Governor Kasich has drawn a lot of unnecessary controversy to himself by standing in the way of the casino deal in Ohio where voters approved the casinos in Ohio by a slim margin. The casino lobby for a long time solicited Ohio as a possibility for gambling, and for many years I took great pride in Ohio for being a place were gambling wasn’t accepted.
I can only speak for myself, but I suspect Governor Kasich isn’t too far off from my thinking, based on his actions. So I’ll offer my opinion on gambling in Ohio as a possible window into the ethical problem Governor Kasich, in his position might be struggling with.
The Constitutional amendment for casino gambling has been floating around for a number of years. If you look at the chart below, you’ll notice that essentially the same constitutional amendment was dangled in front of voters from 2006, 2008 before finally being passed in 2009. So the vote in 2009 wasn’t a pure vote, done with the overwhelming approval of the Ohio voter. This vote was done just like school levies, where if the amendment didn’t pass the first time, then voters would just see it again a few months or a few years later. The vote in 2009 was passed by beating down the voter, attempting till those opposed just gave up realizing that bigger and bigger waves were on the horizon, and resistance was futile.
Amendment Casino gambling Passed
2008 Referendum Payday lending Failed
Amendment Casino gambling Failed
Amendment Minimum wage Passed
Amendment Casino gambling Failed
Amendment Pro-smoking measure Failed
I see the state looking toward casinos as a desperate ploy by bankrupt souls to cover costs they don’t have the courage to address any other way but by throwing money at the situation. The same people who foolishly conceive that by spending money on school levies, tend to also support infinite amounts of money poured into education, police departments, fire departments and all public services, because in their limited perspective of the world, spending money equals success. These are the same idiots that believe that spending money at a craps table, or by playing dice, or pulling the lever on a slot machine, a person can win.
It is these types of minds that have led our civilization to the condition it’s in. To understand that world, study a casino. Here in Cincinnati, the closest major casino is Hollywood Casino’s in Lawrenceburg Indiana. At first glance, this is a neat place. The parking is cheap. The drinks are cheap. The lobby is extravagant. They have an excellent, all you can eat Egyptian Temple themed buffet that is spectacular. On the way into this palace where the hotel rooms are lavish, and quite impressive, designed to lure the drunk gambler or the illicit fly-by-night lovers to relish in some nocturnal sin, there are giveaways for Harley Davidson motorcycles and other “free gifts” that are designed like insect traps to emit pleasurable thoughts only to trap the poor creature into the actual ambush. The trap is the casino itself, where a smoky room and chaotic noise greets the would-be-gambler. Once inside the temptations of great wealth lures the player to a table, or a slot where the hopes and dreams of a lifetime are placed in the fate of the randomness of dice, cards or a computer selection.
I stood in this place and watched players for well over an hour. My lack of participation was alarming to many of the employees that watched me like a coyote roaming a hen house. What I witnessed in this trap was a decadent place that feeds off the ignorance of the players. I had heard stories for years of co-workers, and some of my own employees that had gambling problems. One woman is a little black woman who was a friend of mine named, “Fuzz.” Well, Fuzz every week when I gave her a check on Friday would proclaim, “time to hit them slots!” She looked forward all week to those slot machines. She spent all her money on those things. She was perpetually broke, and bought most of her attire at dollar stores. She was even on some government assistance even though she had a full-time job. I liked Fuzz, but I felt sorry for her. I’ve known one too many people like her. When I was younger I worked with a guy named Sonny who was addicted to the race tracks in Lebanon. Sonny spent all his money on the tracks, went through at least two wives that I know of, and ended up in a trailer in South Lebanon before meeting a dismal end due to alcohol related illnesses.
Fuzz and Sonny are just the bottom feeders. They represent a modestly small percentage of gamblers in casinos, and it could be argued that if there weren’t any casinos, these self-destructive people would find other way to destroy themselves. But casinos certainly take advantage of self-destructive people. And they by their nature encourage people to become self-destructive.
