March 16, 2009

Open for Business

I heard on the radio that traffic on I-74 was backed up for twelve miles trying to get to the new Casino in Shelbyville.  Discussion ranged on this from "Is the recession really all that bad in Indiana if that many people can go blow bucks at a gambling resort?" to "Is casino gambling really the direction Indiana should be going?"

I went to an Indian Casino in Wisconsin a few years ago... walked in with $50 and left with nothing.  A lot folks have had the same results with their 401k pensions over the last year -- pumping 5 or 10 or 15 percent of their salaries into the stock slots and walking away with little, or nothing, or less than they started with.  Gambling isn't for me, but I don't begrudge others their fun, especially since the money they throw away lessens my tax burden.

There are reasons for gambling having been banned in Indiana for so long.  For example:

Gambling in the 1930s and 1940s was instrumental in Jeffersonville's recovery from the Great Depression and the Flood of 1937. Casinos, betting parlors, night clubs, and even a dog track were present, giving the town the nickname "Little Las Vegas". After a New Albany businessman was gunned down, public sentiment turned against gambling. On January 2, 1948, Indiana State Police raided every casino in the city before the operators could warn each other, and the judge who had devoted the past nine years in eliminating gambling from Jeffersonville, James L. Bottorff, made sure that the equipment was confiscated and the money at the casinos given to charity.

What goes around, comes around.  Perhaps this easy money helps us now, but eventually enough people will be hurt in all manner of various ways that gambling hurts people and it will go the other way again.

Why?  Well, politicians change things for the same reason kids touch things in the supermarket.

No comments: