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Editorial Board

Ohio shouldn’t gamble with this prospect

A recent debate has sprung up around the idea of allowing casino gambling in Ohio. The mayors of Cleveland and Lorain, two cities looking for an economic boost, are both in favor of a law change to allow these types of institutions into Ohio.

Permitting gambling will not benefit the state in any significant manner; rather, it will merely result in a cultural decline.

Those opposed often cite moral reasons as the foundation for their arguments. While gambling addiction is a legit addiction, our stance is not a moral one. Rather, we feel it will cause a decline in the quality of the cities where these gambling resorts would be.

Currently, Cleveland is a beautiful city culturally. Any trip through Little Italy to the Art Museum, where time is spent downtown, admiring the architecture will show one that Cleveland, while it isn’t all the glitz and glamour of New York, has plenty to offer. However, there is great reason to believe this culture will be lost in the bright lights and spinning wheels of a casino. Atlantic City serves as no better example.

Instead of having an art museum that contains thousands of years worth of art, Cleveland will be known for its neon signs. Instead of little mom and pop diners on the corners and local pubs where (cheesily enough) everyone knows your name, Cleveland will have all-you-can-eat buffets of poor quality food and watered down complimentary drinks. Instead of reports about the accomplishments of our athletic teams, the nightly news will be filled with stories of little old women who won millions on a slot machine and other little old women who squandered their pension/social security for a month in one day’s time at a slot machine.

Cleveland will not be a better place with gambling.

Beyond Cleveland, any town can expect to have a cultural decline with the addition of gambling. A smaller town with less culture can still expect a large influx of out-of-town visitors desiring a one-in-a-million chance at millions of dollars. The down side is that no one treats resort towns as well as they treat their own. Thus, these smaller towns can expect higher rate of crime, particular to disorderly conduct and vandalism. Their police force will be stretched, and taxes may even need to increase to help support increased policing.

Those for gambling would point to the economic increases, but these cultural downfalls aren’t worth the money gained. The ace up the pro-gambling sleeve (pun intended) is the promise of more money for education.

In a state whose funding of education has four times been ruled unconstitutional and who has a crisis on its hands, the promise of more money for education, regardless how it is found, is tempting. Yet, it wasn’t too long ago that the state was trying to find education’s salvation in the lottery — a plan that has failed miserably. Therefore, it seems unreasonable to trust the state to use the money for education, as it has already failed to do so in the past.

Join sen. George Voinovich in preventing casino gambling in Ohio. If the urge to gamble is still great within you, then get a college degree and vow to stay in Ohio until you get a job. That’s a gamble enough.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose members are listed to the left.