Daily Archives: May 9, 2008

The laughable idea of a casino spending $8 million in an effort to “help schools”

Despite the fact that efforts to remove the loss limit have failed since its passage, the casinos keep trying to find new ways to expand gambling. We previously reported that the coalition of casinos was confident that they submitted enough signatures to place an initiative to remove Missouri’s $500 loss limit on the general election ballot in November. The St Louis Post Disptch is reporting that Pinnacle alone plans to spend $8 million on the petition. They hope the public will buy into the idea that this issue is about the helping the schools. The Kansas City Business Journal explained:

Hundreds of educators from throughout the state, businesspeople and concerned Missouri residents support the Schools First initiative, spokeswoman Anne Marie Moy said.

However, the Kansas City Business Journal explained just how much of a red herring this argument really is:

“The title is very suggestive of how deceptive they can be,” said Joseph Day, research director for CasiNO Watch Inc., based in Chesterfield, Mo. “It should be called Yes for Casinos. They know the only way they can get it done is by offering money to schools.”

An April 15 report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission lists the campaign contributors as Ameristar ($835,700), which has a Kansas City casino, and Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. ($592,000), which has a St. Louis casino and two others proposed for St. Louis County and Wyandotte County in Kansas.

“If this initiative was actually supported by schools, it would be funded by schools,” [Day] said. “It’s not fair to hold hostage students and their funding to gambling dollars.”

The truth of the mater is the casinos believe that a potential expansion in Kansas could lower their profits and they are looking for any way to expand gambling to secure their piece of the pie. Unfortunately for the casinos, removal of the loss limit wont bring those gamblers who will choose to go to Kansas back to Missouri because there are alternative reasons why gamblers choose one casino over another. The Missouri Gaming Commission’s own Market Survey explained those qualities and the least important factor was the loss limit. More importantly, the top factors are access time and distance of a casino, the quantity of slot machines and the quality of bars and restaurants.

Don’t think that removing the loss limit will make those gamblers come back to Missouri because if they leave in the first place, it will be for reasons other that the loss limits. And don’t think this issue is about helping the schools because that is simply laughable.

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