Friday, July 18, 2008
Letter to the editor

Keep the loss limit

St. Louis Business Journal

http://stlouis.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2008/07/21/editorial8.html

Editor:

Your editorial July 4, "Play the cards you're dealt," sounded like you just left a pro-casino rally at Pinnacle. Yes, we all understand that Pinnacle would like the rules under which they agreed to build in Missouri changed now that they are here. But really, you shouldn't jump on their bandwagon without all the facts. Something as important as our loss limit should not be discarded for their benefit without understanding its effect on Missouri.

You pointed out that "lawmakers tossed the issue to the voters" when in fact they refused to do so. This round of gambling expansion to appear on the November ballot was brought to us by the biggest casinos in Missouri through the best initiative petition signatures money can buy! The fiscal note on the ballot suggests that new losses in Missouri due to the removal of the loss limit could be $650,000,000 annually! Add that to the present take of $1.5 billion annually, and we can all understand how casinos affect our economy.

What you don't point out is that states like Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey and Nevada who have no limit on losses experience far more crime related to gambling than we do. Drug dealers can launder money at casinos in every state except Missouri. The Assistant U.S. Attorney from Missouri's Eastern District testified that drug dealers flock to the Illinois casinos to launder their tainted money because of our loss limit law. When there are no limits the criminal element is virtually invited in for business! We in Missouri don't begin to see the high profile headlines of criminal activity in our newspapers that you find in states with no loss limit. Why would we want to give that up?

Attorney General Jay Nixon has praised our loss limit, stating his opposition to its removal, warning us of increases in the presence of "drug dealers, organized crime, bankruptcy, money laundering, loss of child support money and misuse of public funds." Why would any of us risk our families or our businesses to an increase in crime?

I always enjoy my Business Journal, but I'd be hard pressed to put my money alongside your opinion. Unrestricted gambling in Missouri will bring unnecessary harm to individuals, families, businesses and taxpayers. Our loss limit is the pride of Missouri. Let's keep it just the way it is!

Mark Andrews, Chairman, Casino Watch, Chesterfield