Saturday, March 26, 2005

Gambling Hypocrisy

It has been fascinating to watch the various casino proposals come and go that have been tied to the funding of a stadium for the Colts. The biggest kick has been what Abdul Hakim-Shabazz refers to as 'The Unholy Alliance' of opposition to expanded gambling in Central Indiana- those who oppose gambling on moral grounds, together with those with existing gambling interests around the periphery of the state.

Rookie State Senator Brent Waltz (R-Greenwood) submitted an interesting letter to the Indy Star, opposing expanded gambling on the basis of 'social consequences'. Here's the paragraph that almost made me choke on my Diet Coke:
It has been long rumored that some in the legislature seek to legalize these machines, essentially making every liquor license holder a mini-casino. In the two counties I represent, Marion and Johnson, citizens would be confronted with up to 961 mini-casinos. They would be located near churches, schools and libraries, and access to them would be as easy as buying a lottery ticket. Such a measure would be the greatest single expansion of gambling in Indiana history.
Actually, Senator, the greatest single expansion of gambling in Indiana history was the creation of the Hoosier Lottery, the state controlled gambling monopoly. That lottery ticket you mention is precisely for convenience stores what you fear of bars- they are all mini-casinos situated near churches, schools, and libraries. Will Senator Waltz therefore be calling for the dissolution of the Hoosier Lottery? I strongly doubt it. In 2004, the Lottery transferred $200 million to the Legislature for spending.

At the same time, Waltz deserves credit for this paragraph in the same letter:
It is critical that Indiana does nothing less with its budget than what we expect every family in our state to do -- live within its financial means. The tens of thousands of families harmed by layoffs and job loss do not have the option of building a mini-casino to pay their bills. Neither should the state of Indiana.
Imagine... Indiana living within its' means! He's right about that, and about something he doesn't see. If citizens can't create legal businesses offering and controlling gambling, neither should the state. And, if he is opposed to gambling on moral grounds, fight the existing legal gambling you help manage. End the Hoosier Lottery, Senator Waltz!

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