Monday, October 18, 2004

Who is in bed with whom?

I guess politics will be on my mind until after election Tuesday and that depresses me almost as much as the thought that Christine Gregoire might be my next governor. Today’s thought center on what strange bed-fellows politics make.

I had a nice little visit with my local casino late last week. I had never been in this particular establishment. It is a small place with a restaurant and about 15 card gaming tables. I was the only one sitting at my table an d I was having a nice discussion with the dealer who had inquired as to the casino at which I most frequent. I explained that while I was a card player my wife is a slot machine maniac and so I have to travel to an Indian tribe owned casino where slot machines are legal. Unfortunately this casino is about an hour away whereas the establishment I was currently in was only 20 minutes away. I like to have a nice clean casino just close enough that it is convenient when I want to go but far enough away so that I don’t have to deal with any craziness.

The discussion with my dealer began to center around a proposition on the Washington state ballot regarding slot machine legalities. Initiative 892 calls for the le3galization of video slot machines which are taxed in order to reduce property taxes by an estimated 400 million dollars a year. Now perhaps gambling isn’t the best of things in the world; it isn’t as wholesome as milk or Julia Roberts but in a state where we already have casinos on tribal lands and card based casinos down the street, as well as lottery tickets available in any major grocery store, slot machines that help reduce taxes seem like a good thing. I have heard the same advertisement run on the radio hundreds of times over the past month warning me that the initiative does legalize slot machines which are described as “electronic scratch tickets” by the advertisement. I had assumed these ads were really sponsored by the moral majority right, a hypocritical group that I despise. However, I came to understand from the casino employee that not only was the group fighting the act but the Indian tribe casinos were fighting it as well. Of course, they want a monopoly on the business and would lose it if this act gets passed.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the sliminess of it all but I continue to be amazed by what politics and money will make people, including myself, do.

Stay Happy and Healthy.


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