Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 24, 2005

Legalizing slots will stick state with a big bill

Michael Olesker's column on slots was very perceptive ("Politics' best return for third round of arguing over slots," Feb. 18). I am obliged, however, to take issue with part of his analysis of the gambling issue. Yes, anti-slots folks are inconsistent in "winking a complicit eye" at certain forms of gambling (lotteries and horse racing) while bitterly opposing slots casinos. However, the alternative is to lie down and be steam-rolled flat by every foul enterprise invented by the mind of man.

Modern slot machines are designed to quickly addict people to gambling.

So the more thousands of machines are installed in our communities, the more tens of thousands of addicts will be created to bring in the desired profits for the gaming operators. And the state will eventually have to deal with, and pay for, the resulting crime and civic disruption.

Other forms of gambling no doubt cause somewhat similar effects, but on a very much smaller scale. This problem is, therefore, a matter of scale.

Dave Thompson

Elkton

Maryland chooses to support slots

It's not often I read anything from Michael Olesker that I find agreeable. But his column "Politics' best return for third round of arguing over slots" (Feb. 18) did have one thing I found palatable. He stated that the argument for the immorality of gambling disappeared a long time ago - and that is correct.

It comes down to a matter of choice. Choice is a word the Democrats are familiar with and like to throw around.

Marylanders made a choice when they elected Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. The polls indicate that Marylanders now make a choice for slots. And Marylanders make a choice to spend their money in other states that do have slots.

Perhaps the House of Delegate should make a choice and listen to its constituents. If not, the citizens of Maryland can make a choice next year and decide to clean House.

Paul Bunting

Arbutus

Sponsoring slots a bad bet for state

The governor and the Maryland Senate, for the third year in a row, have sent a slots bill to the House of Delegates ("House to take its turn at slots," Feb. 20).

The governor and most members of the Senate apparently subscribe to the "something for nothing" ethos that is rapidly replacing our long-prized American work ethic. State-sponsored gambling is the new formula for state politicians to deliver services to constituents without raising taxes, and thereby gain re-election.

Meanwhile, in this troubled economy, lower-income Marylanders will succumb to the "something for nothing" allure of hitting that number or winning a slots jackpot.

An electorate that purportedly votes on "values" must recognize that replacing our traditional values of work and fair taxation with "something for nothing" values meets only short-term political and taxation goals.

State-sponsored gambling will not ultimately build a better Maryland.

Brad Lyman

Forest Hill

Gambling celebrates liberty, risk-taking

Throughout the long-running debate over the legalization of slots, a common refrain has been repeated by the opponents. They claim that no supporters of slot machines want them "in my back yard" ("Location, location, location," editorial, Feb. 22).

I offer to allow slot machines in my backyard. If I need more space, I will purchase my neighbors' properties as well. In addition to slots, I will also offer all casino games.

All kidding aside, it is time for the gamblers of Maryland to mobilize and demand the right to pursue their chosen hobby. Let's not let a shrinking minority dictate that we must travel outside our great state to legally place a bet.

Too many proponents of gambling are lukewarm in their support. If legalized casino gambling is to become a reality in Maryland, supporters must celebrate gambling in a hearty manner.

Gambling is good. Everyone who came to this country voluntarily took a huge risk. Our risk-taking heritage and pursuit of liberty are what makes this country special.

This way of life will always be vulnerable to those who choose to infringe upon our freedom. We must be vigilant in standing against forces that choose to prohibit us from exercising our free will.

Max Hutsell

Baltimore

Need Asian oysters to clean up the bay

The recent discussion of proposed legislation in the General Assembly to delay the introduction of the Asian oyster into the Chesapeake Bay is disturbing ("Groups support bill to delay introducing Asian oysters in bay," Feb. 16).

We need scientific research to make logical decisions. But what we also need to keep in mind is that a scientist never solves a problem. Scientists always want to continue further research. They live on grant money, and the money does not come in unless there is a problem.

That's why they continue to whine about this oyster, which could save our bay. They need problems to keep their grants.

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