Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Your letters, July 12, 2004
Stop the casino

The overwhelming commercials on the build-up of Rockaway Beach hide several important facts. In l992, Missouri voters approved excursion casino boats on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. In 1998, another vote was taken that allowed boats to be in moats l,000 feet from either river, and to allow the casinos to offer games of chance (slot machines), the most highly addictive form of gambling, especially attracting the elderly, the poor and the young. Now we are asked to vote again on Aug. 3 to change the Constitution to allow a casino to be built on Lake Taneycomo, near Branson, Mo. If this bill were to pass, every lake in Missouri would be open to the possibility of having a casino on its bank.

We all know of people who have lost their homes, families, life savings and self-respect because they have been lured by the casinos. Every month the newspapers tell us that casinos draw $1 billion from the residents of this state -- money that would usually circulate in the local economy. Taxes that are generated fall far short of meeting the social costs that result: bankruptcies, embezzlements, broken homes, shattered lives, more police protection, etc. Think very deeply on whether you wish to cast your vote approving this "easy" way to get rich, especially if you are inclined to pity the poor people of Rockaway Beach who, incidentally, live just 20 miles from a great job market -- Branson.

Ruth Speh
St. Louis County