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According to a Wall Street Journal article, the Obama administration, ever eager to expand government revenues, is considering changing existing federal parameters for tribal casino gambling. Both cash-strapped tribes and government entities view casinos as money sources, usually ignoring both economic facts and sociological “collateral damage.”
While current restrictions require that casinos be built on or within “commuting distance” of actual reservation lands (note – on any land that the tribe can lease or purchase!), a push is on to allow them to build anywhere, including your downtown.
The primary rationale of expanding casino gambling on and off tribal reservations to create economic benefit for tribes and state governments has proven to be a pipe dream. The moral, criminal and family-related issues aside, it simply and literally does not add up.
Professor John Warren Kindt, professor of business administration at the University of Illinois and the foremost researcher on the economic impact of gambling, has proven for years that the direct costs of casino expansion outweigh any revenue increases by a two-to-one margin.
The most authoritative and specific example involving tribal casinos is a 1995 Wisconsin report which concluded that “[w]ithout considering the social costs of compulsive [addicted] gambling, the ‘rest-of-the-state’ areas lose – or, transfer in – $223.94 million to the local gaming areas. Considering the lowest estimated social costs of problem gambling, the rest of … [Wisconsin] loses $318.61 million to gambling.” This report also concluded that without casino gambling, many local citizens would have increased participation in other “outside” activities. “More than 10 percent of the locals would spend more on groceries if it were not for the casino, while nearly one-fourth would spend more on clothes. Thirty-seven percent said that their savings had been reduced since the casino had opened.” (emphasis added, Kindt; Testimony Before the Committee on Resources United States House of Representatives)
What would it look like if the federal behemoth were severely cut down to size? Read Wayne Allyn Root’s prescription for the nation in “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts”
Very simply, the taxpayers lose $2 for every $1 received in state coffers. That may work in Washington, D.C., where the response is to simply crank up the printing press for our fiat funny money called Federal Reserve Notes, but not in Austin, Sacramento, Topeka, etc., where state legislatures must balance their budgets. The economic false promise is the “good news,” however.
We know that building casinos in towns and cities where they have not previously existed has catastrophic impact on the most vulnerable in those communities. EVERY category of crime increases, as illustrated in a comprehensive study done by economists Earl Grinols and David Mustard:
We show that casinos increased crime after a lag of three to four years, consistent with the theoretical predictions of the role of problem and pathological gamblers. Furthermore, by studying the crime rates in counties that border casino host counties we show that the data suggest casinos create crime, and not merely move it from one area to another: Neighbor county data indicate that casino crime spills over into border areas rather than is moved from them.
Burglaries, robberies, white-collar crime, divorce and numerous other crimes and social pathologies escalate as part of the natural increase of families impacted by gambling addiction. The National Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ studies regularly confirm this dark reality. In addition, the corruption spawned by greed and organized crime impacts businesses and government at every level as many flies swarm to the honey.
None of these data are new – all are widely available; and yet politicians of both major parties kneel to, cower before and/or serve as pawns of pro-gambling interests and tribal lobbyists. Why? My experience in battling these leeches is that it is a combination of moral bankruptcy, lack of core convictions, absence of courage, ignorance of economics and raw self-interest.
I believe this is one of the clear issues that both Scripture and our Constitution give cause for involvement of the people through our governing authority. Casino gambling and state lotteries practice a fundamental rejection of the concept of man laboring to produce something of value to society for the provision of our families, trusting in God and seeking the welfare of others.
In order for me to “win” something I didn’t work for through gambling, many others must lose – and the middle man gets filthy rich off of them. Studies have shown that lower-income individuals and families are by far the most negatively impacted. It is grocery money, not “disposable income,” that is inserted in the slots, and women and children are the most common victims of this predatory industry.
In addition to the other Marxist/Leninist, fascist, anti-American, unconstitutional and ungodly actions of the Obama administration, I hope pastors, fathers and all citizens will take the time to “Just Say No” to the Department of Interior’s plans to allow a casino anywhere and everywhere that any tribe of any size wishes to build one.