September 10, 2005

Loss of gambling has positive effects

In response to John Eisenberg's column on Thursday - in which he wrote "The endless slots debate has killed Maryland as a major horse racing state" - let's ponder a few of the good things that grow out of any reduction/prevention of big-time slots gambling facilities.

1. The state's economy will be healthier, since huge amounts of cash will be spent on services and goods from local businesses that otherwise might have gone to fattening the fortunes of outside gambling interests.

2. Those citizens who might have fallen prey to the destructive influence of compulsive gambling (which is exactly what the slot machines are designed to produce) may better support their families and be more productive citizens.

3. Our government might be spared the predatory influences of a strengthened and entrenched gambling industry presence.

4. Our state might avoid ever-growing dependency on gambling as a fix for financial problems, which becomes a descending spiral, adverse to the flourishing of healthy businesses.

5. We may actually be avoiding future tax increases such as some "slots states" have incurred. These were a result of the social and governmental costs of expanded gambling exceeding the state's gambling revenues.

These are factors easily overlooked when reaching for that "pot of gold" in the slots illusion.

Dave Thompson Elkton

NFL players could afford more than $1,000

After reading that the Ravens' Deion Sanders is challenging his colleagues to donate $1,000 each to help Hurricane Katrina victims, I had to laugh. Are you kidding me? These guys get paid $1,000 per bead of sweat.

According to Sanders, he is graciously organizing these efforts hoping to raise $1.5 million. These men could donate $1.5 million each and never feel a pinch in their pocketbooks.

When it comes down to it, the professional athletes in the NBA and NFL collectively could donate more than mere fan patronage could garner.

In the same article, Ravens safety Ed Reed said, "It's a lot of clothes that we don't need. I have four, five bags packed up ready to go."

Has Reed seen the media footage of the disaster? I am sure the hungry, dehydrated people of Louisiana would much appreciate your worn-out workout clothes and jock straps, rather than a bottle of water and bread.

So, please Deion and Ed, please stop talking and do what you do best, play football and make a ton of money. Keep your generous $1,000 and used clothes.

The hard-working fans of America and the selfless volunteers will make much more a difference than the cost of your one bead of sweat.

Brooke Hare Bel Air

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