Have you ever thought about how improbable it is that you will win at a game of chance? One informational source indicates that a person has a 1 in 3,000,000 chance of sighting an unidentified flying object (UFO). That is almost five times more likely than winning the lottery jackpot. Statistical experts also have calculated that the odds of winning the top prize at maximum coin play on a slot machine ranges from 1 in 4,056 to 1 in 33,554,000. John Doe lives somewhere in metro Atlanta area. Try reaching him by randomly dialing one of 32 million phone numbers in the 404, 770, 678, 470 area codes of metro Atlanta. The Georgia Lottery website suggests that your odds of contacting Mr. Doe with the phone are eight times better than winning the Mega Millions Jackpot Lottery. Despite the reality the odds are stacked against the gambler and in favor of the gaming industry, there are those who do not know how to control their urge to gamble. Some will spend their last dollar, and then move on to money they don’t have by gambling with money that they should use to pay bills, credit cards, or things for their children. There are even those who become such compulsive gamblers that they feel pushed to borrow, sell, or even steal things for gambling money. It’s a vicious cycle. Gambling is not the way to recoup gambling losses. It only exacerbates the problem and plunges the addict further into debt. However, currently many of our Georgia legislators and public servants are being wined and dined by the gambling lobbyists focused on persuading them to open the door for more gambling in Georgia. The Georgia Horse Racing Coalition website proclaims, “[We] are off and running to bring the excitement and benefits of horse racing to Georgia .... Join us as we work with our state leaders to pass legislation that would allow horse racing in Georgia and make a run for the winner’s circle.”
… currently many of our Georgia legislators and public servants are being wined and dined by the gambling lobbyists focused on persuading them to open the door for more gambling in Georgia.
An article in Southern Political Report Magazine quoted Matt Towery, national syndicated columnist, as saying, “My guess is that casinos as an amendment will pass. The legislation requires a two-thirds vote in each chamber, but requires no action by the governor. I think this has been in the works for several years, basically concurrent with the Braves’ move to Cobb. While you are not hearing it, my guess is the real footprint in downtown Atlanta that fits the needs for a casino is Turner Field, which may explain Mayor Reed’s tepid response to the Braves’ exit.” Thankfully, Governor Deal signed an ethics bill in 2013 that limited the amount of money lobbyists can spend to influence the passage or defeat of legislation in a General Legislative session. Lobbyists can spend no more than $75 when they entertain a lawmaker; and legislators can no longer accept tickets to concerts or sporting events unless they pay the face value of the ticket. The Columbia County News-Times reported that there are a lot of loopholes in the ethics bill. For example, there is no limit to how many of these $75 gifts a legislator can accept. Theoretically, several lobbyists could pool their resources and provide a lawmaker with something worth a lot of money so long as no individual lobbyist chipped in more than $75. Delta Airlines can still provide legislators with free airline upgrades. Furthermore, the ethics bill provides a loophole for attorneys. A lawyer can claim that he or she is “representing a client” and would not be required to register as a lobbyist. I am fearful that there are Georgia legislators who will succumb to the suitoring of the gambling lobbyists. Can the vote of legislators be bought? How much money would the lobbyists for MGM Resorts International have to pay and how many favors would they have to grant to persuade a sufficient number of legislators to vote to build a casino at Turner Field? I honestly don’t even know if that is possible. But here are some questions for you. How much would it take to buy your vote? Could you be persuaded by gifts or favors to vote for casino gambling or horse racing? Presidential candidates raise lots of money to persuade citizens to vote for them. Can your vote for president be bought? Can your convictions be bought? My beliefs and convictions are not for sale!
Could you be persuaded by gifts or favors to vote for casino gambling or horse racing?