Governor Steve Beshear has adopted the false claim of the Kentucky Equine Education Project by suggesting that slot machines can raise $500 million for state government. The Governor can offer no credible and objective support whatsoever for this fantasy figure. Major media in the state repeats his fantasy claim every time he makes it, and they don’t press him to offer substantiation of it.
The Governor is also offering a doomsday scenario regarding the state budget. He says that the budget situation is dire because of a trend in recent years of government spending more than it takes in. His solution is apparently a combination of what he calls “tightening our belt” and casinos. Yes, that’s right kids, if you get in over your heads financially, then all you have to do is gamble your way out of it. And if you don’t want to gamble, just create a highly addictive source of gambling and lower income people will do it for you. Problem solved, huh?
Even if it was based in reality, the Governor’s $500 million would have to come from somewhere, because casinos sure don’t print it new. And it would obviously come from Kentuckians in the form of a new tax on the predominantly middle and lower income people who are documented to be the primary players of gambling machines. Using the KEEP proposal, Kentuckians would have to lose more than $1.4 BILLION so that state government can get $500 million. And that would mean that we would be sending almost $1 BILLION every year out of state to the corporations that own the casinos.
Will Governor Beshear be a slots player? Will he encourage his family to play them? Will he encourage his children and grandchildren to aspire to be slot machine players or casino employees? Will the Governor suggest placing a slot machine at his Iroquois Hunt Club? Does the Governor truly believe that introducing another insidious addiction to a state full of addictions will helps us make progress as a Commonwealth?
A government of, by and for the people should prosper when its people prosper. Governor Beshear wants to fund state government by making losers of our people. Does the Governor truly believe that Kentucky can make progress and raise ourselves out of the bottom rankings of every quality of life index by taking money from the poor and giving it to the super rich? Does the Governor really want to teach our children that they can gamble their way out of poverty and into a better life? That it’s okay to build a business that’s predatory in nature and thrives on addiction, as long as it pays off the government?
Dr. Earl Grinols, a highly regarded economist at Baylor University, has demonstrated that gambling costs citizens more than tax increases, even for those citizens who NEVER gamble. Every compulsive gambler costs the economy between $14,000 and $22,000 per year, revenue that will come from Kentucky families and businesses. Every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth will contribute $280 - $440 per year, whether they gamble or not, to the “casino tax revenue.” Slots players have been shown to develop gambling addictions at three times the rate of table game players and horse race players.Share on: