Gamblin': Aye or Nay

Please limit discussion in this area to local and state politics.

How will you vote on the casino referendum?

Poll ended at Mon Jan 12, 2004 2:02 pm

Yes, allow the casino
17
63%
No, don't allow the casino
10
37%
 
Total votes: 27

atwoodian
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Postby atwoodian » Thu Jan 22, 2004 10:07 am

Am I correct to assume that just about everyone on this forum doesn't believe the contract clause(s) which allow the casino to create several show venues which they can prop up with gamblers' dollars will cause any businesses like the Barrymore to fold up? If they offer bands a cheaper, newer place to play with a better return and lots of parking, most of 'em won't take it?

I don't have any problems with gambling. Let 'em go, they're all adults. I think maybe the Natives might someday wonder if they're doing themselves more harm than good, but that's not my business. I just don't want 'em to yank the business away from places like the Barrymore. Change the contract so they can't do that, and it's got my vote. But if none of you think it's going to wipe out my favorite theatre, then maybe I'm worried for nothing.

Am I?

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Postby ShaneDog » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:01 am

I think you brought up a good question but I'm not really worried about that for a few reasons. The location of DeJope or whatever it's called now, is not ideal. Yes, there is more parking, but the Barrymore and most of the other music venues in the city are close to where the people who go see concerts there live. Also I believe there is some sort of provision that they can't compete with the Monona Terrace and I don't see why this couldn't be construed to also include the Overture Center, Barrymore, et all.

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Postby gnarly buttons » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:26 am

ShaneDog wrote:As far as tobacco and alcohol go, we should be taxing the companies that sell the product to cover the social costs. People who smoke should be offered free treatment (to help them quit) at any time, to be paid for by the tobacco companies. People who continue to smoke should be required to get some sort of supplemental health insurance so that they bear the true costs of their habit. Therefore, I am being consistent. I'm not morally opposed to casino gambling, prostitution, tobacco use, alcohol, as long as the people responsible for vending and using the product are paying for the social costs of their use. What's inconsistent about that?


Your intellectual myopia and dishonesty is staggering.
So you are going full guns against the casino because gambling contributes in some small and, as yet, poorly-quantifiable way, to "social costs." And, of course, you haven't deducted from these "social costs" the "social gains" in tax relief by
1) annual payments to city and county
2) state and local money saved that would otherwise go for a large array of social services to low-income Native Americans.

And, you give a passing nod to the huge and well-quantified social costs of alcohol and tobacco consumption by merely saying something like:"someone should do something about all that."
Not you, of course, you're going after the brown-skinned folks who are trying to lift themselves up the economic ladder.

And furthermore: Your answer to the alcohol and tobacco social costs is to increase taxes on the producers. However, your answer to the gambling issue is to SHUT 'EM DOWN!
Hmmmm ... maybe it's just me, but I think I detect a double standard here.

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Postby atwoodian » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:31 am

ShaneDog wrote:I think you brought up a good question but I'm not really worried about that for a few reasons. The location of DeJope or whatever it's called now, is not ideal. Yes, there is more parking, but the Barrymore and most of the other music venues in the city are close to where the people who go see concerts there live. Also I believe there is some sort of provision that they can't compete with the Monona Terrace and I don't see why this couldn't be construed to also include the Overture Center, Barrymore, et all.


Yes, they can't compete with Overture but the restriction is on size. If I recall correctly, they can add up to six theatres approximately the size of the Barrymore and there's no restriction on ticket prices or payment to players.

I don't think it'll be the location that pulls people in, I think it'll be cost. They'll be able to pay the performers more and charge less for tickets. They say they're not gonna do that but there's nothing in the contract that says they can't change their minds next year. That's what worries me.

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Postby ShaneDog » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:43 am

Your intellectual myopia and dishonesty is staggering.
So you are going full guns against the casino because gambling contributes in some small and, as yet, poorly-quantifiable way, to "social costs." And, of course, you haven't deducted from these "social costs" the "social gains" in tax relief by
1) annual payments to city and county
2) state and local money saved that would otherwise go for a large array of social services to low-income Native Americans.

