Bad case of laryngitis

Bad case of laryngitis

By William Perkins
Editor, The Baptist Record (Mississippi)

There’s a segment of Mississippi’s political and business establishments that have been strangely silent for the past several years. They’ve apparently been hiding under their desks as the weak state budget exposed their lies to the people.

Remember when we were told a little legalized gambling on a few riverboats would solve all our money problems? Remember when we were told the small gambling venues hadn’t actually solved all our problems after all, but allowing massive, permanent structures over water would? Remember when we were told the multi-billion-dollar casinos over the water weren’t enough to solve our problems, but allowing them to creep onto dry land would?

The Mississippi Miracle, also known to proponents as the Gambling Revolution, turned out to be neither a miracle nor a revolution.

The gamblers, who were always about transferring as much money out of Mississippi as possible anyway, have begun to high-tail it out of the state. Once-gleaming casino complexes have closed from Tunica to the Gulf Coast, taking all those promised jobs with them — at least the mostly lower-level jobs that actually did materialize.

Members of Mississippi’s gambling/political complex apparently began to realize they had led the citizens of Mississippi on a chase for fool’s gold. They lost their voices rather quickly.

State lottery

One has to wonder where all of them are today. They haven’t been on television lately, trying to convince us that legalized gambling is an economic panacea. They haven’t been on radio talk shows, arguing that we should have gambling because everyone else has it. They’re not writing op-ed pieces in the newspapers defending their point of view.

Oh, wait. That’s right. Now they’re lifting up a state lottery to solve all our financial woes. Legalized alcohol didn’t do it. Casino gambling didn’t do it. On-shore gambling didn’t do it. Fantasy sports gambling isn’t doing it. Somehow, though, a lottery is going to save us.

Taking a toll

We are awash in legalized gambling and all the social ills that go hand-in-hand with it. What we don’t have are the economic benefits we were promised. Meanwhile, the human toll continues to mount as the mass addictive behavior that defines legalized gambling takes its toll on the good citizens of this state.

Embezzlement and theft are rife. No company or charity or institution is safe where gambling is legal. That’s a provable fact. The list of fallen Mississippians includes lawyers, bankers, teachers, law enforcement officers, and others who could not resist the lure of one of the most addictive activities known to man.

It also should be noted that all the crimes committed in the name of gambling are not “soft” crimes like embezzlement. At least one elderly woman was murdered in her home for gambling money. A couple was slaughtered in a casino elevator for their winnings.

Armed bank robbers go from the scene of their crimes straight to casinos, where they gamble away their ill-gotten gain in a matter of minutes.

Serious crimes committed in casino parking lots are too numerous to list, but include leaving children to shiver in cars in freezing weather as their parents gamble away the family food money inside.

All of this is happening in Mississippi, where we were assured by our political and business leaders that all the known social ills of legalized gambling would be tolerable given the unlimited amount of money that would come rolling in.

The truth had to come out sooner or later, though.

The truth about the proposed state lottery will eventually be known, too. Just pray that it won’t be too late this time. (Reprinted with permission)


Celebrate ALCAP Sunday, Nov. 12.

Alabama Citizens Action Program works to fight the expansion of gambling in Alabama as well as educate about the ills of gambling and the existence of illegal gambling operations in the state.