Archive for Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Casino plan rears head again

Shouts and Murmurs

October 27, 2004

What? A casino in our backyard? Is this idea cropping up again?

Personally, I have no problem with gambling. It's just that if I'm going to spend money, there's plenty of other things I'd rather do with it.

Standing at a card table, or poking coins in a slot machine are not my idea of fun.

Whatever happened to taking a walk in the park?

The sad thing about the casino that's proposed at 118th Street and State Avenue is that we, as voters, have no say in the matter.

Even if we wanted to, we couldn't go to the polls and vote yes or no.

That's not part of the equation.

The equation is, our governor, Kathleen Sebelius, has decided a casino would be a good way to rope in additional revenue for the state.

Right now an annual amount of $40 million to $50 million is being bandied about. That's just the state's take in it. Do we really think the state's share of a tribal gaming casino could be that much?

And even if it is, do we think the money's coming from nowhere? Moreover, if the funds would pour in as predicted, we know we can trust the state to put the money to use where it will do the most good. Right?

And then there's the personal issue. People can become addicted to gambling much as they can become addicted to anything else -- alcohol, drugs, even food.

Reportedly, Missouri has some 39,000 residents who experienced gambling problems in the last year. A recent study by Harvard researchers showed Kansas City had the heaviest concentration of gamblers in Missouri.

And why is that? Is it just because the casinos are a little too easy to get to? Way too close to home?

And aside from the casino, which would include a 250-room hotel, a conference center and 1,000 restaurant seats, there's another concern.

At what point will western Wyandotte County be overbuilt? How many restaurants can the area absorb? How many destination stores can we visit in a weekend -- let alone in a month or year -- and how many restaurants and small businesses in neighboring towns will fall by the wayside as residents of those towns flock to the city to dine and shop?

I guess I should settle down and accept whatever comes down the pike, casino or no casino.

After all, since I'm not voting in the matter, I have no say in it.

But the kicker is, neither do you.

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