Negative effects of a gambling establishment
To the Editor:
Editor's Note: The following statement was given at the city council meeting on Monday evening regarding the gambling petition for Moose Lodge to be in old Ben Franklin store.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen of the counsel, my name is Mark Breese.
I have lived in Libby for the past eight years and I am here to represent LEAP which is the Libby Evangelical Association of Pastors.
LEAP consists of seven local churches that have come together to promote unity among people of similar faith backgrounds.
We as a group would like to express our deep and abiding opposition to any expansion of casino gambling such as being proposed.
We consider casino gambling to have a negative impact on the community as it undermines the work ethic and promotes an addictive life style that spreads not only into the lives of people who frequent these establishments, but into the community as a whole including the local government.
We all become complicit in the degredation of the community when we take the easy pay off from gambling money, whether it's to shore up the property tax shortfalls or to provide money for children's programs.
Gambling is often justified by the good it does, without due consideration to the negative effects.
For years this sort of business was associated with organized crime. Why? Because it is a crime.
Decriminalizing it doesn't make it any less criminal, or damaging to the community.
Gambling exploits our greatest human weakness. It is a con and a fraud. It promises what it never intends to deliver.
It does not make winners. It makes losers, and is a money making machine that feeds on greed, lust for more, and a false sense of significance.
Every dollar that is spent on gambling will not be spent on food at the grocery store, gas at the gas station, or a much needed doctors visit, or any of the other things associated with making it possible for families to function and survive, especially in an area that is already economically depressed.
Their promise is a false hope that somehow you can spend a little and receive a payout that will change your life.
I've heard from many who consider it recreational, and claim that it doesn't cause them a problem, but none of that makes it right or healthy, or good for the community.
The purpose and role of government is to promote the health, welfare and safety for all of its citizens.
We are often asked to forfeit freedom for the greater good of the community.
We could show you study after study of the economic and social ills of this enterprise.
I'm sure you are aware of, or have seen some of this stuff, but the bottom line is that statistics represent real people in this community.
We in the church are often called upon to pick up the pieces of families who find themselves in crisis. We see the fall out.
We see families that should be able to live within their means but can't because of gambling and a host of related problems.
I appeal to you on behalf of the 1,000 or more people that I represent here tonight and that live in this community, to not create more victims by approving this application.