Saturday, August 11, 2007

Table Games Pass

44,000 people in Kanawha County went to the polls to vote for or against allowing table games at the Tri State Greyhound track in Cross Lanes. A razor thin margin of 33 votes passed the measure. With a bunch of provisional ballots to be counted this thing is still close enough that it could turn out differently, but for now it seems Big Gambling has won.

Time will tell if this was good or bad for the economy, but I know already it is not good for the soul of our community. We have one of the greatest places in the country to live, but our government officials want to live beyond our means. They want multi-million dollar arts centers and libraries even though we can't afford them. They want to spend more and more money on a population that is shrinking. So they look to an economic development project that, in order to succeed, it's customers have to lose.

Certainly there are people who gamble for entertainment and can afford the losses they most likely will incur, but there are many people who can't afford it that will lose the grocery or rent money because they can't control themselves. No worries, though, because their grocery money will help finance the next big project and we'll all benefit.

But what happens ten years from now when we've gotten used to the gambling income and our government begins to live beyond its means again? I guess we'll have to look at other revenue sources.

It will be interesting to see what those are.


The Film Geek said...

It may be true "we have one of the greatest places in our country to live" --I personally think so, too--but it is true that "our population is shrinking."

Why would a population shrink in one of the greatest places to live? The opposite should happen.

I'm very pessimistic about the economic progression of WV, and think we are in a situation where we can't turn away investment. Even this investment.

TheRef said...

Too bad on the vote for gambling. I am a native West Virginian but happened to live in New Jersey when Atlantic City was revived by "gambling". Atlantic City was promised a complete renaissance when the gambling halls were being planned and constructed. If you go to Atlantic City today, you'll find some of the fanciest hotels and casinos in the world. If you stay inside that fairyland, you could believe that the city is truly in renaissance. But, the illusion is soon dissipated if you step outside the casino and walk a few blocks in any direction. The old, dilapidated and poor Atlantic City remains. Gambling is not a prescription for improving the city, the area.

Gambling is a profit-making concern. For those who might think that they will come out ahead in gambling their hard-earned paychecks, just look up at the Taj Mahal-like buildings. The developers are not building such structures out of kindness. They build such places to capture and store the remaining financial resources from you and your fellow West Virginians. The robber barons extracted a high percentage of your natural resources without adequate payment. Now, the sons and daughters of these same RB's will take away your money, your homes, your food as well.

Ah, but for government, it is such an easy way to tax the people. So what if outsiders get a large cut of the proceeds? So what if the populace becomes more penniless?