Home > All Is Well (TM), Casinos, Ohio Politics > Why Ohioans ought to vote YES on Issue 3 – Part III – “Just what do you mean by ‘discretionary,’ and ‘entertainment’?”

Why Ohioans ought to vote YES on Issue 3 – Part III – “Just what do you mean by ‘discretionary,’ and ‘entertainment’?”

30 October 2009
 

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A couple of words popped out at me in my research for this series. 

One of the words is ‘entertainment’.  From the Courant article regarding Detroit casinos, we see that two people use this word.  One is a retiree:
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 “Juanita Thomas, 62, a retired housekeeper, was playing slots on a recent weekday afternoon at the Motor City Casino, owned by Mandalay Bay and local investors.She said she goes two to three times a month and usually takes about $100. Her primary income is her monthly Social Security check.
“This is my only entertainment,” Thomas said. “It gets me away from the house. … I worked for 36 years. The money I have, I do what I want with it.” “

..and the other is a casino executive:

“If people want to gamble, they’ll gamble,” said Jack C. Barthwell III, a spokesman for Motor City Casino. “It’s entertainment.”

(emphasis mine)    Let’s think about that for a minute…

Confession-time:  There was a time when I would eat lunch at a bar (once every couple of weeks) and plunk down a couple of bucks on the video blackjack machines.  My strategy was, I’d have three or four dollars in my pockets, and only loose that much.  One time, I won twenty bucks, and a friend who was sitting next to me, watching, told me to cash out immediately.  I remember willing myself to do that.  It wasn’t easy. 

But whether I won or lost, I never left with a feeling of satisfaction.  Loosing made me want to win my way back to a break-even position.  And winning, regardless of whether I had won my way back to a break-even position, or came out on top, made me want to win big.  Each time, I left the machines with regret, and quite often, shame

That’s not the way we usually think of entertainment, is it?  When you go to a movie, and the movie is good, regret is not in sight.  You feel as if you got your money’s worth, and you talk about the movie to your friends and family afterwards.  Or, when you go to a concert, well – the same principle applies. 

So if we’re honest, gambling isn’t really entertainment.  Regret and shame certainly don’t fit into the definition of entertainment

 And then there’s this one:

“Governor Deval Patrick’s proposal to introduce three resort-style casinos to Massachusetts triggered worries among some hospitality executives yesterday that large gambling and entertainment complexes would upset the state’s economic balance, stripping a big share of the restaurant and tourism market from existing businesses.

Studies show that large casinos siphon discretionary spending, beyond gambling dollars, from the local economy into their self-contained environments, which are filled with restaurants, shops, hotel rooms, and live shows.”

(emphasis mine)         In other words, people tend to spend less on dining out, movies, etc., when casinos enter the fray.  It’s curious though that the author uses the word ‘discretionary’ to talk about gambling dollars.  But as our critics have aptly pointed out (gotta hand it to the guys, folks), people don’t always gamble with money they can afford to lose.  In fact, many times they gamble with money they cannot afford to lose. 

So, it’s not discretionary spending.  Not really.  Sorry folks, but we gotta take the hit if we are to keep our integrity. 

But wait – there’s more.  Casinos are catering to families, and to the elderly.  Two groups who apparently (?) have plenty of “discretionary” income. 

Hmm, perhaps to casinos, ‘discretionary income’ is discretionary because the client spent his money on gambling, and not so much because he could afford to lose the money.  That’s kind of silly, don’t you think?

 So, now we’re more educated.  And when the critics get in our faces for voting yes on Issue 3, and offer up the argument that by definition, gambling isn’t entertainment, and by definition, people don’t spend discretionary income on gambling, you’re philosophical position will be all the more stronger.  Because you see, you’ve already rejected the false premises of the gambling executives and the little old ladies who foot the bill, alike.

There you have it.  Two more reasons why you can vote yes on Issue 3, are that you are as smart as the casino critics, and smarter than gambling executives. 

So there.

We’ll conclude the series in the next article, where we examine the ultimate reason to vote yes on 3. 

– Elder

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