Given all the other crises in the world today, why does the Tribune devote an entire editorial to denouncing the expansion of legal gambling in Florida (“Resist another run at expanding gaming,” Our Views, Sept. 29)? According to the Trib, gaming is just “encouraging people to waste their money” and “gambling preys on the weak,” among other subjective reasons for objecting to it. Although the article concedes gambling has generated several billion dollars to the state coffers, the Trib can still find no reason to support it!
Have the editors from the Trib ever visited some of the casinos in the U.S.? Are all the people playing the slot machines poor, or weak? I hardly think so — these large casinos couldn’t have been built just from the revenue of the poor. The casinos are frequented by people from all walks of life, and of all incomes. And although everyone hopes to leave with winnings, the majority who don’t simply treat a day at the casino as a day of entertainment — no different than a day at the ballpark or theater. (And for the most part, the day is usually no more expensive than good seats for these other forms of entertainment.)
Why does the Trib want to allow casino gambling to continue as an Indian-run monopoly? Why not allow free enterprise to determine how many casinos an area can support? If there are more casinos, there will be more competition and likely more payouts, as each casino tries to lure customers with machines programmed to return a higher percentage of its intake.
Casino gambling has become popular with the citizenry of nearly every state. To send people to other states to gamble makes little sense with the tax revenues it generates, and to not allow more casinos is to thwart the competitive edge that will work in favor of the consumer.
Casino gambling is fun, and as long as a minimum payback is regulated by the state, no amount of lecturing is going to change that. Although I personally don’t often play the slots, millions of people do, and most of us would rather lose money while having fun than to write larger checks for property and school taxes every year.
William L. Gross