If you wanted to eat fewer candy bars, you wouldn’t just “hide” them from yourself in a different drawer.
If you wanted to lower you gas bill, you wouldn’t drive to Oregon for lower pump prices.
The point is that if you want to create a change, you have to take action that will accomplish your goal. There has to be a cause-effect relationship between the action you take and the result you want to achieve. It’s pretty simple.
Yet it’s a point the Save Lakewood group doesn’t seem to understand. The so-called “solution” to the negative effects of gambling that they propose in their gambling initiative ‚Äì they want to ban casinos in Lakewood in order to eliminate problems habitual Lakewood gamblers get themselves into ‚Äì won’t stop Lakewood gamblers from betting and losing money.
If the initiative passes and our four casinos close, these problem gamblers will just drive a few minutes out of Lakewood ‚Äì in just about any direction ‚Äì and lose at another casino. Casinos are everywhere, both Indian and non-tribal, and gamblers will find them ‚Äì especially the gambling addicts who are most likely to get into trouble. Other forms of gambling, such as Lotto, punch boards, and internet sites can grab problem gamblers, too, if they’re disposed to compulsion.
87% of gamblers at one Lakewood casino don’t live in Lakewood anyway. It proves gamblers are already very mobile.
Nobody claims that gambling’s big losers can’t cause negative social effects such as bankruptcies, divorces, foreclosures, etc. But moving the candy bars to a different drawer won’t stop a chocolate-holic from finding and eating them.
And remember, it’s just a tiny few who get hooked beyond control. The vast majority of casino-goers ‚Äì among thousands you can see any night – are just enjoying themselves and are in control.
So either way you vote on the initiative in November, yes or no, the negative social effects of gambling will not go away in Lakewood.
What will change if the initiative is approved is that four legal Lakewood businesses will close forever and their 600 jobs will go away with them. These law-abiding, state- regulated casinos have invested tens of millions of dollars in their buildings, furnishings and employees. It is wrong for government to take their property rights away from them, even at the request of voters.
If Lakewood government can force them to forfeit their investments and to close, couldn’t it do the same to your employer? Your job could be next, especially if you happen to work for or own a legal business that produces negative social effects, such as any that sell alcohol, tobacco, fat-filled food, etc.
We are blessed in America to have freedom of choice, and government should not take that away from us despite the fact that some people make bad decisions.
This last idea, that property rights are guaranteed in our constitution, is the reason the city council has repeatedly refused to ban casinos over the years. The idea that the Lakewood city council keeps casinos because it is addicted to gambling tax revenue is garbage. Rubbish! I’ve never heard a councilman in my seven years on the council say that we can’t afford to ban casinos. Instead, council members have repeatedly said they recognize their right to exist under state and city laws, and that they appreciate that they’ve been good corporate citizens that rarely call for police response (the four casinos combined had fewer calls for police assistance than Safeway).
Yes, banning casinos will force the council to pare expenses to equal the $2.8 million it will lose in gambling tax revenue. It won’t be a fun thing to do, but we’ve already started planning for that just in case the initiative passes. We’re prioritizing services and will cut the lowest priority services. City services will only have to be trimmed about 7%. That’s not catastrophic. The city will be fine if it happens. So money is not the object.
For the life of me, I can’t think of a good reason to vote yes on closing Lakewood casinos.
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