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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Missouri bill is a bad bet for gamblers

Monday, May 7, 2012 | 10:25 a.m. CDT

When Missouri legalized casino gambling in the early 1990s, it came with certain restrictions, both geographical and monetary.

Casinos had to be actual vessels, limited to certain rivers.

And no high-rolling here: Gamblers’ losses were limited to $500 every two hours.

Both of those restrictions vanished in the ensuing years. Now the casinos want to take another big step: They want to be able to make loans to their patrons.

Yes, they’re serious. They want to allow people to gamble with borrowed money. With little fanfare or debate, a measure to that effect was attached to a banking bill in the House and endorsed 13-1 by the House Financial Institutions Committee.

Rep. Scott Largent, a Clinton Republican who is sponsoring the measure, has said the change would eliminate an inconvenience for high-rolling athletes and others who find it inconvenient to carry $20,000 or $30,000 in cash.

Supporters note that casinos in Illinois are allowed to make loans to patrons — and on the eastern side of the state, high-rolling gamblers go to Illinois, rather than to Missouri facilities.

Well, Illinois is not usually offered as an exemplar of wise public policy, and this would serve as one more example. Willingness to put borrowed money at risk in a casino is a classic sign of gambling addiction. Allowing such loans would exponentially worsen the social consequences.

Casino loans for gamblers is a truly bad idea, and the measure should be killed.

Copyright Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.


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Comments

Richard Saunders May 7, 2012 | 3:11 p.m.

What's the problem? This model has worked extremely well on Wall St. over the last twenty years. In fact, without this model, Wall St. wouldn't even exist anymore*.

(*Because at this point, it's just a handful of super-computers trading stocks back and forth every few seconds with your retirement money)

We should all be happy such financial inventions exist to keep our economy, and thus, our country strong. Just think of the benefits we'll reap once we transferred yet another source of under-utilized credit into debt (which is how all new money is created).

Simply put, this means more money for everyone. Especially the children.

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