Gambling in MarylandThe Session of Hunting Ridge...

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January 30, 1993

Gambling in Maryland

The Session of Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church calls upon the executive and legislative leadership of Baltimore and Maryland to steadfastly oppose the continuous expansion of the state's lottery program, especially its introduction of keno.

This is a classic case of permitting the "end" -- elimination of a state financial deficit -- to justify the "means," without considering the immeasurable harm such a move inflicts on the people -- the bedrock of government.

It is historically accurate that gambling in general, and the lottery in particular, feeds upon the most economically vulnerable, robbing the poor of their sparse funds, falsely raising their hopes for "a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow" and aiding and abetting the development of an addiction that steals from humanity the ability to grow in stature.

Indeed, it would be regrettable forever if the lottery, and again keno in particular, were the Trojan horse that subverts Maryland and turns it into the gambling mecca of the East Coast. We do not have to look far to the north to see what has happened to one community -- Atlantic City -- that has embraced gambling and thus reaped the allied societal misfortunes.

The argument has been heard from state government that the financial alternative to keno is increased taxes. If that is the case, then so be it. But a responsible state government also is part of that alternative. Perhaps it is time for the state to emulate many of the leading businesses in this nation: down-size, streamline operations, and become more efficient. Such a move in government could produce dividends for the people, rather than household deficits borne of impulses that reject all reasoning.

An array of other voices has expressed similar concerns about Maryland becoming further mired in the quicksand spawned by games of chance, but to no avail. Now, it is time for Christians to let our beliefs and sentiments be known, as we feel certain God would have us do.

Even though keno has started, perhaps our stand, with others, can create a groundswell against it. We urge our state leadership to rethink its policy of financing government on the backs of the less fortunate who cannot resist the barren temptation of the illogical "you got to play to win" refrain.

David E. Callahan

Baltimore

The writer is the clerk of the Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church Session.

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Let's legalize gambling for everyone.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer states that if we don't allow the state to sponsor additional gaming we can't pay the bills. Do you realize that what he is really saying is they have already spent in excess of the income from the standard lottery and they need more gambling to pay for that excess? What will be the next government-sponsored gambling opportunity?

I believe it should be illegal for any government to run public gambling programs. Why should our government have authority to sponsor anything that is considered illegal for the citizen? The odds that are against you in this government-sponsored gaming system would be considered illegal in casinos in Nevada. There isn't any risk for the state in the current system.

Just imagine what would happen if we legalized gambling and turned it over to licensed businesses instead of allowing it to be a government-controlled gaming system. Think of the jobs it would create. As a result of the jobs, the employees and licensed businesses would be able to pay legal taxes.

Think of the revenues it would provide. St. Mary's County should benefit more than anyone. We have the perfect environment -- next to the bay, motels everywhere. All the businesses in the area would make more money. New casinos, motels and businesses to build and maintain. Why should you give all the money from gambling revenues to your politicians? Do you realize how much power this money places in the hands of the people who don't know how to handle it? I say give the power to the people, not the politicians.

Jim Hinebaugh

Lexington

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In response to Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening's attack on state gambling, I found his position rather amusing, not to mention hypocritical.

As a Baltimore County resident, I occasionally enjoy the ride to Prince George's County to take in a night of blackjack at one of the many casino night fire halls. Deciding which night to go is not a problem, either, since gambling is held virtually every night, including Sunday, at a fire hall somewhere in Prince George's County. The hardest part is choosing which one to frequent.

It used to be customary in any of the fire halls to drink free of charge while playing. This is no longer the case. You see, after witnessing the enormous revenue being generated in the fire halls, the county liquor board raised the liquor licenses by as much as five times the previous amount.

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