CAP Opposes Racetracks’ Bailout Campaign

Despite state legislators giving a resounding NO to gambling expansion during the regular session, proponents of expanded gambling have launched a new and more aggressive (and expensive!) public relations campaign to try to convince legislators, the Governor, and the public that casino-style gambling should be allowed off-reservation at racetracks. Because their revenues are down, the racetracks are asking the Legislature to bail them out with a proposal that would “help any racetrack in the country stay in business.” Gambling proponents promise a quick, easy way for the state to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars – but there’s much of the story they’re not telling.
 
First, allowing off-reservation gambling will trigger the “poison pill” of the gambling compacts the state has with the tribes, which means the current limits on the number of casinos and games on Indian reservations will be blown open. Arizona could look like the next Las Vegas with very few real limits on casino gambling. Already we see signs that other entertainment establishments will press for casino-style gambling if the caps are off and the tracks get casinos.
 
Second, gambling revenues nationally are spiraling downward, yet the racetracks allege they could produce $500 million and up in state revenue if legislators only would let them have slot machines and table games. Gambling is not recession proof! Lotteries and commercial gambling are declining, with casino owners filing for bankruptcy or selling casinos. People needing jobs don’t have discretionary income to waste on gambling.
 
Next, studies repeatedly show that gambling’s economic and social effects are negative, not positive. Gambling leads to increased rates of crime, divorce, domestic violence, and a host of other social ills!  Professor John Kindt of the University of Illinois estimates that for every $1 in gambling revenue, the state must spend an additional $3 in social services and law enforcement.
 
Lastly, don’t be fooled! Gambling expansion is not inevitable. In fact, the national trends show a decrease in gambling revenue, a decrease in popularity, and a decrease in gambling expansion.
 
Desperate state budget woes do not call for desperate action based on questionable promises of increased gambling revenue. In the CAP 2008 Voter’s Guide, fifteen senators and thirty-five representatives stated they would oppose allowing slots and table games off reservations. We have every expectation these members will keep their word and defeat any gambling expansion proposals. Additionally, while running for Secretary of State, Gov. Brewer answered a similar survey question in our 2006 Voter’s Guide stating that she opposed allowing slots and table games off reservations. We are continuing to work to ensure that those commitments to you, the voters, are kept and that gambling expansion is not included in any budget agreement. For more information on gambling, visit our resource page Gambling Expansion in Arizona.


Comments

  1. I see Jay Heiler has a quarter page of ink in today’s Republic about why ‘Racinos’ are a good thing – again, proving that lobbyists drive public policy in this state.

  2. Of course, if you don’t gamble or buy lottery tickets, you don’t contribute to the ‘taxation by voluntary means’ philosophy – which is why I only pay what I am required and don’t voluntarily part with my money in this manner.

  3. New Handle says

    Of course lobbyists (including Cathi Herrod) drive public policy. No one else knows how to.

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