I did the math (social costs - social gains) in the other thread on this topic but I can post it again if you want. Using the most conservative figures (the 1% of population is in the problem gamblers category - from the pro-casino crowd), and the peer-reviewed social cost research $15,000 a year per problem gambler there is no way the payments to the city and county and any money saved on social services even come close to covering the social costs generated by a casino.

And, you give a passing nod to the huge and well-quantified social costs of alcohol and tobacco consumption by merely saying something like:"someone should do something about all that."
Not you, of course, you're going after the brown-skinned folks who are trying to lift themselves up the economic ladder.

I'm just saying we should strive for rational public policy. I didn't say "someone should do something about that" to the problem that we have with externalizing the social costs of alcohol and tobacco consumption. I'm as strongly against them as I am the casino so what is intellectually dishonest about that. It doesn't make sense to say that because certain parts of our law are irrational (allowing the tobacco industry to externalize its social costs) that we have to allow other industries to behave that way "just to be consistent".

It seems like a lot of people want to use the gambling industry as a proxy for reparations. Instead of developing a huge and costly gambling industry, why don't we just give the Native people money. It would save a ton of money in the long run without incurring the huge social costs that gambling causes. Also, the social costs of gambling are disproportionally harmful to poor and less educated people and I don't think that hurting one group of people to help another is the way to go about it. Again, if we want to help Native peoples we should be giving them money. That makes way more sense then letting them open up casinos.

And furthermore: Your answer to the alcohol and tobacco social costs is to increase taxes on the producers. However, your answer to the gambling issue is to SHUT 'EM DOWN!
Hmmmm ... maybe it's just me, but I think I detect a double standard here.

No, you are totally misrepresentig my argument. I'm not opposed to the casino, as long as they are required to pay for the social costs caused by the casino just like I'm not against the alcohol and tobacco industries as long as they pay for their social costs. Again, alcohol, tobacco, and the DeJobe should be legal and allowed, as long as the people who stand to profit from it pay the social costs caused by selling their product/service.

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Postby Harbinger » Thu Jan 22, 2004 2:43 pm

I'm not opposed to the casino, as long as they are required to pay for the social costs caused by the casino just like I'm not against the alcohol and tobacco industries as long as they pay for their social costs.


The tribe's are already covering way more of their costs than the bars are or ever will in the forseable future. I believe you and others who say this unrealistic symetry is your goal, and maybe we're going in circles now, but the adoption of "incredibly huge all-social-cost-compensating fees for alcohol, cigarettes, cars and all other problematic services" has never happened and is never going to happen. This argument is limited to pure theory. In terms of immediate decision-making, we must leave out the possibility of Wisconsin becoming a utopia next week, meaning all that's left to that argument is the natives get no casino and indefinite waiting.

It seems like a lot of people want to use the gambling industry as a proxy for reparations.


What does that mean?

Let's say you come into my house, shoot me in the stomach, grab me and my kids, and throw us into the cold. You keep my house and belongings.

A year later I come to your door crippled and starving. You say "You can't have your house back!" I say, "I know, I'm not asking for my house back."

"But my family is starving. Could I pay you to allow me to open a lemonade stand on part of the yard?"

At this point the "that's not a proxy" comments sounds a lot like you responding to my request with, "Hell, now that would be no real replacement for my shooting you and stealing your house, would it buddy?" and then slamming the door in my face.

"Knock, knock. Um, kind sir? You see, reparations may not come. So, um. Can I try my idea?"

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Postby ShaneDog » Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:00 pm

The tribe's are already covering way more of their costs than the bars are or ever will in the forseable future.

Agreed.

The problem is, the social costs of casinos largely fall upon the poor, uneducated, and the stupid. To me, giving the tribes an economic step up (even if it is obviously deserved and long overdue) by allowing them to exploit another powerless class of people which may also include members of the tribe just doesn't make sense. I think it makes more sense to just pay them money to not put a casino here thus accomplishing the objective of reparations and avoiding social costs to be shoulderd by the poor, stupid and uneducated. I realize that there's little if any support for my position, even though it seems the most rational and logical solution to the "problem" (see Bill Leuder's column in this week's Isthmus for someone else who basically agrees with me).
I'm sympathetic to the Tribes and if I was in their position I know I would be pushing for a Casino because its the path of least resistance. It's unfortunate that most of our society considers the idea of reparations so radical and that its easier for people who have been murdered, lied to, and exploited in the past to get permission for a casino that creates more exploitation than it is for them to get what they deserve, economic reparations, paid by society as a whole.

