Monday, January 12, 2009

New slots bill a "bailout for millionaires"

LEXINGTON--A state anti-casino group announced its plans today to oppose House Bill 158, which would place computerized slot machines at the state's horse tracks. The proposed law, said, Martin Cothran, is both good news and bad news: "The bad news is, if it works, it would give money to wealthy people by taking it from not-so-wealthy people," said Martin Cothran. "The good news is it won't work."

"This bill is an economic bailout for millionaires," said Cothran. "But even so, with the gambling industry hit hard by the economic downturn, there is no way it can raise the amount of money its supporters claim it will--either for millionaires or state government."

Cothran, the new spokesman for Say No Casinos, said his group will highlight several things about the bill:

  • That it is a bailout for millionaires because it uses a form of gambling that attracts low-end gamblers and provides subsidies for high-end horse farmers
  • That it can't produce the revenue it promises because of a down economy that has affected the gambling industry worse than many other industries
  • This it is a retreat from the promise by gambling proponents to "Let the people decide," since, unlike previous attempts to expand gambling, it will only be voted on by lawmakers
The bill sponsor has said the money is to be used in part to bail out the horse industry. "Basically this would result in a transfer of wealth from those in lower income brackets to those in higher income brackets. We certainly support the horse industry, but we're having trouble figuring out why people who drop millions of dollars at horse auctions without batting an eyelash need a bailout."

The gambling industry itself has fallen on hard times and that many casinos are even having to fold. "The gambling industry has been hit harder than most businesses. To say that gambling is somehow going to yield up hundreds of millions of dollars in this economy is just not realistic."

Cothran added that many Kentuckians will be disappointed when they realize that all of the talk during last year's campaign for casinos about "letting the people decide" on the measure was for naught. "With the Millionaire's Bailout, the people will be taking a back seat to the high priced lobbyists."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lemmee see if I'm getting this:

Gambling is but another industry, a private commercial entertainment concern. Martin, you're saying that the freely-chosen activities of the customers/consumers in this case amounts to a "bailout" of the gambling moguls.

I guess with every car we all buy, we're bailing out the obscenely wealthy auto executives. With every cart full of groceries we buy, we're bailing out obscenely wealthy executives. With every tank of gas we buy, we're bailing out obscenely wealthy executives.

Etc., etc., etc.

You haven't really thought your tirade through, have you, Martin?