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We must learn about the harm of gambling

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Why is it that some seem blind to the facts regarding the economics, the morality and the actual lack of benefit, indeed detriment, to society and its citizens when proposing the expansion of gambling via erecting state-run casinos?

Are they really blind or do they see and just don’t care? In the case of legislators who are for changing the two amendments of the state constitution to open the way for the governor’s proposal to build state-run casinos, it is downright irresponsible.

Legislators are elected to defend and protect the citizens they represent. They are not elected to prey upon those citizens who are most vulnerable, the poor and the addicted.

It does not go unnoticed that 50 percent or more of casino profits come from the 4 percent of the adult population who are pathological problem gamblers. When considering the amendment, another figure that should be considered is that for every pathological gambler, it is estimated that he or she negatively affects at least 10 other people.

The enabling language in SO5883 is laden with flaws of omission such as there is no limit on campaign contributions. From 2005 through June 2012, gambling and horse racing interests spent nearly $50 million in political money to New York State, more than $40 million on lobbing and roughly $7.1 million in campaign contributions.

Then there are flaws of commission like the poison pill in Section 32a-3, which allows for a huge expansion of lottery VLTs if the admendment loses. The New York Post has written that “it would seem not to matter whether the amendment passes or fails.” This should make voters very angry as some of their legislators are aiding and abetting this sham that is being foisted upon us.

There is no reason for anyone of us to be uninformed about the facts regarding the poor economics of building our state economy on the quicksand of expanding the already too many opportunities for citizens to destroy themselves, their loved ones and, yes, our economy. Every dollar that goes for gambling activity is not going into our economy through the purchase of homes, cars and other consumer goods.

The research is vast that says that we cannot gamble our way out of fiscal woes and that when hidden quantifiable socioeconomic costs are factored in, society is inconspicuously drained of $2 for every $1 brought in by tax by casino. All we have to do is become informed citizens through reading the research that is available.

Charlotte Nindl Wellins

Wellesley Island

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