IF LOTTERIES are the voluntary taxes on the poor and ignorant, what are casinos? The crack houses?
Last we heard, the casinos law, called Issue 4 on your ballot, was still in the courts. Whether the state will be able to count votes the night of Nov. 6th is up to a judge or two. Better safe than sorry, though: It’s going to be on your ballot, Mr. and Mrs. Arkansan, so vote against it.
Why do Arkansans need casinos in our lives? Answer: We don’t. Have you been south of the state border lately? Have casinos and riverboats done much for Louisiana’s highways? Have casinos and riverboats cleaned up Mississippi’s roads? Or its corruption?
Issue 4 would allow the state Racing Commission to issue casino licenses to applicants from West Memphis to Pine Bluff to Hot Springs.
It seems that only yesterday we were screaming bloody murder, or at least bloody theft, about the lottery. Remember how that legal numbers racket was going to solve all of Arkansas’ financial woes? Now there’s a separate line at many filling stations, just for people to scratch their lives away—and the rent. Now those pushing more gambling want to double-down, as in blackjack, to take more disposable income away from restaurants and movie theaters and water parks. All so those lucky few with the licenses can make it rich.
And rich they will become. They don’t build casinos with the money won by gamblers at their tables. But in this state, the people rule. It’s the state motto. And voters can’t take anything for granted. Remember when passing a “medical” marijuana law was all but impossible in this generally conservative state?
If a body really wanted to know who’d benefit from casinos in Arkansas, he’d only have to look at who’s putting money behind them. Hint: It ain’t the unemployed guy down the street looking for a dealing gig.
Last reports in this paper showed the committee in charge of the casino lobby reported a total of $2.48 million in contributions. The Quapaw Tribe in Oklahoma donated $1.4 million and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma gave $1.05 million. They will want a return on that investment. If Issue 4 passes, do you think they’ll get it? In a word, yes. In two words, yes indeed. For the house always gets its cut first.
AND, of course, there’ll have to be government oversight of an expanded gambling empire in the Natural State. More state workers to watch the casinos, more state workers to audit the casinos, more state workers to promote the casinos. If the house always gets its cut first, then the state House and Senate will get theirs, too, if We the People allow it. Remember when the lottery was first introduced in this state? A man by the name of Big Ernie Passailaigue was made executive director of the just a-borning lottery office. And was paid $324,000 a year to midwife it. Talk about hitting the jackpot!
Who’ll get in on the action, besides the Oklahoma tribes?
Let’s not find out.
Instead, let’s vote against Issue 4 early next month. Voters should take it out of the hands of a few judges, and out of the hands of would-be pit bosses.
Print Headline: Against Issue 4