I’m not a gambler. I do have some money in mutual funds; I participate in a bragging-rights-only football pool; and at Christmas each year I buy a few lottery tickets to use as stocking-stuffers. If I tried gambling, I suspect that I’d enjoy it; and with my lack of willpower, within a few months I’d be living in a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere.
But I have plenty of friends who love gambling. When the spirit moves them, they head off to Windsor, Erie, Kentucky, the Argosy, or Mountaineer–anywhere but Ohio–and they take their money with them. That’s part of the reason why I’ll be voting for Issue 6.
The other reason is that I really dislike the deception that’s being practiced by Issue 6 opponents. I don’t have a moral opposition to gambling, but I can respect those who do. What I can’t respect are the deceptive practices of the organized opposition, which is funded primarily by the owners of the casinos I mentioned earlier. They’ve exploited voter ignorance (never in short supply) with their argument that Issue 6 contains sneaky loopholes.
The reason we have to vote on Issue 6 is that it’s a constitutional amendment, not a piece of legislation. The reason it needs to be a constitutional amendment is that Ohio’s constitution now prohibits most gambling. The amendment would permit the passage of a state law permitting a casino, and sets some of the rules for that law.
In other words, if Issue 6 passes, it won’t create a single new casino. The next political battleground would be the state legislature, and any resulting legislation would require approval of a governor who opposes gambling.
The supposed “loopholes” the opponents are quacking about are actually items left for the legislation to deal with. If the amendment were to deal with all of them, it would have to be longer than the existing state constitution.
So I’ll vote for Issue 6. Partly I’ll do so because I’d like to see some of that money staying in Ohio, and it would be nice to attract some high-rollers from neighboring states. I’ll also be voting for Issue 6 to cast a vote against the deceptive practices of the out-of-state casino owners who are fighting against the development of any Ohio competition.
But maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on them. Even if gambling isn’t bringing out-of-state money into Ohio, at least this advertising campaign is.