Quasi-Indefatigable Xenolith


Peddling Racinos And Selling Souls

If someone offered you a million dollars to put something in your town that was going to sicken and deform everyone over the course of twenty years, would you take the money and cheer the news?

Tucumcari has "racino" fever. Our civic leaders see big dollar signs for the public coffers (the city would be a part-owner). Locals think they will be getting a lot of new jobs. Surely, Mesalands will get a new "pit boss" program to provide education to future game-runners. All talk of the potential downsides of gambling addiction or moral degradation are hushed into corners for the larger "social goods" of jobs and tax revenue.

As usual, it ends up being about money. You must understand that pursuing and having money is the ultimate good in our society. The acquisition of money obfuscates all problems such an acquisition may ever cause. The money scraped from gambling can surely pay for whatever gambling addictions may result. On a societal level, it is a simple fiscal calculation - we will make more in gambling profits than we will put out in remediation or lawsuits.

Now, on the personal level, we are inviting people to gamble. Heck, it is a good thing for the community, right? If you get a gambling addiction, there will be help available. Will it be the best and most effective therapy money can buy? Of course not. It will be a bone to placate the anti-gambling groups. If you feel your brother or sister is not getting the help they need and you decide to sue the racino, you will find that they have deep pockets and good lawyers to prevent you from getting a dime. In the end, you or your neighbor will be screwed up and all the promises of remediation that bought your willingness to have a racino in town will vanish. Score one for the forces of power and gain - score zero for you or your friend with a gambling addiction that the powerful joyously feed upon.

I can't go into any of our convenience stores without having to wait an extra few minutes for the people in front of me to put a few dollars into the state lottery. I always hoped that most people didn't buy lottery tickets, but my common experience is that nearly everyone who goes to our convenience stores buy a lottery ticket as well. There is some advertising to do this, but it doesn't seem too obtrusive. I can easily avoid the lottery and I bet there are others that are not taken in.

How much harder will it be to avoid the racino? They will have cheap food and cheap rooms. Our non-racino restaurants and motels will suffer a bit, but those who lose their jobs that way can find new ones at the racino, which are designed to draw eaters and sleepers onto the casino floor, starting them with cheap slots and drawing them into higher-stakes games over time. It is so convenient and easy - you were just going out to dinner or taking advantage of some "locals" discount at the gift shop. It is helped by the fact that your friends work there and they may hand out incentives as well - "I get a discount and I can get it for you as well." Evil is nothing but generous when future money is involved.

There is a simple answer for this when the real costs of supporting a racino come home to roost - we as a community begged for it. Once our government is addicted to the kick-backs and tax revenues, they will be a supporter and defender forevermore, along with business people that take advantage of racino-related contracts. These are the decision-makers and they will never walk away from a "sweet deal". The city "fathers" will be on various racino boards, enjoying power and prestige (and often money) that comes with that. It constitutes a drug for the rich and powerful, who already ran things before and will do whatever is required to keep the gravy train running.

You, as a mere potential consumer of the racino, are only worthwhile as you spend your money as desired by the racino. No one in a position of authority wants you to stop spending. They don't want you to stop spending and every effort they must take to "help" you with your gambling problem will be ineffective on the ground, where you live. When your "therapist" is a paid stooge of the racino, there will not be much resolution for you. Keep spending, but do it "responsibly". Don't spend your "food" money on gambling, they will tell you, while giving your food vouchers for the whole family to the "economical" racino buffet. They will addict your kids to gambling in the name of "helping" you.