I am voting NO on propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97.
The bottom line is that it will more than triple gambling in our state. This is neither healthy for the individual nor good for society.
The measures mean more slot machines, which means more of everything that comes with them–all sorts of ways to throw your money away. Voting for Propositions 94-97 is voting for a gambling culture.
It means more and more people will make casinos their source of entertainment. And if that were all, I’d have little problem with it. But gambling too easily goes from amusement to addiction.
On the one hand playing a slot machine is not much different than playing an arcade game. You put some money in the machine and it dispenses some amusement. But an arcade game very clearly says “Game Over.” Sure, you can continue, but there comes a time when you run out of coins (or credit) or when you realize you just aren’t that good at that game and you move on. The slot machine is always promising more.
If these propositions pass, many more people will throw their much needed money away, money that should have fed their children or paid for their schooling, money that could have gotten them out of debt. As their own money runs out they may sneek a little from their family or friends or work or worse. What would they be willing to lose to win it all?
If these propositions pass, many more people will live in isolation from their family and friends. More parents will be absent from their homes, and most of them probably justifying it by saying, “if I can just win one more time then we’d have enough money to [fill in the blank].”
You may think I’m blowing things out of proportion, but it is absolutely inevitable. In fact, part of the provisions of the propositions is that the tribes are required to identify and help “problem gamblers.” They are counting on it happening. And I guess including that little stipulation helps ease their consciences.
The only reason people are for these props is because it means more money for CA without raising taxes or cutting spending. All sorts of government agencies are getting behind it assuming the money will go to them. But there are no specific provisions to use the money for things like education or public safety. In reality, the cities near these casinos could conceivably lose money because money spent on tribal lands will not yield any tax revenue that may have come from non-tribal area businesses.
The one reason I would vote for these propositions is that it may help the tribes. But it turns out CA already has an agreement with them that is more than adequate and fair, and in effect for another 12 years. Only the four big tribes benefit by allowing them to expand their gambling capacities and, therefore, revenues. None of the other small tribes will receive anything more than the money they are already receiving.
The money CA receives from tribal gaming sources will be a mere drop in the bucket compared to our deficit. It is not worth it.