National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling
The 10th Annual NCALG Conference was opened by NCALG Chairman Dr. Guy Clark of NM.
Local Conference Hostess Co-Chair Barb Knickelbein welcomed the group by stating "that she would never tire of doing what is right." She and Co-Chair Kim Roman of NOcasiNO-MD were pleased to host the Conference. President of the Baltimore City Council Sheila Dixon also welcomed the group of approx. 125 to their city. Twenty-five speakers followed this introduction and warned of the problems with gambling.
1. Richard C. Leone, former member of NGISC Commission, got a smile from the audience when he stated that "government sponsored gambling would be a dirty little secret if it were little. I think the fight you are in is one of the most important fights in this country. No one is more influential today in state government than gambling. As a member of the NGISC Commission, all nine of us talked about what we were doing to our children. At one point we were all united in voting that a moratorium on all gambling was needed. After constituents got to some members, final vote passed at 5-4."
2. Bernie Horn, a lawyer in Washington DC was the moderator of a Panel of two lawyers. He invented NOcasiNO-MD in 1995 and learned that with persistence and hard work gambling can be stopped.
3. Cornelius Murray, lawyer, said that "I realize the dark underside of gambling. You will be accused of being anti-job, etc. if you oppose it. It is important to just focus on the question: Is it legal or not?"
4. Terry Noffsinger, lawyer from Evansville, IN is involved in a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of David Williams. On Oct. 22, 2003 his case will have a hearing in Chicago, IL. Mr. Williams lost everything he owns at Casino Aztar. Casino Aztar knew David was over his head. He used his "Fun Card" - which is player tracking. "Not until this case did I realize the harm in gambling. Help is on the way."
5. Dan Ireland, first NCALG 1994 Chairman, led the panel of state legislators. He helped stop the lottery from coming to Alabama. After hearing the governor's proposal, he went to work to defeat it.
6. Sen. Roy Dyson, MD urged the audience to do as much as he is doing to reach the people. If you reach them, they will reach their legislators. He is against gambling.
7. Delegate Kelli Sobonya, WV passed out a sheet "WV Gambling Legislation History 1984 to 2001".
8. Sen. Sue Tucker, Mass. said that big business is afraid of corporate tax increases. She wants to help big business fight gambling. Newspapers such as Washington Post, USA Today are pro-business & anti-g.
9. Jeff Benedict, Ct and author of "Without Reservation" said that CT was the first state to be sued on the Indian Gaming Law about the largest casino the world "Foxwoods". He is president of a group that has a website www.connecticutalliance.org. This Indian casino had slot machines that were not plugged in. They made a deal with the governor to turn on machines in exchange for 25% of revenue.
10. Jim Winkler, Gen. Board of Church & Society of the UMC- talked on "Bread and Circuses". His father fought gambling in Illinois with Rev. Tom Grey.
11. Mr. Pat Anderson, FL criminologist spoke on crime in the state of Florida.
12. Dr. Frank Quinn, SC psychologist spoke about "How Things Came to Be the Way They Are and What Happens When Video Poker Machines Disappear?" He passed out a 164 pg. publication from Mississippi Law Review, Winter 2002, called "From Mad Joy to Misfortune: The Merger of Law and Politics in the World of Gambling." He has spent 30 years in the field of addiction. SC had 37,000 video poker machines at one time more than LAS VEGAS. A state Senator changed four words in a Bill that allowed for "cash pay-outs". No one knew for 4 years. When a class action lawsuit was filed against operators, Judge Joe Anderson said "no" to them and then the machines had to go. Good news.
13. Dr. David Robertson, former NCALG Chair said that Internet Gambling is a solitary activity and Internet addiction is not recognized early by peers. In one CT study by George Ladd and Nancy Petry, in which 75% of those studied were dental patients without money, they found that 10-15% of young people in U.S. and Canada reported an addiction problem with Internet Gambling.
14. Pat Loontjer announced that economist Jon Krutz of NE has taken various studies and put them into understandable form on nine different colored papers. The set can be purchased for $5 each. This is a packet for the lay person. See "Contacts" at www.gamblingwiththegoodlife.com
15. Prof. John W. Kindt, Univ. of IL, reviewed the gambling research out there and concluded that it is all negative, negative, negative. He highlighted some legal cases pending. Attorney Steve Small of K.C. MO is challenging in court "Are the gambling machines really fair?" Phone: 816-531-6789.
16. JoDean Joy told of the family pain when son-in-law Bob spent 4 year in prison for embezzlement resulting from his gambling addiction. "I cannot tell you the real damage that was done."
17. Dan Driver, a compulsive gambler, said that machines, scratch-offs, lotteries, etc. are a "terrible, terrible thing." In his typical day he could lose $3,000 by maxing out ten credit cards on nickel electronic slot machines. His fingers would bleed and get calluses. He had to make excuses at work because after being gone for more than 20 min. they would come looking for him. "There is no profit in this, only the owners get it. Everyone else loses. Like a cancer patient, I am in remission."
18. Kim Roman was angry when Frank Fahrenkopf came to MD as a guest of the House Ways and Means Committee. He told them to not listen to the stories of addicts and their families, just statistics. Anecdotal evidence and moral stories are not valid. She says "Each anecdote is a statistic!" One member of the audience said: "If it were any other disease, we'd hold a telethon to find a cure."
19. Dr. Bill Thompson, prof. at UNLV said that the casino industry revolves around sex. Sex Clubs have bribed politicians. Three members of the County Commission will probably serve time in jail.
20. Attorney General Joseph Curran of MD said that you ought to be asking when receiving gambling money "What is the catch?". There will be rising problems with crime and more losses to businesses.
21. Barb Knickelbein and Kim Roman moderated a Panel of those involved with the Maryland 2003 Victory and workers displayed lots of posters that were used! Tom Grey energized them to expose the product". He said "this is do-able." Aaron Meisner set up website & send emails for MD group. They agreed that "if it is not good for my neighborhood, it is not good for anyone's neighborhood".
22. Bill Kearney of PA told of "The Underbelly of Casinos". I lost everything. Wrote book, "Comped".
23. Susan Abrams, Seneca Tribe, New York said that Mr. Lim (Gom Tom) sp? multi-billionaire from Malaysia backed the funding for Foxwoods and now they are dealing with him. Many problems for them when their leaders make no reports. Their leader with 6th grade educ. is chairman of gambling commission. She would like a repeal or some amendments to federal I.G.R.A. She was beaten, her neck broken, and her 2 boys threatened since 1992 because she was vocal against gambling.
24. David Robertson & Carl Bechtold told of new NCALG website. See: www.ncalg.org
25. Tom Grey concluded the conference with urging all to sell the truth with hope and confidence.
Bonnie King, NCAGE Midwest Regional Director , P.O. Box 6038, Chesterfield, MO 63006