By Promoting Gambling, Ghiz, Leis and FOP Promote Crime
A statement released today by City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz makes it clear she doesn’t want Cincinnatians to sign gambling petitions.
“DO NOT SIGN A PETITION TO LEGALIZE GAMBLING IN OHIO,” she wrote.
Of the competing gambling petition drives to put a referendum on the November ballot, the one that now looks most likely to make the cut wouldn’t permit gambling in Cincinnati. That’s why Ghiz is saying, “Don’t sign.” She wants gambling downtown.
Insisting on gambling in the Queen city will also include more job security for law enforcers. Apparently they, like Ghiz, haven’t had their fill of crime yet.
“Council passed a resolution in May stating their support of a casino at the Broadway Commons location in downtown Cincinnati,” Ghiz wrote. “Since then Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis and the F.O.P. have come out in support of this initiative.”
If an organized crime syndicate were to offer the sheriff or the chief of police money for more staff or computers, it’s a pretty good bet that they’d turn the money down — not just because it would look bad, but there would be a serious conflict of interest in taking money from criminals.
Yet, council, the sheriff and the F.O.P. want to take tax money from an institution that will bring more crime and criminals to the city, not to mention enabling compulsive gamblers. Granted, the money will be laundered through a legitimate government agency — the IRS — so it looks clean.
“A slot parlor in Cincinnati would generate an estimated $22 million in tax revenue for the city of Cincinnati, plus an additional $18 million for Hamilton County,” Ghiz wrote. “Southwest Ohio cannot afford to let this opportunity pass us by. We must work to oppose the Learn and Earn gambling initiative.”
Where is the list of other opportunities that come along with gambling?
• The number of aggravated assaults in gambling counties, for example, increased by 112 five years after casinos opened. One reason may be that the slots and tables attract unsavory characters.
• Compulsive gambling and the development of associated problems, such as excessive alcohol consumption or drug abuse.
• Gabling addiction includes changes in personality — anger, irritability, sarcasm, depression.
• Gambling operations, including card rooms, earn large amounts of cash and present particular opportunities for skimming and money laundering .
When does the political campaign rhetoric of reducing crime and improving our city trickle down in the decision making process by seriously weighing the full impact of public policy, not just on tax revenues?
Check back next election season to see if Ghiz and other gambling supporters are touting their efforts to get slots in this city as a good thing or a bad thing. That might help answer the question.
— Margo Pierce