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The Op Ed in the Herald Leader by unsuccessful Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Lexington Attorney, Larry Forgy sure does describe some of the HUMAN COST of gambling! At one point Mr. Forgy relates the ill mostly true of gambling.
The report by Forgy, of the number of gamblers does not show what national stats show: Kentucky has approximately 35,000 addictive gamblers, and another 70,000 that are soon to be addictive, but until they lose it all, house, a family and their job, keep on believing the lie . . . gamblers can win a lot of money for nothing. In reports I read, and there are many, the national average for those become addicted to gambling is four percent. Kentucky has a little over four million residents. If half of those taxpayers decide their easy way to riches is gambling, then the number, including the additive and problem gamblers will rise well over one hundred thousand. It would seem with hard copy evidence, readily available of the facts, our Governor would look at the real issue and the Kentucky’s cost of treating addictive and problem gamblers before getting his panties in a wad over the lack of budget money.
To say it does not matter where the money from gambling is given . . . is misguided. It is hard to tell if Attorney Forgy is pleasuring a campaign speech or opposed to gambling PERIOD. Attorney Forgy has stated the larger amount of the gambling proceeds that will go to the tracks and the amount Kentucky could expect to get, if the gamble issue raises its head again. To be sure it will and is mostly for future RACINOS. Why else is our Governor seeking out greedy, financially insecure members of the General Assembly, all Republicans, to take high paying, good retirement benefit positions in order to load the Senate with Gambling votes?
In one side of his mouth Attorney Forgy says bring on the gambling but. . . Let the state own the slots and casinos. This statement was apparently made without any knowledge of the cost Kentucky will incur by adding over one hundred thousand additive gamblers. National stats show: for each person that becomes addicted to the “easy money” it cost the government tons of money, actually hundreds of millions. For each addicted gambler four more citizens are impacted by gambling addicts. FACT: In the Casino Slot Parlors in Maryland the total cost to the government, to treat and re-habilitate addictive gamblers, is over one billion dollars per year. That figure includes the entire problem that comes with having a significant part of the state population addicted; this includes court cost, bankruptcy and other social ills. Not counting broken homes and an increase in teen suicides which increases around 3% for those residing in close proximity to CASINOS and SLOTS. MARYLAND COST IS OVER ONE BILLION PER YEAR.
Attorney Forgy, while having some substance to his comments, has no awareness of the HUMAN COST of additive gambling. In one statement Mr. Forgy tells us how gambling impacts our citizens, yet in an additional statement says it would be best if Kentucky owned the Casinos, Racinos and Slot Parlors. DUHHH? This is the statement that causes pause in the Forgy reading. What difference does it make who owns the gambling parlors . . . the HUMAN IMPACT of suffering are still the same! I see no provision by Mr. Forgy as to how much addiction cost, how to treat it? After, all gambling addicts don’t give a dang who gets the money . . . it is the Casino money they are after.
The average cost to treat gamblers, according to national stats, is between twenty four and thirty thousand dollars annual- each. Right now, with the money that has already come into our state and the threaten organization of KEEP to support those in politico that are for GAMBLING, this next push for gambling will be heavy loaded with Horse Owner Money, Keep Money, Race Track owners and gambling paraphernalia plus . . . money from far off casinos.
The TV Ads and direct mail will be full of one side of this issue. Don’t be lulled into believing it. The numbers provided by KEEP and the LRC do not meet the needs of the established human cost and facts on gambling. The huge supporter of slots and more gambling is Churchill Downs and Keenland. Remember now, Churchill Downs is a stock company owning many race tracks. Not all tracks, owned by Churchill are doing well. Keenland, who purchased Turf Way Track, needs the future income of gambling for retirement of the debt. Yet, Keeneland is a non profit organization.
I wonder if regular income from racing at Turf Way will amortize the Keenland acquisition debt. IS IT A DEBT done for the purpose of adding income to the Keenland Foundation? The approval of additional gambling would no doubt help Keenland. Turf Way is located in Northern Kentucky which has for many years been known to be FRIENDLY TO GAMBLERS. Is unsuccessful Republican Governor Candidate, Larry Forgy addressing the GAMBLING ISSUE or . . . is he PANDERING FOR A FUTURE RUN? Something Governor Beshear should think about. The GAMBLE issue is pretty much split and that could mean votes for the GOP if our Governor continues to push for money for the affluent horse breeders. Jim Anderson Stivers Retired Project Manger, Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet.

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