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March 16, 2006

On gambling and respecting our fellows...

The Iowa Legislature, in banning the TouchPlay machines, did the right thing -- the respectful thing.

Respectful, that is, of the views of the substantial minority of Iowans who don't want gambling at all. Putting slots in grocery stores, gas stations and such is pretty much rubbing their nose in it. Not good for the body politic.

I happen to think the strict no-gambling people are wrong. None of anybody's business if I want to gamble now and then. Should be able to so without worrying about getting arrested for something that's nobody's business except mine. That's the way it is -- there're three casinos within 15 minutes of my house; nobody in the state is more than 90 minutes or so from one. (Fill up with gas before you go in.)

Can go when I want. You don't want to, don't. Live and let live.

The "let live" part is not turning ordinary businesses into mini-casinos. Don't tell me I can't go to the casino and I won't make you go to one to buy a loaf a bread. Fair? Fair.

See how easy it is? A little respect for our fellows with differing views makes for a more civil society.

I can't work up much sympathy for the businesses that'll have to give up new-found gains. I'm pretty sure the local Kum 'n Go, or whatever, wasn't built on a business plan that counted on slot-machine profits. Nice while it lasted, but it's back to Plan A, guys. Couple of pennies on a pack of cigarettes, nickel on the hotdog, whatever the guy across the street lets you get away with.

Not in much of a mood, either, to heap praise on lawmakers for doing the right thing. They created the problem to start with, by doing the wrong thing when they authorized the TouchPlay machines. A good many of them claimed they didn't know what they were doing, and maybe they didn't -- they authorized "pull-tab vending machines with video monitors."

The phrase doesn't exactly scream "slot machine" but feel welcome to think your legislator should have been smart enough to get it.

Speaking, as I did several paragraphs back, of being respectful to the people who don't want gambling ... the Isle of Capri's big plan to add a hotel to its gambling complex on the Davenport riverfront is still on hold, still awaiting approvals from the Corps of Engineers and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. William Ashton, an engineer with a long background in the pertinent disciplines, particularly as applied to the Davenport riverfront, is among those arguing the permits should not be issued.

Smart Riverfront is doggedly keeping track of what's going on. One to stay tuned on.

Posted by jcb at March 16, 2006 02:04 PM


Well put. I don't need to tell my neighbors they can't gamble but it's not very neighborly to stick slot machines under everyone's nose, either. Makes it tougher on the problem gamblers.

Posted by: Tesla at March 16, 2006 03:44 PM

I agree that an individual should have the right to throw away their money on gambling, but I also think government should not be a partner with gambling interests in shaking down its citizens.

Under the current set-up, state and local government have come to depend on making suckers out of many of our poorest citizens.

Posted by: greg at March 16, 2006 07:21 PM

Take heart in seeing a line drawn. Maybe a further look at what we're doing will follow.

Posted by: jcb at March 16, 2006 08:06 PM