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Postby ShaneDog » Fri Jan 23, 2004 1:49 pm

I think the casino referendum vote comes down to this for me and I still haven't decided how I'm going to vote so I'm looking for someone to convince me which is the lesser of 2 evils.

On the one hand, we have one historically and presently opressed and disadvantaged group that is using a legal method, the casino, to make some money and distribute it in a pretty fair way within their group.

On the other hand we have another group of people who is also disadvantaged who will be significantly harmed by the casino, becuase the social costs of gambling fall disproportionally upon the poor.

If you hold the interests of both groups on equal standing (and I'm not saying that you should, but you should be able to explain why one group's interests trump the others), the way to decide how to vote is to determine whether the benefit gained by the tribe (and the city/county) is greater than the loss and harm suffered by the other group, problem gamblers (who are disproportinately poor) and the city/county.

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Postby aaron » Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:20 pm

I haven't scrolled through all of the comments here, but if this hasn't already been pointed out:

Everyone keeps talking about casinos taking advantage of the poor and elderly folks, squandering their tiny bits of money away on a losing proposition in the hopes of striking it rich.

I must say, in my visits to both Ho Chunk and the casinos in Dubuque, I've seen very few of those folks. In fact, the parkings lots are usually filled with new model Lexuses, Acura's, BMW's, etc. And from my take on the vast majority of people there, they at least don't "look" as if they're down and out, by any stretch of the imagination. (This is a general statement, of course...but true in my experience.)

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Postby hotshot » Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:22 pm

ShaneDog wrote: On the one hand, we have one historically and presently opressed and disadvantaged group that is using a legal method, the casino, to make some money and distribute it in a pretty fair way within their group. On the other hand we have another group of people who is also disadvantaged who will be significantly harmed by the casino, becuase the social costs of gambling fall disproportionally upon the poor.



Even if the numbers of affected on both sides were equal, supporters of affirmative action believe that there is no wrong when ( if you have two equally qualified candidates for a job or an education ) that you help the person who is a poor and oppressed minority to the disadvantage of the poor white guy. (If you didn't, affirmative action would not do even the meager assistance it does do in Wisconsin because poor white people far outnumber poor minorities.)

In addition, the numbers of people affected are not equal. Even if you were talking about a transfer between equally poor groups, the casino is a moral winner. Tribal income is spread to larger numbers of poor people who receive direct benefit checks plus improved health and educational services, whereas only a percentage of total gamblers are poor and only a small percentage poor gamblers are problem gamblers. The greater good then goes to having the casino based on that alone.

Most importantly, the disadvantaged group has that label because they are poorer.

Even the poorest of the advantaged group is not so poor as the poor of the disadvantaged group. And the disadvantaged group is additionally worse off due to other disadvantages like suicide rate, health problems, education problems, effects white man's theft of inheritance, etc. So the poor of Dane County, on average, do not fare well by comparison to the average benefactor of tribal income. Neither do people who drive in from Chicago and the suburbs. A casino in a predominantly white and well-off area provides far more net good by supporting the relatively poorer and more disadvantaged tribe.

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Postby snoqueen » Fri Jan 23, 2004 6:35 pm

aaron wrote:Everyone keeps talking about casinos taking advantage of the poor and elderly folks, squandering their tiny bits of money away on a losing proposition in the hopes of striking it rich.

I must say, in my visits to both Ho Chunk and the casinos in Dubuque, I've seen very few of those folks. ... they at least don't "look" as if they're down and out, by any stretch of the imagination. (This is a general statement, of course...but true in my experience.)



I think the numbers show that the poorest people tend to play the lottery (which Wisconsin already has) instead of going to casinos (which after all requires transportation, a free evening or afternoon, usually buying a restaurant meal, etc). So while compulsive casino gamblers are apt to become poor, they may not start out that way as often as the lottery players do.

So if saving the poor from their own bad judgment is the goal, Wisconsin already failed them.

