The citizens of Maine just recently defeated an attempt to authorize a casino in the southern part of our state. Despite the fact this effort was soundly defeated, the Maine legislature will once again be dealing with another casino bill. This bill, LD 1201, would allow all federally recognized Native American tribes in Maine to secure a casino.
Some of our allies who consistently join us in our opposition to gambling expansion find dealing with Native American casino bills complicated. This is due to the fact that the tribes have on many occasion over the decades been promised some kind of accommodation regarding casinos. Legislative action over the years to remedy this has time and again been thwarted by citizen referendums denying the tribes.
Regardless of either perceived or real injustices and inconsistancies surrounding the state’s process to authorize casinos, the fact remains, any addition of casinos or other gambling expansion in our state will increase bankruptcies, divorces, embezzling, suicide, and other social costs. The Christian Civic League has been consistent in its stand against ANY gambling expansion in our state and will be opposing LD 1201 during this session.
One of my favorite quotes regarding the relationship of government and the gambling industry is from Dr. Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was Dr. Martin Luther King’s biographer:
State-sponsored predatory gambling is essentially a corruption of democracy because it violates the most basic premises that make democracy unique: that you can be self-governing, you can be honest and open about your disagreements as well as your agreements, and that you trust other people that you are in this together. That’s what a compact of citizens is. And the first-step away from it is to play each other for suckers. We’re going to trick them into thinking they are going to get rich but they are really going to be paying my taxes.