U.S.50 that Hollywood Casino is built off of used to be a country road leading into downtown Lawrenceburg. As promised by developers, the casino did bring some business to the surrounding area. There are some car dealerships, restaurants, and some shopping complexes, the same ones that seem to go in wherever large groups of people are brought together. One of the fears when Lawrenceburg first brought casinos to the neighborhood was that crime would go up, prostitution would sky rocket and there’d be drug dealers on every corner. Well, that was a bit dramatic. At first glance, Lawrenceburg’s economy did improve. They have retail there they wouldn’t have otherwise because of the casinos, and the prostitution and drug use are like they are everywhere else hidden from view. But, I have family out in Indiana and used to travel U.S. 50 a few times a year to visit them and I remember when the bridge for I-275 was being built by the power plant, so that’s how far back my memory goes. Back in those days, a strip joint was a far-away place. Newport was known as Little Vegas back then and there all the derelict men that wanted fast women and all the things organized crime provided was in some far away land. Not anymore. Concepts Show Club offers topless dancing right in downtown Lawrenceburg, there have been prostitution busts in a few massage parlors, which is carefully swept under the rug, because the local politicians love having the extra tax money to throw at government services, because as we can see historically, politicians use tax money to buy votes, and when there is more tax money collected, there is more money to buy votes. Casinos are simply disguised taxes. They are ways to pull more money away from “working people” so more money can be used to buy votes.
For the casino proposed in Cincinnati there are already discussions about having a strip club near that casino. I remember when Larry Flynt first brought Hustler of Hollywood to Cincinnati and all the controversy over putting that business in Monroe, and people were up in arms about having immoral business in Cincinnati.
15 years later, Hustler of Hollywood up in Monroe is always busy, all hours of the day. My wife and I have been in there, and I really don’t see the big deal. But apparently a lot of people love porn. But is Monroe a better place because of it? No. Monroe has struggled. They have the big discount outlet mall, and Traders World, but no major business has gone in around Monroe. No big new companies. Only little retail centers.
That is the same model in Las Vegas, Vegas is shows, restaurants, hotels, but how about those manufacturing jobs that actually employee people, not in service jobs, but production jobs? Why do people go to Vegas? Prostitution is legal in Nevada. So they go there for that. They go there to gamble, and maybe catch a glimpse of Area 51. But do employees go Vegas to produce, or to sell themselves?
That requires a different definition of employment. Does the employee get paid to make something, or do they simply entertain for the sake of amusement. For instance, a grill cook at Wendy’s makes a burger so he exchanges his time and contributions to the construction of a hamburger. But what about a casino owner, what are they producing? They are producing jobs, but what kind of jobs? The product a casino produces is hope. The cocktail waitresses do deliver the drinks from the bar, where the bartender makes the drink. But the function of both is to diminish the senses of the customer so they spend more money on hope. And those are the types of jobs casinos bring to a community. Yes, they do create jobs, but they do so by being a parasite to the community they serve. Casinos are like sex to what production oriented business is to romance. Sex is quick and easy. Romance can take a whole evening or even a weekend. Sex is tearing off the cloths of your mate on a beach in some exotic location after four or five drinks at the bar. Romance is having your mate go out to dinner without her underwear, and letting her know through the evening that you know it, but you don’t touch her. You go to dinner, you go to your movie, you behave respectfully showing restraint, then when it comes time to do the deed, you make it last for a couple of hours. However in the minds of some, sex and romance is the same thing and these are the same people who think casino business and regular business is the same thing. They are not.
Most business owners I know would prefer not to have strip clubs and casinos near their businesses because they provide temptations to employees to take too long at lunch, and to waste their money. An employee with empty pockets and a desperate heart is an unreliable employee. They cost an employer in thousands of uncalculated ways. It’s one thing when a casino is in some out-of-the-way place, because it takes effort and planning to get there, because casinos are subconsciously looked upon as places of low quality. The casino in Davenport Iowa when I visited that city years ago cheapened in my eyes the entire state, because it said to me that the state was desperate for money, that the political leaders took the cheap sex route no different than porn as a way to solve their financial problems. I thought the same thing in Kalamazoo Michigan when I saw casinos there. It said to me, “I’m desperate for money, so desperate that we seek to drain every last dime out of our local economy and the people that support it.” And we all feel the same way about Vegas. It’s cheap, sleazy, and speaks of raw sex. That’s why it’s so popular for bachelor parties to go to Vegas. Men don’t go there to be good. They go there to be bad.