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Postby ShaneDog » Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:22 pm

hotshot wrote:
ShaneDog wrote: On the one hand, we have one historically and presently opressed and disadvantaged group that is using a legal method, the casino, to make some money and distribute it in a pretty fair way within their group. On the other hand we have another group of people who is also disadvantaged who will be significantly harmed by the casino, becuase the social costs of gambling fall disproportionally upon the poor.


Even the poorest of the advantaged group is not so poor as the poor of the disadvantaged group.


The thing you're missing is that they already have one HUGE casino and I believe they already make huge profits there so I don't think the Ho-Chunk Nation can be considered poor. Disadvantaged sure, but not poor.

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Postby ShaneDog » Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:23 pm

snoqueen wrote:
aaron wrote:Everyone keeps talking about casinos taking advantage of the poor and elderly folks, squandering their tiny bits of money away on a losing proposition in the hopes of striking it rich.

I must say, in my visits to both Ho Chunk and the casinos in Dubuque, I've seen very few of those folks. ... they at least don't "look" as if they're down and out, by any stretch of the imagination. (This is a general statement, of course...but true in my experience.)



I think the numbers show that the poorest people tend to play the lottery (which Wisconsin already has) instead of going to casinos (which after all requires transportation, a free evening or afternoon, usually buying a restaurant meal, etc). So while compulsive casino gamblers are apt to become poor, they may not start out that way as often as the lottery players do.

So if saving the poor from their own bad judgment is the goal, Wisconsin already failed them.

I believe I posted a statistic in the other thread that pointed out that very few problem gamblers tend to be in the group that just plays the lottery.

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Postby ShaneDog » Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:49 pm

Even if the numbers of affected on both sides were equal, supporters of affirmative action believe that there is no wrong when ( if you have two equally qualified candidates for a job or an education ) that you help the person who is a poor and oppressed minority to the disadvantage of the poor white guy. (If you didn't, affirmative action would not do even the meager assistance it does do in Wisconsin because poor white people far outnumber poor minorities.)


The difference between the situation you describe, preferential treatment in affirmative action, and "wealth redistribution" caused by casinos is that there are huge social costs associated with the wealth redistribution that are not associated with preferential treatment. If a minority candidate receives preferential treatment in hiring, or admissions, and causes other candidates to be (temporarily) disadvantaged, the other candidates are not harmed much because their membership in the priviledged class will give them advantages in other areas that will allow them to find another job or get into another school. Plus they have other huge advantages that will offset the small harm caused by not receiving preferential treatment in a small subset of situations. Poor white people are not as affected by preferential treatment based on race in admissions because they are already very unlikely to be applying to college or even able to afford it. Therefore, I believe your analogy does not apply in this situation.

In addition, the numbers of people affected are not equal. Even if you were talking about a transfer between equally poor groups, the casino is a moral winner. Tribal income is spread to larger numbers of poor people who receive direct benefit checks plus improved health and educational services, whereas only a percentage of total gamblers are poor and only a small percentage poor gamblers are problem gamblers. The greater good then goes to having the casino based on that alone.

Even though only a percentage of problem gamblers are poor, the percentage of problem gamblers who are poor is significant. I will see if I can find some statistics to back this up in another post. Because the Ho-Chunk already have a huge, hugely profitable casino, the additional money the tribe members receive is only marginally helpful. It would be a different situation if they did not already have a casino. In 2001, every Ho-Chunk member received annual payments of $8,400 in direct benefit checks. I believe that was the year the casino opened the huge hotel and expanded gaming operations so the checks should be significantly larger now but I haven't been able to find more recent statistics. I believe the statement that only a small percentage of poor gamblers are problem gambers to be wrong but I'll have to find some evidence to back that up.

Even the poorest of the advantaged group is not so poor as the poor of the disadvantaged group.

So that justifies a tranfer of wealth, along with the huge social costs to be paid by the people affected, city and county?

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Postby ShaneDog » Sat Jan 24, 2004 7:36 pm

From the Journal of Law and Commerce: DEVELOPMENT OR DREAMFIELD DELUSIONS?: ASSESSING CASINO GAMBLING'S COSTS AND BENEFITS
by E.L. Grinols and J.D. Omorov
I. Casinos are much more of a problem than the lottery.

