Tuesday, October 12, 2004


One of the outrageous claims made by the pro-gambling forces who want to foist casinos and nearly 5,000 slot machines onto Nebraska is that the vast mountains of money gambling amasses will ‘’help our schools.’’

Suuuuuuuuuuure it will.


Imagine each dollar wagered as a pile of 100 pennies. Now, something like 90 of those pennies will be returned to the people who are duped into thinking that, somehow, if they bet money, they’ll wind up with more. Ain’t-a gonna happen; that’s programmed into the deal. The house always wins.

But anyway, of the 10 remaining pennies, several will have to go for local operating expenses, and then there’s the profits, which of course will NOT stay here in Nebraska, but will flow back to the Nevada-based casino owners.

That will leave maybe a penny on the dollar for state officials. And after they take their “cut,’’ and then divvy up the minuscule amount that’s left for various good causes, then maybe, if we’re lucky, one-fourth of one cent per dollar wagered will wind up ‘’helping our schools.’’

As if more money is what they need, anyway. According to a report on school budgets compiled for State Sen. Ron Raikes by the State Auditor’s Office earlier this year, and duly reported on Go Big Ed, the total adopted budget requirements per student in Nebraska for the 2003-04 school year was $13,843.66.

If they can’t get K-12 education done for that, then do we really believe that another quarter-cent per dollar wagered in a sea of irritatingly noisy, nasty, destructive slot machines in bars, restaurants and casinos from Nebraska’s east coast to west is going to make a particle of difference?

Come on, now. Let’s go to school on this. Give yourself an ‘’F’’ for “Foolish’’ if you still buy that hype, that gambling helps schools.

Besides, according to the professionals in gambling addictions counseling and recovery, the average cost per year to taxpayers of just one addicted gambler is between $14,006 and $22,077, and that’s above and beyond his or her gambling losses.

That’s in unemployment compensation, bad debts, theft, civil court procedure costs, criminal justice costs, welfare, treatment . . . all kinds of new costs that wouldn’t have been ours to bear, most likely, if not for legalized, addictive gambling.

(Source: economics professor Earl Grinols, University of Illinois, December 2001 report, quoted in ‘’Gambling: 2004 Nebraska ballot,’’ by Chad Hills, posted online last week at www.family.org/cforum/fosi/gambling/gitus/a0034036.cfm)

Now, just think about the home life that a child would have, in a household with that kind of stuff going on. What kind of a learning environment would that be? How on earth could it “help our schools’’ to put a bunch of kids through that hell?

You’d have to be crazy to support gambling now, realizing that it will burden us with all those additional, negative, unnecessary social costs, and make things so hard for a lot of kids to succeed in school. Meanwhile, when we’re paying those additional expenses and trying to help those kids, try to find more money for schools THEN.

THAT’S how to ‘’help our schools.’’ Don’t allow expanded gambling in Nebraska in the first place.

Vote casiNO on Nov. 2.

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