Gambling should be left to the voters

Published 7:31 pm Saturday, September 12, 2009

Opinions are like noses, everyone has one, and that isn’t a bad thing. I’m all for a healthy debate on all issues including gambling. But, at the end of the day, the people should have the last say. So, let the people vote on electronic bingo gambling.

Gambling supporters would have you believe gambling is the solution to all monetary problems for education. My question is, what message is gambling sending our children? Surely not that gambling is the answer to financing education and solving societal problems? If so, we apparently have lost our moral compass.

Is it all about money? Proverbs 21:5 (TLB) says; “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV) says: ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil.“ Do not be deceived, there is a price to be paid for legalizing gambling. It is measured in human misery in addition to the problems of graft and corruption.

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I was amused by a recent editorial by the STJ that stated Mississippi could benefit from stricter oversight on gaming. The reference was made in making sure the games were fair. I wonder who sets the rules for how much is a fair loss? Sounds like an oxymoron to me.

The attitude of we can’t do anything about this or it is going to happen regardless, isn’t helpful. We must stand on principle and reject those things that are morally and ethically wrong. A defeatist attitude will lead to defeat. Will you be challenged for your stance? You can depend on it. However, take heart, Thomas Jefferson said in a letter to Thaddeus Kosciusko in 1802: “Newspapers….serve as chimnies to carry off noxious vapors and smoke.”

If those who oppose gambling will stick to their principles, it will be defeated again in our state. It appears another vote by the people will be required to settle the issue of electronic bingo gambling. What next?

“It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia Query 19, 1781. It is uncanny how relevant this advice is for us today.

Whether you are for it or against it, casino style gambling and slot machines are illegal in the State of Alabama. They are illegal for good reason just as drugs and other harmful things are illegal.

James G. Smithis a community columnist.