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.