STOW – What do mobsters, prostitutes, pimps, loan sharks, drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics, thieves and gambling addicts all have in common?

You can always find representatives of each of these groups at a casino. I am not denying that some of the people who attend casinos are just enjoying some good wholesome fun; I’m just saying that these other subgroups also go with the territory.

Why would Mainers want to bring this to western Maine? Well, in a word, greed.

Nearly every book or movie about gambling at some point uses this cliche: “The House always wins.” It’s a cliche because it’s true.

It’s one thing to plan on blowing your money for a good time; it’s another thing entirely to delude yourself into thinking that you are going to a casino to improve your budget.

It’s no different for municipalities. The idea that a casino will bring wealth and prosperity to Oxford is simply not supported by the facts, by history, or by the odds.

Sure it will generate money, but it will go into the pockets of the investors rather than the community. Rather than creating an economic boon, the casino will generate a glut of minimum-wage jobs and increase the need for municipal services — schooling and law enforcement for starters.

The gambling personality thinks that, through luck or cleverness, it will beat the odds. But ultimately, it is humbled by the house.

In 2006, the most current year that data is available from the U.S. Census Bureau, guess which state had the lowest violent crime rate per capita?

It was Maine. contrast, it’s easy enough to research the negative results of big casinos on their local communities.

Economist David B. Mustard and Earl L. Grinols of Baylor University performed a study of 3,165 U.S. counties from 1977 to 1996, comparing local crime rates before and after casinos opened.

Statistically, by year five, robberies were up 136 percent, aggravated assaults 91 percent, auto theft 78 percent, burglary 50 percent, larceny 38 percent and rape 21 percent.

But some people think we’re smarter or luckier than those other communities. They are willing to gamble away our safety for profit.

And let’s think about fairness. People who live far from Oxford County and who vote for a casino are gambling with someone else’s community, which is not fair.

Voters by referendum, the governor by veto, and the Maine Legislature by vote have all rejected gambling proposals by the Passamaquoddy tribe and the Penobscot Nation.

So, casino gambling’s not OK for Maine’s Native Americans, but it’s OK for some white investors?

Don’t be duped by slick-talking big money. When you vote on Nov. 2, please remember that the House always wins.

 

– Special to The Press HeraldNearly every book or movie about gambling at some point uses this cliche: ‘The House always wins.’ It’s a cliche because it’s true. It’s one thing to plan on blowing your money for a good time; it’s another thing entirely to delude yourself into thinking that you are going to a casino to improve your budget.