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As Long as We Remember...

September 10, 2012

Gambling Too Risky: Vote NO

Jill King

Question 7 on the November referendums ballot, which deals with the last Special Session in Annapolis and gaming – specifically another casino – should be a no-hitter, when voting this session. Even the last minute additions should not persuade anyone to vote yes on it.


Studies have shown that the ill effects of gambling outweigh the positive money source that the state is dependent upon to fill a revenue shortfall.


The Democrat legislators claim that it is for the children, and that it will help fund the schools, is a far cry from the truth.


This will not bring any viable resources to Maryland, nor will it provide the job growth needed in Prince George’s County to solve its crisis.


A 75-page report entitled, Update of the Legislators' Guide to Video Lottery Terminal Gambling, created in 2008 and provided by Senate President Thomas V. ‘Mike’ Miller, Jr. (D., Calvert-Prince George’s), and Speaker of the House of Delegate Michael E. Busch (D., Anne Arundel), provided an in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of gaming in Maryland.


Senator Miller will remain unscathed by the effects of this. Why didn't he push for its construction in Calvert, where the median income is $20,000 higher? Speaker Busch will see no ill effects either. Why not Anne Arundel County?


Both of these legislators were sponsors of the bill that will be up for public vote.


The following will illustrate what problems society will endure if this measure is approved by the voters on November 6. The costs to Maryland, as well as the host county, will be of greater impact.


Chapter 7, of the above publication is appropriate in looking at the problems it will cause in an area such as Prince George’s County, and what costs the state, county, and society could see.


This fact sheet includes concludes that chronic gambling can result in child abuse, family monetary hardships, and absence while "chasing" or "preoccupied," with gambling.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, fourth version (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association documents that gambling problems can be sectioned into two groups, at risk and problem gamblers. The categories and definitions follow:


·        Preoccupation: Is preoccupied with gambling;


·        Tolerance: Needs to gamble in increasing amounts to achieve satisfaction;


·         Withdrawal: Is irritable or restless when attempting to cut down or stop gambling;


·        Escape: Gambles to escape problems;


·        Chasing: Returns often to get even after losing money gambling;


·        Lying: Lies to family members about extent of gambling;


·        Loss of Control: Makes repeated unsuccessful attempts to control gambling;


·        Illegal Acts: Commits illegal acts to finance gambling;


·        Risked Relationships: Jeopardizes job, significant relationship or educational or career opportunities as a result of gambling; and


·        Bailout: Relies on others to provide money as a result of gambling.


"Low-risk gamblers report no criteria. At-risk gamblers have one or two criteria while problem gamblers have three or four criteria. The DSM-IV criteria characterize pathological gambling as a “persistent and recurrent maladaptive gambling behavior that disrupts personal, family, or vocational pursuits” as evidenced by reporting five or more criteria."


Reports also show that gambling is prevalent in minority men and those with low educational achievement and low income levels. This would be a great reason for the push to put one in Prince George’s County; right?


Looking at the demographics of Prince George’s County, we find that in the 2010 Census, there was a population of 863,420, approximately 601,000 of them are adults.


Their minority population consists of 65.4%, or approximately 564,600 blacks; 15.2% or approximately 131,200 of Hispanic or Latino origin; 4.3%, or approximately 37,100 Asians; and other minority groups with lower percentages. The white population is 26.6%, or approximately 229,600.


Reports in 2011 have shown that Prince George’s County holds a firm 7.5% poverty rate, with the requests for food stamps on the rise. Prince George’s County also neighbors a more poverty stricken area of Washington.


Education levels for Prince George’s County shows that 86.5% have graduated from high school, while only 29.6 % have a Bachelor’s degree.


Prince George’s County is also home to over 600,000 veterans. It is common for veterans to suffer from mental illness, which is soothed by addiction problems.


Through these calculations, the risk of addiction could be at an all time high and promote more need for one of the poorest counties in Maryland, which does not promote public good.


In government, it is a job for the state and local governments to create legislation that will promote easier paths for success. In this case, only a spiraling-down effect of more poverty, more crime, and more broken families is likely to occur.


There will be more costs to Maryland residents, including a need for more police, more medical care for addiction, and resources for homelessness and/or child neglect or abuse.


If there wasn't such a rush to pass this through in the Special Session, maybe the facts about the bad and ugly could have precluded it. Once again, Democrat legislators have no regard for those they represent. The appearance of creating solutions has a long checkered past.


The Republican legislators are constantly accused of not caring for the minority communities. They were correct in voting against this bill and putting people first.


Addiction is a huge issue among those with mental disorders, veterans, those in poverty, or those in communities with poor demographics. Prince George’s County is central in all these categories.


The two Mike's were wrong to think that the public was ignorant to what the ill effects are of gambling. The cause and effect on putting this in the poorest region of the state will cause more – not less – need.


Again, if we as Marylander care, the answer for Question #7 when you vote this November is NO!


Retraining my brain for the future, conferring with my past...


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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