The National Security Agency is located 5 miles or so from Laurel Park, where Maryland's politicians have planned to open a casino with computerized slot machines which incorporate lots of Pavlovian conditioning to keep the players on the machines. The gambling industry speaks, among themselves, of getting players "to play to extinction." Can anybody imagine the danger to our national security IF even one presently loyal employee of the National Security Agency "plays to extinction"?
Such carefully-psychologist-designed machines should not be lined up in a casino within 100 miles of our National Security Agency—even as we have no doubt that 99.99% of the employees would not be tempted excessively. We do know that most people who will sell out their nation—our country or somebody else's—do it for money, not ideology. Frequently, they have done it for a combination of financial reasons, and gambling is among those recognized over time.
Besides that, we know that every state which has introduced casinos, slot machines, etc., has been "informed" ahead of time by the highly organized gambling industry how much money the state will "earn". We recognize that the figures cited by the tightly-run gambling companies are always much higher than what's earned. Maybe a state will make 40% or 50% or 60% of what the gambling corporation "informs" the state ahead of time. If a state is uncharacteristically lucky, it might, in good financial times and with less "market saturation" of gambling machines, make two-thirds of what the industry tells its polticians ahead of time.
Meantime, localities discover traffic jams around new gambling centers, and heavy demands on old sewer systems (predicted in particular for the infastructure serving Laurel Park). There suddenly are discussions of expensive improvements to roads and newer, bigger water mains and other infastructure.
The Maryland General Assembly did not write any new funding for education into the proposal last year—since the politicans and gambling industry lobbyists were eager to pressure various groups into supporting the Referendum. "Promising" money to State-funded organizations if they supported the Referendum without any written guarantee was a way to push organizations of teachers and others to support this Amendment to the Maryland Constituton.
Anybody who has even casually listened to advertisements and politicans knows that the money which is supposed to come, in a few years, from slot machines to the State Treasury has been informally, conversationally, "ear-marked" numerous times over. The gambling establishments could never bring in the exaggerated, many-times-over, claimed, advertised, and rumored benefits for the horse racing industry, for senior citizens, for police and fire protection, for public schools, for the Maryland Teachers Pension Fund, to underwrite health care for needy residents, and everything else.
Meantime, we know that one-third of the money will go to the owners of the gambling corporations—those people who contend they will be performing such a public service for the State. And, where's the owner of the big company that Maryland plans to let run gambling establishments here? Canada. That's what these proponents of Question 2 call "bringing money into Maryland." That is what these endorsers of the Amendment to our State Constitution call "keeping the money in Maryland."
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This story was published on November 3, 2008.