Today’s sermon, members of the choir, will be upon the twin topics of gambling and guns. Now, I know that people don’t like to be told how to conduct their lives, but it needs to be done.
Both gambling and guns destroy lives. Yes, there are times gambling can lead to great fortune and make life better. And, yes, there are times that guns can save lives.
Yet, most of the time, gambling does little to improve a life and can easily ruin it for an entire family. Guns are created to take lives. And unless you intend to skin, butcher and eat your victim, a gun is a danger to your family and neighbors.
Now, State Representative Todd Huston, R-Fishers, has introduced a bill with the potential to allow casinos to be built anywhere in Indiana. This is exactly the kind of legislation Gov. Pence and his party in the legislature should be supporting. It brings free enterprise and more competition to the gaming industry.
If gaming is good, a desirable enterprise in our society, it should be subject to very limited regulation. Portland and Sullivan should have the opportunity to have casinos, just as they may have donut shops and tanning salons.
In fact, from Hammond to Hanover, every bank machine could easily be a slot machine operated by your debit card. The bank could increase earnings by taking a small fee off each gaming transaction and returning 100 percent of the accumulated bets to players. It’s just another banking transaction: making impersonal transfers of funds between indeterminate players.
Existing casinos will huff and puff-up their lobbying efforts to protect the weakening monopolies they were granted by Indiana. But why should the state interfere with acceptable businesses in this fashion? If gaming is, as some insist, just recreation, then it should not be treated differently from bowling lanes. Government does not limit how many bowling lanes can exist in our state or your community.
Rep. Huston is on the right track. If gaming is acceptable in Evansville, outside New Albany, farther east along the Ohio River and on or near Lake Michigan, then why not on the Maumee, the St. Joseph, the Wabash, the White, the Eel and the Tippecanoe rivers?
Currently, the Legislature is concerned about shoring up existing casinos as they face more inter-state competition. One proposed solution is to allow land-based casinos and additional gaming options at racinos (race tracks with limited gaming). Why not go further? Open the gates; let the freedom to destroy your life ring throughout the Hoosier Holyland.
Shouldn’t visitors to Bloomington have the chance to find reward and excitement when they visit IU for a football game? A Bean Blossom Creek Casino just makes sense.
Next week we’ll get around to the topic of guns. I just couldn’t stop once I got on a lucky roll.
Mr. Marcus is an economist, writer, and speaker who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.