If you’re like me, your inbox if just about flooded with Issue 3 (Casinos) nonsense. I was surprised to see my old employer ProgressOhio take a stand on this one. It doesn’t really seem like a core Progressive value, this gambling is evil and must be stopped mantra.

What surprised me further, is their reliance on John W. Kindt. Kindt, framed by PO as a “nationally acclaimed gambling expert“, could more accurately be portrayed as a “nationally known anti-gambling zealot”. It’s not like his research is flawed or he’s gone down the “legalized gambling is a national security threat” road or anything. LOL

Dude’s analysis is faulty on face and it’s apparent he’s a wee bit of a whack job. His most famous assertion, now parroted by both ProgressOhio and the Dispatch’s Joe Hallett, is some nonsense about slot machines taking in an average of $100,000 which will then not be used to buy cars. Hallett jumping on a Rothenberg cause? NO WAY! I know. I know. The routine is getting old.

Dave Harding (ProgressOhio Online Director extraordinaire), leads right out with the faulty 100k logic in his latest post on the issue. The logic goes like this. Each slot machine takes in an average of $100,000 a year. That money can’t be used to buy stuff. You know, like cars. Or maybe a flat screen TV. Food maybe? Clothes. People will have to walk naked and go hungry!

For shame!

The problem of course, with the logic, is that the machine takes in that $100,000 from many different people. Not one of them dropped enough in the machine to have bought a car or TV if they had not played it. Maybe a dinner or a new pair of jeans, but this $100,000 scare number makes you think someone just dumped an annual salary in an evil slot machine.

You’d have to be inherently ignorant to buy into such argument. I give the machine $100 maybe and that lady over there gave it $40 and that other dude gave it $50 and at the end of the year $100,000 went through it. All of us, most likely, still have our card and tv sets and food and clothing.

Let me be clear here. I’ve asked a great many people about the ballot language and I think it’s pretty much a bad deal. I’m for allowing casinos to operate in Ohio and very much would love to play some 2-4 limit hold’em in a downtown Cbus casino or even better yet some big multi-player tournies. I’m not sold on this being the best way to go about it.

But to go down this road of “OMG EVIL GAMBLING” is disingenuous and intellectually inconsistent for an organization like ProgressOhio. If they thought “legalized gambling” were such a problem, they should have been fighting the lottery for YEARS now. Yet, all Harding does is argue that the lottery is “a much more convenient form of gambling in that it’s at the convenience or grocery store or gas station“.

You need look no further than this post to realize the abject lack of self awareness at an organization that will hammer away at evil gambling and give John W. Kindt the floor only to also point out that a reason to vote against a gambling issue is that another gambling concern will lose jobs! The Ohio Harness Horseman’s Association is against a competitor!? NO WAY!!

OMGLOL. Seriously. Please don’t vote to have casinos in Ohio because gambling is bad, but let’s help save the horse racing industry which provides Ohio with much needed jobs. You can’t even make this shit up.

So. Question is. When will ProgressOhio and other opposed to Issue 3 begin to focus on the nature of the ballot language and give up this disingenuous argument about gambling being evil? I mean, you either come out AGAINST gambling on which little horsey makes it to the finish line first or that all my numbers will match the ones on TV or you stop the dishonest attacks on casinos and focus on the real issue.

When will ProgressOhio start a petition to end the state lottery and gambling on horses in Ohio? Afterall, they hurt the poor right?

Kindt also argues that we should get rid of lotteries as well (Claims they target the poor and are racist:


You’ll note no argument, zealot, or research cited by ProgressOhio or other Issue 3 opponenet about how current legalized gambling (the lottery) impacts the poor. It’s not like it’s hard to find.

I’m interested if anyone knows more about John W. Kindt. He sounds like a wingnut and given Focus on the Family also cites him and he’s been on Curtis Sliwa’s show, it’s likely he is. Forward what you find or know to me at eric@plunderbund.com

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  • anastasia p

    I’m always leery of moral arguments. People shoul decide for themselves how to spend their entertainment dollars, which is mostly what this would be, barring a minority of gambling addicts (not to say that’s not a problem but still …).

    There is one good, solid argument against Issue 3. It’s a constitutional amendment written by a set of vusiness interests to benefit those business interests, not the interests of the citizens of the state. It creates a monopoly and sets terms. This is a debasement of our constitution. And it always comes down to the yes/no campaigns being all about who is going to get the gambling and who is not. It’s about sets of business interests warring with each other. The only thing that benefits the citiens is a vote to repeal the ban on gambling and then negotiating the most favourable terms, if gambling is what you want.

    The other thing I’m leery of is gambling being held out as an economic panacea (or for that matter, as a social evil). Calling the issue “Jobs and Economic Growth” is an insult. It will probably create a handful of jobs and move others from now-closed local leisure businesses to the casinos.

    These issues are always about the self-interest of the would-be gambling operators.

  • I agree with you Anastasia and was fine with the whole thing until the morality and fear mongering began to rule the day in opposition of this.

    To be consistent, opponents now have to line up against both horse race wagering as well as the lottery. I won’t hold my breath.

    I agree about repealing the ban. THAT is what makes sense to work for, but it’s all just arms flailing trying to win an issue at this point. Nobody really wants to speak to the issue, just invite zealots in and have them go on about their books and research.

  • I agree that even if a person favors legalizing gambling, this constitutional amendment proposed by Issue 3 is the wrong way to do it. There are no effective checks and balances one can use against the constitution, no matter how poorly the amendment worded and no matter how many loopholes are built into it. The only way to avoid the flaws is for voters to cast a “NO” vote.

    Having said that, I’m a blogging opponent who HAS opposed all forms of gambling, including horse racing and the lottery, not just the casino initiatives. (one example: http://buckeyerino.com/2009/09/18/gambling-buys-politicians/) Heck, I don’t even play bingo or buy raffle tickets to support charity. When I support charity it’s by way of donation, not by way of gambling.


    i’m all for issue#3 I will vote YES!.



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