maserati/billionaires 2004/
Warren Buffett
Nebraska's internationally
respected investment
expert speaks on gambling

--exerpts taken from a thirty
minute interview with Nebraska's

Gambling with the Good Life
on September 15, 2004.

"Addictions produce crime. If you have a large group of people who are addicted to drugs, you'll have more crime. If you have a large group of people who are addicted to gambling, you'll have more crime. People get into impossible situations when they get addicted to something like that. And some people will opt for crime, some will opt for bankruptcy, some may commit suicide."

"I think for the state of Nebraska particularly, the state I love--my family's been here since the 1860s--I think for the state to essentially prey upon its citizens, create more of these addictions: I just think it's wrong."

"Omaha is prospering. The argument is made that all these people are going to Iowa. I would say this. If you had a house with a nice lawn and you had a neighbor and they had a chihuahua and that dog occasionally strayed over to your lawn and fouled the lawn, your reaction would not be to go out and buy a Saint Bernard. You don't need more of it!"

"There are people in Nebraska--I get letters from them--that become addicted to gambling by going across the river. But I guarantee you that if you open up the flood gates to casinos and various concentrations of slot machines across the state you will have multiples of the number. You will have the Saint Bernards of addicts as opposed to the Chihuahua's of addicts that presently exist."

"I get the greatest kick out of this "Keep the Money in Nebraska" name attached to people who want to bring casinos here because [there are] two propositions out there and the greatest amounts of funds for each of them is coming from institutions in Nevada."

"Assume that Nebraskans had this and our Nebraska citizens overall lost $100 million . . . . Some of the money will go to the state. That's like a tax. It comes right out of the citizenry and it doesn't do any development at all. Some of the money will go for operations. And the rest of the money will go for profits. Sponsors of both of these [casino proposals] are out-of-state corporations, so you're not talking about development for Nebraska when you talk about transferring money to Nevada and the state."

"I think it's cynical on the part of the state to raise money from people who basically can't afford it by promising them a dream that is not going to come true for any but the tiniest tiniest fraction of the people who participate, and that causes people to get into the kind of trouble I hear about every day."

"If Nebraskans lose, pick a figure, $100 million, if casinos come in--the number would undoubtedly be larger than that, based on Iowa--but if they lose $100 million, that's $100 million they don't have to spend on food and toys for their children and movies and everything else. Those are the letters I get. These are people who have been tapped out. It's all gone. In many cases they've run up balances on their credit cards and, frankly, when I write these people back I often advise them, 'Just take bankruptcy.' They don't really have an alternative they're in so deep.
The position of the state of Nebraska should not be to create a whole lot more people who are in that position."

"For every lucky person there are hundreds of thousands who just keep feeding the kitty and, net, it's a big loser for the citizenry."

"It's certainly clear that a given percentage of people will become addicted and use money they've got no business using, and that percentage is not a small percentage."

"You're teaching your citizenry all the time by the actions you take as legislators and as administrators of a state like this. Essentially to teach you that the state is on the other side of the transaction from you--they're trying to get you to do something dumb--I just think the state ought to be doing things for its citizens, not do something to its citizens."

"I do not think that the state ought to be in the position of selling the needles. We're going to have drug addicts in this country, but I don't think the state ought to get in the business where it hopes there's more drug addicts and starts selling needles. And we're going to have gambling addicts in this country but I don't think that the state ought to become the sponsor of spreading that addiction."

"The kids come home and say . . . "Everybody else does it." But everybody else isn't doing it. A lot of people are. A lot of states are. But you don't have to do it. In the end the state of Nebraska can be on the side of its citizenry instead of figuring out ways of taking advantage of them. I think that's fundamental to government."

"We're not going to stop gambling. We're not going to stop people from going over to Iowa. I'm sympathetic to them because most people--an overwhelming number of them--are going to be losers . . . . Those casinos cost a lot of money to operate and it's coming out of the pockets of Nebraskans. But there would be far more coming out of the pockets of Nebraskans if we opened up throughout the state."

"If you take a million people and fifty or thirty or some number are going to change their circumstances dramatically for the better, but you're going to have the other 999,000 plus who are going to lose the ability to take their families to a movie, to buy a toy for their kid, or worse yet, become an addict and lose everything they have including their self-respect and break up their family. I just think that's a terrible trade off."

"All three of my kids learned at an early age, pulling the handle of a slot machine might have been good exercise, but it was bad economics."

"The people that I hear from every day, the people who are broke, they don't have a dime to put into this campaign. It's the people who are not going to keep the money in Nebraska but are going to take money out of Nebraska who are coming in. They're not writing checks on Omaha banks or Lincoln banks. They're writing checks, in this case, on Nevada banks."

"Having it inaccessible is a real plus when you're dealing with something that's addictive. It should not be easily accessible."

"If I were governor of this state and I had the power to have something like this take place or not . . . If I put in something that took the money particularly from low income situations, cause many of them to become addicted, cause many of them to go broke, cause many of them to have families break up: I would just say, 'We don't need it.' If somebody wants to do that in some other state, fine. But that's really not what I think Nebraska is all about."

"What we're talking about in Nebraska is increasing the supply. And the demand will grow to that and the demand is from losers."

"Every Nebraskan will have a chance to say what kind of a state they want to craft for their children. That's what the ballot is doing. And in the process they're teaching their children about the kind of state they want to have. They're teaching about what government should be about. And that's what we have a democracy for."

"There's no way that the citizens of Nebraska won't be losers if you have casinos here."

Nevada casinos are backing a deceptive multi-million dollar advertising blitz to change Nebraska's constitution. Their proposals would put at least six casinos in Nebraska. Six or more new casinos would far more than double Nebraska's gambling losses, the number of Nebraska gambling addicts, and the amounts of money leaving Nebraska's economy. Six or more casinos would create huge new taxpayer costs due to additional addictions, bankruptcies, crime and corruption.

Nebraska leaders opposed to the Nevada-backed casino proposals include:
Warren Buffet
Tom and Nancy Osborne
Governor Mike Johanns
Attorney General Jon Bruning
Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey
Former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub
Gallup Chairman James Clifton
Over 20 state senators including Jim Jensen, David Landis, Roger Wehrbein and Ernie Chambers
The Nebraska Veterans Council
The Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce
The Omaha Old Market Association
The Omaha World Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, Grand Island Independent, Kearney Hub, Fremont Tribune, Norfolk Daily News, Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Aurora News-Register and other Nebraska newspapers

Please Vote NO on all casino proposals on the ballot.