The push to fund a new stadium with new predatory gambling donors is on. Ideas bandied about are a block E casino in downtown Minneapolis, racinos at the horse tracks and expansion of electronic pulltabs in bars and restaurants. I think the assumptions underlying use of gambling is it's the easiest way to raise taxes. Least pain for legislators.
Problem is it will cause the most pain to society. Predatory gambling, and by that I mean electronic forms of gambling, is dependent on creating on more gambling addiction and encouraging more people to go into debt. So in fact, it's the tax increase which will maximize pain for individuals with gambling addictions and increase the enormous social costs to society.
Think of it from a product liability perspective. If we new a product in the store was making making 50 or even 100 people very sick we'd immediately pull that item from the selves. Well, here we have a product, predatory gambling which is significantly harmful to thousands of people, tens of thousands of people. And what do we do? We don't pull it from the shelf instead we encourage more poeple to use it. Kind of puts things in perspective.
Here's a release we sent out on the issue.
“Funding Viking Stadium with predatory gambling dollars is fantasy football, Bernie Madoff style”
Group says expanding predatory gambling will drive Minnesota families deeper into debt and create thousands of new gambling addicts.
Minneapolis – Tom Prichard, President of the Minnesota Family Council (MFC), today said proposals to fund a new Vikings’ stadium with predatory gambling monies would be a disaster for the state.
“The governor’s suggestion that we fund a new Vikings’ stadium with predatory gambling dollars is fantasy football, Bernie Madoff style,” said Prichard. “It will only drive more Minnesota families deeper into debt, and create thousands of new gambling addicts.”
Governor Dayton has rejected use of a sales tax increase in Ramsey County as the means of funding a new stadium and instead is suggesting that expanding video or electronic gambling might be the best way to go.
“Predatory gambling is a failed business product. It’s built on personal debt and addiction. For the state to pay for a new Viking’s stadium with predatory gambling dollars means the state will be preying on the citizens it’s supposed to be protecting,” added Prichard.
The eminicity of the gambling addiction problem is shown by a study out of our neighbor Wisconsin. A 2011 report found that average gambling debt of the over 14,000 people who called a Wisconsin problem gambling help line was nearly $44,000. It’s estimated that 338,000 people, nearly 7% of Wisconsin’s population are problem or compulsive gamblers.
“Expanding predatory, electronic gambling, the most addictive form of gambling, would be a social disaster for Minnesota,” concluded Prichard.