By Mike Scinto
I need some help. I don’t say that very often, but I’m saying it now. I need your input to help me decide how to vote on Issue 3 in the upcoming election. Oh, I understand the issue. I just don’t know which side I favor. I’m riding the proverbial fence until it’s, well, quite painful!
In case you’ve been in a monastery or biosphere and don’t know about issue 3, it’s a proposed Constitutional Amendment (to the Ohio Constitution) that would open the state up to legalized casino gambling specifically in 4 key locations – Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati
I believe gambling, if it’s for financial gain, is for fools. I would just as soon use my cash to start one of my autumn bonfires as use it to feed the craps tables, slot machines or roulette wheels. It would serve a more useful purpose that way; for my wallet anyway.
I also believe that a good number of patrons frequenting casinos are folks who should not be there. They may be on government assistance, have a gambling addiction or are bordering on both of those areas. My compassionate side asks if we want to feed those desires and needs. Is that how we want to “fix” our economy, through the misguided greed of those less fortunate?
The Conservative/Libertarian in me, who wants an individual to be free to make his or her own choices without government edicts, says if that’s what you want to do with your money, it’s not my problem!
The parent/good neighbor in me acknowledges that, as contradictory as it might sound, I don’t want prostitution (another vice)to be legalized and a brothel to open up in the vacant property down the block. It just isn’t right. So we do allow our morals to dictate behaviors………at least I allow them to affect MY judgment.
I don’t believe the 34,000 new jobs propaganda, the claims that jobs will ONLY be filled by unseemly characters from out of state, or that the money generated will repair our sagging economy. I think there are grains of truth on both sides of the issue. I still remember when Governor Jack Gilligan told us that the Ohio Lottery would assure a solid monetary foundation for our schools in Ohio. What happened to that promise? But Buckeyes bought it hook, line and sinker.
I absolutely believe gambling attracts unsavory characters, is a major enticement to those trying to find an easy way out of life’s financial woes and can be a crippling noose around the necks of those who (depending on whether or not you buy the addiction angle) can’t stay away from it. It did, after all, destroy the lives and dreams of many players including two famous area legends; Pete Rose and Art Schlichter, the Ohio State quarterback who had such great potential until gambling took its hold on him. I also acknowledge that some of us, including this writer, might like spending a Friday night having some fun at a local casino.
It really is a conundrum for me. I would love to hear your input. Drop me a line and share your views on this one before I have to go into the voting booth. While I don’t let others’ opinions control my decisions, I do weigh those views. My contact information, as always, is listed at the end of this column. I look forward to hearing from you.
Mike Scinto has served as a radio talk show host for three decades. He can be heard on the syndicated “The Mike Gallagher Show” and seen as a contributor on the Fox News Channel. You can reach Mike by phone at 937-506-4288, via his blog at http://mikescinto.blogspot.com/ or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.