Washington’s communities face new threat with Eyman’s I-892

Essay At A Glance

This November, Washington’s communities will face a formidable foe: Tim Eyman and the deceitful, scheming gambling industry, the masterminds of Initiative 892, the most massive expansion of gambling in the history of the State of Washington.

Initiative 892, if passed, would bring a horde of addictive electronic slot machines — 18,255 of them — right into our local neighborhood bars, bowling alleys, and restaurants.

Electronic slot machines, the industry’s crack cocaine moneymaker, are the most addictive form of gambling ever devised, designed to create compulsion.

With the passage of I-892, not only will electronic slot machines crop up all over Washington’s communities, but problem gambling will experience a dramatic rise.

Washington already has a serious gambling addiction problem. Last year the Washington State Council on Problem Gambling stated that we had a whopping 270,000– adults afflicted with a gambling addiction problem and potentially 44,000 teens addicted to gambling.

Now imagine those same machines at your local bar, at your local bowling alley and at your local family restaurant as you take your children and friends out for a meal.

You will NOT mistake these for a lottery ticket stand. They are loud, obnoxious, ubiquitous, and will unquestionably make their presence felt in our communities as they dramatically increase the number of gambling addicts.

As one addict to the machines said about the machines manipulative ability, the machines manipulate you into chasing your money. Even if you take a financial loss, you are under the impression you won if you receive a return.

This is something to seriously consider as people who have never gambled before are tempted to insert their money and give the machines a try on a lucky day.

According to I-892’s text, the machine distribution is partially based on creating parity between tribal governments and the players gambling industry.

So while the tribes have only 22 casinos; the non-tribal, private gambling establishments could have anywhere from 300 to 1,200 locations for the 18,225 to 19,575 new machines statewide.

Some of those locations will be readily accessible to minors, which will only increase the risk for existing problem gamblers, not to mention the people who will join the ranks of addicts.

While $23 billion will be wagered, only a few hundred million (if that) will go back to the taxpayers in the form of property tax “savings”.

But tax fairness for Washington’s families shouldn’t have anything to do with a massive expansion of gambling.

We have been stuck in this continuous, vicious cycle of the past few decades in search of gambling parity. Tribes, the for-profit gambling industry, and the government have engaged in a competition in which one of the three gets taller than the other two and then the others attempt to rebalance by raising the stakes.

If Initiative 892 is implemented, the tribes will demand (and possibly receive) permission to deploy new forms of gambling to replace the lost revenue.

They’ll ask for new technology instead of being able to diversify and potentially desist in gambling activity for their economic self-reliance as has been the case after previous gambling expansion.

The state legislature can also either modify the initiative to replace lost state lottery funding, expand the state lottery with a new gambling gadget to replace the lost revenue, or both.

Thus, the vicious cycle repeats itself because the private gambling industry that likes to mask its true nature with the politically correct, benign sounding term of gaming will want to increase the pot.

In other words, increased competition and attempts to outdo the other players will result in expansion of gambling.

Communities get stuck with the consequences of this initiative. All of us will suffer from an increase in problem gambling; all of us will suffer economically as money is siphoned by out of state and foreign gambling conglomerates, and all of us suffer when youth increasingly rely on gambling as a way to escape their problems.

Don’t allow Tim Eyman and the gambling industry to seduce you with the lure of a property tax cut. Don’t be fooled into supporting the most massive expansion of gambling in Washington State history.

Vote NO on I-892 and protect the quality of life in your local community.

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