Daily Archives: March 13, 2008

national problem gambling awareness week – fact of the day

From the National Council on Problem Gambling:

Survey of 144 spouses of compulsive gamblers found 50% were physically and verbally abused by spouse and 12% had attempted suicide.

(Bland, Newman, Orn & Stebelski, 1993)

KY Gov. Beshear “fixing the deck” on gambling legislation

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and supporters seem so motivated to expand gambling in KY by allowing casinos that they seem willing to do what ever it takes.  His goal is to get a constitutional amendment passed through the legislature to be voted on by the people.  The language of the proposed bill has varied but the idea has been the same; use casino gambling as the way to fix budget problems in KY.

The first step in the process is to get a committee to view the legislation and vote whether or not to send it to the house floor for debate by all the representatives.  The Associated Press reported that Bushear’s bill came up before the Committee on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs but failed on a 5-3 vote.  Gov Bushear released a response telling legislators to, “to get their act together quickly,” and that, “only with their unified support will this amendment stand a chance of passage.”

Such reactions are very typical in the course of  politics but what happened next was anything but typical.  As the AP explains:

Reacting to Beshear’s call for action, the House Committee on Committees appointed two additional Democratic lawmakers – state Reps. John Will Stacy of West Liberty and Tim Firkins of Louisville – to the committee considering the casino bill.

The Committee on Committees also removed another lawmaker, state Rep. Dottie Sims, D-Horse Cave, from the casino committee.  House Speaker Jody Richards recommended the moves.

Newsfirst Channel 27 out of Ky reported that Rep Sims had originally supported the idea of 9 casinos but she changed her vote when the bill did not guarantee that a certain number of those casinos would be at horse tracks.  The House Speaker Richards attempted to justify the blatant attempt to corrupt the voting process by saying that Sims was removed because she changed her mind explaining that, “here in Frankfort, your word is your bond.”

The very next day a similar bill came up in the committee with the new members and this time passed 7-2.  I can honestly say such a political move leaves me in complete disbelief.  The idea that a legislator cant change their mind on an issue, especially when there was a clear reason why she failed to support the current version of the bill, combined with the idea that if you don’t like the vote just change the committee member until you get the desired vote, is beyond me.

This example proves just how corruptive the gambling industry’s influence can be.  Make no mistake about it, Casino’s predatory nature destroys the proper role of government.