Daily Archives: February 25, 2008

bill to remove loss limit moves through senate committee

This afternoon with just enough Senators present for a quorum, the Senate Ways and Means Committee chaired by Sen. Carl Vogel, passed SB 1052 which removes the loss limit.

Even though a hearing on the bill which took place last week provided testimony citing the Missouri Gaming Commission’s recently released statewide market study showing that, “A clear majority of survey respondents favor the Missouri Loss Limit.” Members of the committee seemed to have been persuaded by the anecdotal evidence and personal stories of the main sponsor Sen. Scott Rupp more than statistics showing that over 60% of Missourians are in favor of the loss limit versus an approximate 25% who are opposed to the loss limit.

This decision seems curious in light of the casino industry filing of an ballot initiative with the Secretary of State that would essentially accomplish the same goals as SB 1052. With no public outcry for the removal of the loss limit and no evidence to suggest that the legislature needs to act immediately, the motivations behind this bill being forced through the Missouri General Assembly are not quite clear. Many Senators in the past have questioned why the loosening of regulations over the casino industry have not been approved by a vote of the people. Now as the legislature once again deals with the issue of loss limit removal (the only remnant of the original deal used to convince Missourians to legalize gambling in the state) many are left wondering why this issue isn’t simply left to the people to decide. It must be that the gambling special interests and their legislative supporters really know the true feelings of Missourians. Maybe they did listen to the factual evidence provided during last week’s hearing after all.

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More Women Gambling

From Family News in Focus by Steve Jordahl:

Gambling is on the rise in all segments of society, but experts are seeing an increase in the number of women who are becoming addicted.

In Arizona, more than half of the calls to gambling help lines are from women, up from just 20 percent two decades ago. Don Hulen of the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling says the majority meets what he calls the ‘escape’ gambler profile.

“(They) didn’t start gambling till later in life, gambled primarily at what we call luck games, that being machines, were quiet, reserved, caring, giving.”

In the push towards equality, women have not found a way to shed some of the more destructive traits of power and independence. Valerie Lorenz of the Forensic Center on Compulsive Gambling.

“Women in the past would not have access to money that they could just spend readily or they wouldn’t be able to go to a gambling site. But now you can go to a grocery story or to an airport and buy lottery tickets or whatever.”

With the help of sophisticated marketing research, Lorenz says the gambling industry is ensnaring women.

“Women are more attracted to certain symbols, they might even have romantic types of themes on the slot machines.”

And she says women are taking the bait.

“Of addicted gamblers 20 years ago, about 10 percent would be women. Now it’s 50/50 and we’re seeing large increases on the women’s side.”