Thursday, May 25, 2006

We Don't Want Gaming in Jackson County

Read how gambling begets millions of ignored addicts, the social cost of problem gaming, and how prevention and treatment money is in short supply in the Meridian Star's 3 part article.

At least Barbour understands that NO means No, according to an article in the MS. Press he will not support gaming in Jackson County. I find it ironic that Jackson County which voted against gaming keeps getting asked if they changed their minds yet, but Harrison & Hancock County which voted yes haven't been offered the opportunity to change their minds now that they see first hand the ills gaming can bring to a community.

If the Choctaws want a casino on the coast, why not build it in Harrison or Hancock County which voted yes to gaming? Why force it on a county that voted against gaming? (find the answer in the Sun Herald)

Of course, that would mean going slot-to-slot with other casino operators, and Martin does not fancy that competitive arrangement. He would rather toss a casino into Jackson County, where casinos have been consistently rejected by voters over the years.

He would do so by parlaying his tribal status to create an island of sovereignty in or near the Sunplex Industrial Park where he could do pretty much as he pleases.

He would not have to pay taxes.
He would not be subject to the Mississippi Gaming Commission and the laws, rules and regulations it enforces and the procedures it has established.

It is one thing for that sort of arrangement to be in place on established, historical tribal lands in Neshoba County. It is quite another to inject such unfair advantages into a competitive gaming market.

Residents of Neshoba County, home of two Choctaws casinos, were not given the option to decide whether they wanted gaming, said Neshoba County supervisor Benjie Coats.
"There were some concerns," Coats said. "We had no input into it. It was just there's going to be a casino.'"
Nor were Neshoba County voters allowed to participate in the tribe's agreement with the state, according to Coats. The tribe's agreement with the state, signed by Gov. Kirk Fordice in 1992, described how the Choctaws would conduct gaming in Mississippi and the amount of compensation that would be paid to the state.

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