It was only by chance that I developed a gambling addiction, and it happened like this. A man we call “Hummer Dave” gave me some scratch lottery tickets for my 77th birthday. The Hummer explained that I should take a knife and scratch away the paint on the little circles and then take the cards into the grocery store and ask the clerk how much I had won.

I did as he said and was told I’d won $2. “Do you want two more dollar tickets?” the clerk asked.

“You gotta be kidding,” I said. “Why should I buy more when I’m $2 ahead?”

The clerk gave me back the winning ticket. I took it home and framed it along with the two dollar bills, and you can see it on my office wall today.

You are hearing this story up front so you will know that, although I have nothing whatsoever against gambling, I laughed out loud when I got a circular in the mail promoting a casino in York. It came from an organization called Progress for Maine.

Whenever you get inundated with colorful expensive circulars from organizations with names like Progress for Maine or Americans for Prosperity or the Association for Knowledge and Progress, you can bet that a close examination will reveal their goal is to do the exact opposite of what their name implies. Someone far from where you sleep is going to end up with a lot of money that came out of your pocket.

We are encouraged to vote in favor of this casino as we read that it will generate millions for teachers, schools and veterans.

At this point you might have an urge to get down on your knees and bless this shadowy, altruistic billionaire who tossed and turned on his bed for many nights before deciding he could best help you and your Maine friends by giving you a casino.

But before you wrinkle your trousers, let me tell you what little I know of casinos and what I read when I Googled this one.

Did you know that folks who can get a new casino licensed in Maine can turn right around and sell that license for 10 or more times than what it cost them? A wicked good profit for a small $5 million or $10 million investment in misleading newspaper and television advertising, coupled with direct mail and a cadre of people hired to visit your neighborhood and knock on your door. Even $50 million is not much to pay for a vacuum cleaner that will suck more money out of Maine than a big box store.

A distant cousin works as a dealer in a casino in a state near here. She said that the amount of traffic has been hard on roads. The casino is not liable for repairs, so local taxpayers foot the bill for the fixes – as well as for the salary of an extra state trooper and the attendant social services for families who were attracted in spite of the low wages. She said you go to work even when you’re sick or you could lose your job. As I recall, there was also an interesting story about the police discovering one room with 12 or so casino employees and their children living in it.

We have read that CQ Press analysts ranked Nevada as the nation’s most dangerous state for seven years in a row. When you stop to think that Nevada is famous for its gambling, doesn’t it make you wonder why our Maine neighbors aren’t clamoring for at least one more of those economy-enhancing casinos in their hometown?

Even closer to home, my brother-in-law has managed a casino way out west for years, and The Almost Perfect Woman and I have visited his digs there. He said when people ask to be directed to the best machine, he sends them to the ATM. Surprised that his office was no larger than the tiny cubicles of the eight or so women who worked with him, I asked him about it.

He said, “You don’t stand up in a crowd of women and say, ‘I am the boss.’ ”

Of course he treated us to dinner in the casino diner, where food was cheap and plentiful. I was reminded of the restaurants all along Maine’s coast. If you get there early enough, the server will seat you next to a window where you can see lobster boats unloading the day’s catch. We were also seated by the window where we could see Brink’s trucks leaving with theirs.

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

www.thehumblefarmer.com/MainePrivateRadio.html