2017 | Week of August 14 | #1216
Finally. A state Republican party willing to push back against using casinos as part of balancing a state budget. Gambling in general isn’t an issue you hear either Democrats or Republicans talk much about. It should be talked about a lot, but it’s not. Thankfully, Republicans in Georgia have decided to break the cone of silence.
After apparently several years of wrestling with this issue, the Georgia State GOP recently adopted a resolution condemning casino gambling in that state. The resolution is so good, I’m going to share it with you in its entirety.
“WHEREAS, Georgia Republican legislators have introduced legislation that would allow for casino gambling in Georgia; and
WHEREAS, the gambling bills now mask the negative connotations of casino gambling by referring to casinos euphemistically as “destination resorts”; and
WHEREAS, the usual arguments for opening the state to casino and horse racing continue to be, “this will create jobs” and “it is for the children” because it will generate revenue for Pre- K and for the HOPE scholarship, and
WHEREAS, these reasons fail to overcome the substantial societal costs of casino and horse racing, which include:
- because gamblers are twice as likely to divorce as non- gamblers,
- an increase in local crime by at least ten percent within five years or less after the establishment of a casino, including an increase in prostitution;
- local job loss because local citizens change their spending habits,
- an increase in bankruptcies, and
- an increase in child neglect and domestic violence; and
WHEREAS, all tax payers, including non-gamblers, end up paying higher taxes for these publicly borne social costs; and
WHEREAS, the proposed establishment of the gambling industry in Georgia violates free- market principles by instituting a politically protected industry that will drain customers from legitimate businesses not similarly protected; and
WHEREAS, once the gambling industry is allowed to operate legally in the state, its lobbying power will grow and increase its influence over legislators and local community officials; and
WHEREAS, once the State of Georgia allows Class III gambling, this would open the door for any Indian tribe to “venue shop” for property to open casinos on land that would be taken out of the governance of the State and off the local tax digest; and
WHEREAS, the State should not have a vested interest in predatory activities such as gambling for the sake of filling State coffers at the expense of ruined lives and broken families;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, We, the delegates of Georgia Republican Convention, urge the members of the Georgia Legislature to cease and desist with any efforts to open the State of Georgia to casino and horse racing;”
Bam! This resolution hits all the reasons why gambling is destructive and why casino gambling should be kept out of a state if at all possible and definitely should not be expanded in states where it already exists.
As you know, casinos are alive and well in Wisconsin. No one in our state is over a two-hour drive to one of the more than 20 casinos located within our borders, complete with all the problems so clearly delineated in the Georgia resolution.
But those very real problems don’t stop the tribes from pushing for more casinos or working to expand existing ones. Just recently we learned the Trump administration will likely approve the proposed Ho Chunk casino in Beloit within the next year. Once that federal approval happens, then the entire issue falls on Republican Governor Scott Walker to say yes, this first-ever off-reservation casino can happen; or no, we won’t be expanding casino gambling in The Badger State.
When the Kenosha casino issue fell to Republican Governor Walker a few years ago, he eventually said no but it was a tortuous route to get to that point—for him and for those who were urging him to say no. Imagine how much easier the Republican Governor’s decision would be on the Beloit proposal if the state Republican Party would follow the most excellent example of the Georgia GOP and publically declare why casinos aren’t a good bet for Wisconsin. It shouldn’t be too much to hope for, but I definitely won’t be placing any bets on the matter.
For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”