Florida lawmakers are taking up the possibility of gambling reform once again in the newly launched 2015 legislative session.
In honor of that 60-day road ahead, editorial cartoonist Bill Day offers his take on one of the most contentious issues in state politics.
“While I’m not against gambling, in general,” Day says, “the great danger is addiction and how it drains the middle class and poor.”
As an example, Day uses the City of Detroit, which approved casino gambling in 1996, building three casinos over the next few years — the MGM Grand, Greektown, and MotorCity. He says the intention was to keep residents from spending money at casinos across the border in Windsor, Canada.
In 2009, Detroit leaders pledged casino revenue as collateral for a deal with banks, to secure lower interest rates, which eventually failed.
Ultimately, Day says, it was a financial disaster, and he watched as unemployment and crime soared. Detroit residents now use casinos as a way to make money from casinos designed primarily to create a constant revenue stream from outside the region.
However, casinos are increasingly becoming a way for low-income residents to earn just enough money to survive.
“Casinos all over, from Atlantic City to Las Vegas, are beginning to close their doors because of the social destruction they have caused,” he says. “Gambling addiction is a scourge.”
Day concludes that gambling “should be legal for those who can afford their losses.” In this case, he uses his talents to address the issue of gambling addiction, something Day feels “destroys economies, families, relationships, and marriages.”