Monday, June 25, 2007

Gambling on KCK

Tomorrow is a special election here in KCK to approve 800 slot machines at the Woodlands dog track and a separate question to approve the construction of a new casino. If I had to guess, it'll pass overwhelmingly.

I'm going to vote against it however because gambling hurts people.

I don't have a problem with spending money on frivolous entertainment (have you seen how much a movie ticket costs?), but the lure of gambling can trap a person and destroy families. The lottery, horse races, slot machines and most casino gaming is a "tax on people that can't do math." Those huge casinos, with millions of lights and all-you-can-eat buffets, are paid for by the money you lose. Every person walking in to a casino needs to stop and consider that a fool and his money are soon parted.

So I don't gamble; I've never even bought a lottery ticket. Which is interesting because I love to play cards (especially games that favor skill over luck) and I've hosted a poker game (not for money) at my house for over a year. But I've also played billiards without every going to a pool hall, I've played darts without ever entering a bar, and I've watched football without ever having money on the game.

As a minister, I feel an extra burden for those addicted to gambling. I turned down an opportunity to go to a charity poker tournament last month because I was so uneasy about it being held at a casino. If only it was held somewhere else! I just don't want to cause someone to stumble who might gamble away their rent money and borrow more money to win it back.

Beyond that, by operating a casino our local government will be partly dependent on the poor judgment and bad luck of people who may not be able to afford it (you know… like the lottery). We'll profit from the very thing that will cause divorce, end careers, and ruin lives of some of our citizens. How can I be for that?


Anonymous said...

I disagree, if people are not responsible enough to not spend all of their money on gambling then they get what they deserve. And furthermore, if they would have paid more attention during school or went to college to get an education then they wouldn't put themselves in that situation.

If someone goes to a casino, bar, billiard room, horse track, or sports book it doesn't make them a bad person and maybe you should try it sometime.

Live a little and don't take life so seriously!!

Thumper said...

I never said going to a casino makes you a bad person. But your laissez-faire, take-no-responsibility statement sounds a lot like the position of a drug dealer or con artist: if the fool isn't smart enough to get out of the way, they get what they deserve.

From a political point of view, I could actually be persuaded to go the libertarian, every-man-for-himself route. But as a Christian, I at least bear some responsibility for those watching me. And the weaker brother may be dragged down by something that has no effect on me.

Jeff Elliott said...

Education/college has nothing to do with gambling/addictions. I know plenty of college grads who are alcoholics. I know one college grad who is an accountant (me) who gambled away his tuition money (somewhere around $8,000 I'd say) while in college. I don't go to Casinos because I still struggle with the temptation today. I can play cards with friends for no money - or even a $5 buy in and it has no affect on me.

I am so GLAD that the casinos in KCMO are a pain to drive to from KCK/Leavenworth because it would have been very easy just to "stop by" on my way home from work a few times a week. $300 here, $300 there, and my family has too much month left at the end of the money.

I personally don't handle myself very well in a casino. It's like handing a guy who likes beer a 12 pack on Friday night with friends and then telling him to only drink *one* and let the rest sit there. Um, no...I would have rather not have been offered the beer.

The biggest lie that the KCK government and Governor Sebelius and other proponents are selling is that it will "bring in revenue" to Kansas to help pay for eduction.

No it won't. The majority of people visiting the casino will be local people and it's nothing more than a redistribution of their money.

Instead of taxing Kansans to pay for education, Joe Kansan goes to the casino, loses his money, and then a portion of it gets distributed to the State. There is very little outside money coming in - you're just taxing people indirectly and worst of all - you're not taxing "the rich" - you're taxing the poor. Rich people for the most part don't gamble. Poor people, who get paid Friday afternoon and lose it Friday night are the ones gambling.

I have a strong feeling that a Casino will pass and KCK will build one, but it will have a terrible impact on the community and many people/families will get hurt.

Thumper said...

Thanks, Jeff.

Anonymous said...

I think you need some help in self-discipline Jeff!! Casino's and addiction will only affect the weak and non-disciplined Kansan's

Jeff E said...

You should have no problem trying Heroin then...only the weak and non-disciplined get addicted to it. Someone as strong and disciplined as yourself should be able to enjoy it recreationally.

What's that? It's illegal? You need to "lighten up" and "live a little".

Anonymous said...

Wow, comparing Heroin and Gambling in the same sentence. Isn't it funny that the same people that gamble their checks away are the same people that are smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. I mean have you been to a casino. The people that show up and have a good time with an alowance of what they can lose and then go get something to eat and go home, these are the people that will benefit from the enjoyment of a casino. All of the poor/blow my whole check on friday night at the casino people should take notes on how to enjoy it but they can't. They have addictive personalities in which this is derived from being WEAK!!

Jeff E said...

"anonymous" - It must be nice to not have any vices. Actually, it sounds boring. :)

I swear every time I type a word verification, I'm typing "jihad".

Jeff E said...

One more thing:

"The people that show up and have a good time with an alowance of what they can lose and then go get something to eat and go home, these are the people that will benefit from the enjoyment of a casino."

Casinos wouldn't exist if these were the only people who showed up. It's not the couple making $70k who stop by on a Friday night and lose $30 in the slot machines that pay for the expensive decor, the plasma tvs, the lights.

It's Joe Camel over in the corner trying to win back what he lost the night before.

Any "educated" person can run the math on who pays for a casino.

Anonymous said...

And it is not the educated that lose the money. All I am saying is there is a bigger picture that needs to be fixed.