With their campaign coffers greased by hundreds of thousands of tribal dollars, it seems many of our politicians are fast becoming little more than puppets of gaming interests. Our governor seems to view gaming as a cash cow to avoid politically difficult budget decisions, a belief that probably borders on the delusional.
What is even more discouraging is that the only issue getting in the way of more than doubling California's slot machines is the conflict over unionizing casino workers. Not once in all of the recent news reports do any of our elected officials even consider the human cost.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer's 2006 Bureau report found that there are now 1.5 million problem and pathological gamblers in California. Data indicate that these individuals in turn adversely affect eight to 10 other people in their lives.
Do the math. This means gaming harms a total number of Californians at least 27 times the population of the Fresno/Clovis metropolitan area. Expanding gaming will surely increase the scope of this devastation.
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I once thought that it took a village to raise a child. Now I understand that all we need are more slots.