Monday, November 21, 2011

Some legislators say it's "obvious" we should fund a new stadium with new gambling monies. I don't think so.

There was an opinion piece in the Star Tribune signed by a handful of state legislators who support expanding gambling by building new casinos at the horse tracks.

The title for the piece is: "It's obvious: Fund stadium with racinos"

I don't think it's so obvious when you look a bit closer at what they're proposing.

For one it's definitely a tax increase contrary to their assertion it isn't. The revenues that will be coming to the state from new taxes.

Second, much of the money raised will be coming out of main street. Some might come from the existing casinos but certainly large amounts will be coming from more and new gambling. (If you question this, ask yourself why Burger King, Wendy's and McDonald's build restaurants right next to each other. It's so they can attract more people. The same is true with car dealerships. It's a not a zero sum game.)

Third, it will increase the social problems and pathologies which accompany the tens of thousands of Minnesotans will gambling problems. The answer isn't, "Well, let the problem gamblers get help"; help after they've already lost their life savings, stolen money to feed their habit, lost their families, or so forth. The problems of gambling addiction affect us all. Studies show the cost significantly outweigh the benefits.

Does Minnesota want to become the Las Vegas of the Midwest? I don't think so.

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