased demand for treatment of addiction and some people will lose their homes. Children will suffer as the bread winner in the home gambles his paycheck away. Families will be broken. There will be more demand on food banks and charitable organizations to provide money for utilities. Charitable organizations are already stressed and overloaded.

Casinos produce very few jobs that pay enough for a family to survive. People need good paying jobs to provide the resources to pay mortgages and/or rent, and to pay for groceries, utilities and transportation expenses, etc. Some talk about how we need to help the horse industry, claiming that expanding gambling will do this. How about helping out some others who are struggling to survive? Local stores are closing all across the state.

States that do have “slot machines at racetracks” are not doing as well as the tracks in Kentucky. The New York legislature was asked for millions of dollars to keep a track open, even though they have slot machines. West Virginia was asked for money to refurbish and replenish their slot machines! Unbelievably, the West Virginia legislature will be giving the gambling industry $10,000,000 each year for the next 10 years to update their slot machines. That is a $100,000,000 windfall for the gambling industry that is being financed with taxpayer money.

Do we want our state to begin depending on gambling money to finance our budget? Do we want the legislature to help only one section of our economy? Will they pass a bill that is “simple” and let the rules be written later with no input from the people?

Call your legislator now at 1-800-372-7181 and urge defeat of the bill that the governor is proposing on expanded gambling. It is time to speak loud and clear.



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