During the campaign against Proposition A Representative Ray Salva took a very aggressive stand against the casino industry and Proposition A. In the beginning, it was clear that Rep Salva was looking to stop Proposition A because it would stop a casino from being build in his communities; a casino he not only supported, but believed his constituents were entitled to.
Over the course of the campaign, Rep Salva tried to make it very clear that his opposition was not because of the casino. He said publicly many times that the casino deal was over, and that now he wanted to protect Missouri from the casino industry. It was clear during the campaign that he was looking to make the casinos lose, but was he sincere in wanting to protect the people of Missouri?
With the introduction of HB 566 into the Missouri Assembly, we may have an answer. As reported by Casino Watch Focus, Rep. Salva has proposed a bill that would establish mini-casinos all over the state. At first glance, the intention of the bill may seem to help those of Missouri. The intent is to keep all the profits of charitable gaming in Missouri, but the reality is much worse. This bill would expand gambling to the entire state and bring gambling addiction and tragedy to our communities. So why would a Representative who claims to be looking out for the people sponsor such legislation?
Only Rep. Salva truly knows the answer to that question but it appears its because he thinks is will hurt the casinos. Rick Alm of the Kansas City Star reported that the casinos are opposed to the measure:
Troy Stremming, an executive with Ameristar Kansas City Casino and Hotel and a lobbyist for the Missouri Gaming Association, said the casino industry does not favor the measure but also said it hadn’t paid much attention to it. “I’m surprised it’s gaining momentum,” said Stremming.
“From a competitive standpoint I’m not worried about a couple of machines in an American Legion hall,” he added. “But you’re talking about spreading hundreds if not thousands of machines around the state…without regulation” by the state on the premises like casinos must have.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said…. Auditors cautioned that sponsoring organizations’ own members might also be attracted away from heavily taxed riverboat casinos, putting downward pressure on those tax collections as well.
Perhaps Rep. Salva thinks this bill will help local charities, or perhaps he thinks it’s a way to bring a mini-casino to his constituents, or maybe its simply a way to get revenge on the casinos by expanding gambling throughout the state and by removing profits from the big casinos. The motivation behind the bill can only be known to its author. The sad reality is that no matter how you look at this bill, the people and families of Missouri lose. While politicians play their games, real people with real gambling addictions will be devastated. Please take a stand on HB566. We are no longer talking about isolated gambling acts on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. We are talking about mini-casinos in your back yard. Please take action and contact your local Senators and Representatives and warn them of the dangers of HB566!!!