Published October 20, 2009
Election Day this year is Tuesday, November 3. The polls are open from 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. Why should you care? There are several important issues on the ballot, including casinos and libraries.
Issue 3 writes a casino monopoly into the state constitution. Bad idea. There are plenty of reasons not to like this, regardless of how you feel about casinos in general. If you dislike casinos in general or are opposed to them on whatever moral grounds, your move is obvious.
If you want a casino in the area, the proposed amendment will prevent you from having one. Only certain blessed communities (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo) and prohibits any other from gaining one. To make any changes to the parameters of how the casinos function and how revenues are shared across the state, the constitution would need to be amended again. The revenue sharing is among the lowest in the country, and the wording from the zeal to protect this narrow gambling monopoly may prevent organizations like Make-A-Wish from sponsoring "casino night" events.
How do casinos affect surrounding communities? Have you ever seen a clock in a casino? Can you see the exit from your slot machine? Casinos are designed to lure you into the casino to spend your money, and they employ every effort to prevent you from wanting to leave. Any claim that the casinos will spread wealth through the community is overblown.
Casinos are about entertainment. You go and spend money for the illusion that you will make some back. The reason casinos are known as money makers, of course, is because the house always wins in the end. If you're comfortable with the odds, knock yourself out. But let's not write a monopoly into the constitution. If we feel we should have gambling in Ohio, legalize it and let the free market foster competition for casino rights.
I've written about this before, so I'll keep this brief. We need our libraries now more than ever. Vote yes on the Issue 6 renewal levy. The wording is the Reuben McMillan Free Library Association, which is the official name of the Public Library of Youngstown and the Mahoning County. Please support this important levy renewal.