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’Round and ’round it goes (sort of like a roulette wheel)

Published: Sun, October 11, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

’Round and ’round it goes (sort of like a roulette wheel)

Casino proponents are taking a page out of the playbook of some government entities that apparently don’t know the meaning of no. How many times is the complaint heard that a school board, for instance, will put a tax issue on the ballot over and over again until, finally, a weary public gives in?

Well, here we are again, addressing yet another amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would give a small group of businessmen a monopoly on gambling in the state. And again, we find ourselves saying that it is madness to give special interests a constitutional right to pick pockets.

We understand that some people enjoy gambling, and that many, including those from the Mahoning Valley, travel out of state now to gamble. Casino proponents tell us that Ohio is losing $1 billion a year to such outward migration, and that Issue 3 will put an end to that.

Do the math

But the numbers don’t add up. For one thing, as anyone from this area familiar with gambling patterns can tell you, not everyone who goes to West Virginia or has started going to Pittsburgh to gamble will automatically switch to one of the four Ohio casinos permitted under Issue 3. Some who are going to Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Detroit or Niagara Falls to gamble may go, instead, to Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo or Cincinnati, but not all. Those dollars leaving Ohio are not the target of the would-be operators of Issue 3 casinos. If they captured every gambling dollar leaving the state, $1 billion isn’t enough to provide the jobs and taxes that Issue 3 proponents promise.

They’ve got their eye on billions of dollars in new gambling money, and those are dollars that will be drained from the discretionary budgets of hundreds of thousands of Ohio families. It is money that now goes for restaurant meals, theater tickets, new clothes, new cars and home furnishings and improvements. And that’s what underlies the deception of promoting gambling as an economic development tool.

Casinos produce little except false promises, the occasional sense of euphoria for the winners and the dejection of defeat for the losers and their families.

We have said before when commenting on other casino gambling issues in Ohio: Gambling is the most successful scheme for the redistribution of wealth ever devised. It takes from the poor and gives to the rich. That’s because, as any gambler can tell you, the house never loses.

Don’t be taken in by the promises of easy money being made by Issue 3 proponents. Vote no on Issue 3.

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