"Among Minnesota gamblers seeking help for gambling problems, for example, 66 percent attributed their problems to casinos compared to only 5 percent who attributed their gambling problems to the lottery."

II. Gambling is at least as harmful as drug abuse, tobacco, and alcohol.


"This makes gambling equivalent in magnitude to social problems such as drug addiction or alcoholism. Using the mid-point number for the additional costs of gambling, expansion implies social costs of $ 42 billion compared to the pre-expansion situation existing in 1990. In other words, the costs of gambling expansion would be greater than an additional hurricane Andrew every year in perpetuity (the costliest American natural disaster in [*58] history), or it would equal the costs of an additional 1990-91 recession roughly every decade."

III. Gambling causes increased suicide rate.


"LeSieur draws a connection between pathological gambling and suicide and reports that pathological gamblers are between five and ten times more likely to commit suicide than the general population."

and

"Nevada has the highest suicide rate in the nation according to the 1995 U.S. Statistical Abstract, more than double the national average."

IV. A large portion of casino revenues come from problem and pathological gamblers.

"This implies that 52 percent of casino revenues come from the 4.11 percent of the population who are pathological and problem gamblers."

V. There is no incentive for casinos to treat problem/pathological gamblers.

"The fact that the gambling industry is dependent on problem and pathological gamblers for a large share of its revenues casts doubt on the feasibility of treating pathological gamblers using industry tax revenues to prophylactically prevent the externality costs of gambling addiction. The treatment cost to the industry would be high, and these costs would be in addition to existing taxes on gambling gross revenues that are already high in many cases. Further, if treatment were successful in preventing gambling by problem and pathological gamblers, it would significantly reduce industry revenues. It is probably safe to conclude that not everyone in the casino industry would willingly forego 35 percent or more of their revenues."

VI. Gambling disproportionately affects the poor, and People of Color

" In a 1994 survey, 50 percent of Wisconsin casino gamblers reported an annual household income below $30,000. 2(The median income in Wisconsin that year was $35,400.)"

Pat Doyle, "Compulsive Gambling Hitting Poor Hardest, New State Study Says," Minneapolis Star Tribune , July 25, 1997, p. 1B.

From "Poor, minorities seen as bearing weight of slots" on sunspot.net
By Greg Garland
Sun Staff
Originally published February 20, 2003

"The study by researchers at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, found that the rate of problem and pathological gambling among poor people is more than three times that of the most affluent segments of society."

""The study provides support for the notion that lower socio-economic-status Americans are being disproportionately affected by gambling," researchers wrote.
The report's findings appear to back the view of gambling critics who argue that slots serve as a regressive tax on the poor."

""The rate of pathological or problem gambling among the highest fifth or our sample by socioeconomic status was 1.6 percent; in the lowest fifth, it was 5.3 percent," the study said. "This trend was highly statistically significant.""

""The rate of pathological or problem gambling among the highest fifth or our sample by socioeconomic status was 1.6 percent; in the lowest fifth, it was 5.3 percent," the study said. "This trend was highly statistically significant."

John W. Welte, a senior research associate at the university and one of the study's authors, said the report confirms "something that has long been suspected."

It reveals that problem gambling among the poor has spread along with the rapid expansion of casino-style gambling into new venues around the country, Welte said.

In 1975, studies found gambling was more concentrated among young, white, affluent males, Welte said. But that has changed markedly.

"Gambling participation has particularly grown among the elderly and lower socioeconomic groups," the study stated. "It appears that the increased availability of gambling opportunities in our society has led to the 'democratization' of gambling."

The survey found that minorities who gamble tend to develop more problems with compulsive gambling behavior.

"Blacks were less likely to have gambled than whites, but blacks who did gamble exceeded other racial groups in frequency ... and extent of gambling involvement," the report said. "Blacks, Hispanics and Asians were more likely to be problem gamblers than whites.""

""It's a regressive source of government revenue," Welte said. "It comes disproportionately from poor people.""

VII. People who live close to a casino are at higher risks of becoming pathological gamblers.

"Welte said that new research his group is doing, but which has not been published, found that pathological gambling rates are twice as high for people who live within 10 miles of a casino compared to those who live farther away."
Last edited by ShaneDog on Sat Jan 24, 2004 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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