Monday, February 22, 2010

Gambling In Alabama

Recent newspaper reports show that Milton McGregor has donated in excess of a million and half dollars to the campaign to legalize bingo gambling. This current effort is a part of the ongoing fight to bring the gambling industry to the state.

I am opposed to the whole idea. My objection is not based simply the issue of morality of gambling. Like most of us, I find a small wager to be entertaining and do not feel that I have committed some mortal sin in doing so.

I do not feel the same way about the gambling industry. It is a fact that the leading employers in a community have a direct effect on the quality of life. Our governor has successfully brought industries into Alabama that employ many of our citizens who were previously unemployed or under employed. These companies are good citizens and serve to bring about a better community life. Does the gambling industry offer the same? I do not think so.

Several weeks ago it was reported that a prominent politician who had been friendly to gambling interests visited a casino in Mississippi and encountered unbelievable good luck hitting jackpot after jackpot until he won over a million dollars. Welcome to the real world of gambling.

What does the gambling industry offer to the state? It can provide a handful of low paying jobs and a little entertainment for their patrons. From time to time some patrons lose their pay check, or their car, or their house, and receive nothing in exchange. The casinos flood the highways with billboards containing false advertising puffing all the winnings, when we know that losing is ultimately inevitable. Consider the millions that Toyota is expending because of the public outcry over perhaps a hundred incidents worldwide. Yet the gambling industry wipes out its customers regularly and not a peep is heard.

And now they gambling interests are using what appears to be phenomenal profits to push for more and more of the same. What kind of leaders will we have when they, too, “enjoy phenomenal good luck” in the slots or at the crap table? Next time it will be casino gambling. What next? Nevada has pushed the envelope now to cover legalized prostitution. Before we aspire to be the next gambling Mecca, I suggest that we consider whether we want Las Vegas and Atlantic City to be our future.

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