So why would we want casinos in Cincinnati or anywhere in Ohio? Why would casinos attract big business to Ohio? Have casinos attracted large firms to Las Vegas? Is Microsoft and Silicone Valley seeking to relocate to Vegas? How about all the big car companies of the world? Are they flocking to such regions?
No. People who like casinos like to go to them, but they don’t want the sins of their illicit behavior to be a constant reminder to the thousands of dollars they lost, or the girl they bought to give them a “hand job” in some dark corner of a strip joint. They want to go back to their homes at the end of the night, far away from their sins and sleep with there nice wife, while their children sleep safely in the next room, far away from their improprieties.
So casino planners that speak of urban development being solved by casinos are extremely short-sighted. If anything, downtown Cincinnati would become even more of a temporary tourist destination. Why would residents want to move next to a casino in a multi-million dollar real-estate development? They won’t. People who can afford such things will still fly to Vegas, so they don’t have to stare their sins in the face every day from the balcony of their homes.
So if I were the Governor and I knew that the constitution of Ohio had been beat into submission by thousands of weak souls what didn’t put it on the ballot just once, but three times since 2006 and I knew that the casino deal is a very progressive plan to implement on the state, I’d drag my feet too, or I would at least not make it easy for them. I wouldn’t want those businesses desiring to bring casinos to Ohio to feel comfortable with using Ohio and its people to just rob and loot the wealth of our communities, without making them jump through hoops to test their sincerity. But that’s the problem with fairness. The right thing is to show equal opportunity to all business no matter if you like it or not. The marketplace needs to decide what succeeds or fails, and government has no place in the regulation of such things even if the business is evil and vile.
So whatever Kasich’s motives are, he shouldn’t be using regulation to discourage casinos from setting up shop in Ohio. But I cannot be angry with him, because the casinos themselves, and how they came to be are progressive institutions that I find repulsive and they should have went away when voters said in 2006 that they didn’t want casinos in Ohio. Instead, they did as all government does when they don’t get their way, just as in school levies, they just kept putting it on the ballot until resistance to them gave up, and the amendment passed. That’s how we obtained casinos in Ohio, under the strong-armed tactics of thugs, corrupt politicians looking for a financial bail-out from all the votes they’ve purchased with tax money and out-right-thieves that are licking their lips to take all the money they can from the weak, like my friend Fuzz, and Sonny till there is nothing left but a corpse.
So with all that said, I’m still a fan of John Kasich. It’s not an excuse to abuse a government position even if in his mind it is to right an evil. But in the face of all the evil present in the situation, I’ll give him a reassuring pat on the shoulder for only being human.
For the rest, those small little minds that are so enticed with bright lights, cheap 19 year old women and their bare breasts, and the fantasy that wasting your night in a casino constitutes nightlife, nothing can help you. You are the same people that believe in collective bargaining as a right given to you by FDR. You are children of LBJ’s Great Society and seek to cover the sins of not only your deepest desires, but your political subscription to that mythical society paid for by the future. You’re guilt causes you to endorse policies you know are wrong because the guilt of your poorly lived lives is too great for you to carry alone. So you seek easy money through casinos to lessen your burden.
You are the same people who seek to repeal S.B.5, because should the curtain be taken away from the shell game you and your generation have used for years to hide your deeds described above, there will be no place else for your guilt to reside, but in the mirror. So keep signing those petitions and try and erase S.B.5 from the books, and continue to solve your big government ideas with casinos and higher taxes, because you will not leave this earth with less of a burden, but with the knowledge that you have not only bankrupted us all financially, but morally as well. Keep signing those petitions! I will make sure everyone remembers who the villains are.