Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Why We Should Vote to Stop Slots

This is a speech made by longtime Democratic activist and County Council member, Esther Gelman, on September 24 against slots (Question 2) at the meeting of the precinct officials of the Democratic party. Ms. Gelman was one of seventeen members of the Ballot Advisory Committee to review all of the ballot questions in advance of the vote of the precinct officials. For details on the votes for all questions go to Marc Korman's posting from last week.

PRESENTATION TO PRECINCT CHAIRS MEETING, SEPTEMBER. 24, 2008 – By Esther P. Gelman, Former President of Montgomery County Council

Thanks to Elliot Chabot for his excellent job in chairing the Ballot Questions Committee through long and arduous struggles.

Let's examine who we are in Maryland.

We are counted among the top 3 wealthiest states in the United States. Our workforce is, per capita, the most highly, educated, skilled in the nation – number 1. We have the most Ph.Ds, MDs, attorneys and other highly educated professionals in our state. And we, like all states in the USA today, have a deficit.

But who has largest deficit? Nevada where gambling is King. The Sands Casino has a normal income of $28 million per year. This year, they will take in less than $8 million. In an effort to raise more revenue, Las Vegas has approved the opening of Male Houses of Prostitution. In Atlantic City, 2 of Donald Trump’s gambling palaces are in bankruptcy.

By the time the gambling industry revives, the entire economy will revive!

The Ballot wording emphasizes only Education. But if the inflated figures of the Proponents are true, the Horse Industry would take in over $100 million per year. While the Slots Owners would take in over $400 million per year. So it is no surprise that the Slots industry is pouring millions into this referendum.

Esther Gelman speaking against slots; Chair Eliot Chabot is in front of her.

Impact on the Eastern Shore

Forty years ago, we outlawed slots in Maryland. We turned the shore into a thriving family vacation mecca. No wonder the business owners and the Ocean City Chamber are fighting Slots. One proposed site is 4 miles from Ocean City. They understand that every dollar put into the slot machine is one dollar less to be spent at restaurants and amusement parks in Ocean City.

Why would we return to an industry we cleaned out 40 years ago?

The Social Costs of Slots

Studies by major universities prove that social costs are $3 for every $1 taken in from slots. Addiction, destitute families and individuals, destroyed lives and careers take a terrible toll because of gambling. Proximity to slots adds to addicted individuals.

In Montgomery County, the finest organizations which deal with individuals and families in dire conditions are all opposed to Slots.

Among these organizations, to name a few:

Interfaith (formerly names Community Ministries) made up of 141 religious organizations.
Black Ministers of Prince George’s County

And civic groups:
League of Women Voters
Civic Federation

Please join me in stopping slots from coming to Maryland.

Democratic precinct officials voting against slots (No on Question 2)