The headline "Track officials still hold out hope for slots" (Daily Herald, June 7) tells me that the Churchill Downs people (who own Arlington) and other gambling enterprise operators continue to think that they have a divine right to place slots in their facilities to shore up, or save, their failing business enterprises. Based upon my experience working with social service agencies that serve problem gamblers and their families, I oppose all expansion of gambling. Gambling expansion is bad social policy and an irresponsible way for our mismanaged state to raise revenues.
The unending quest to place slots at Arlington is especially nettlesome because ownership perceives itself as "special" and entitled. Their argument is that slots are needed to keep the tracks and the horse-racing industry alive. That may be. However, if the basis for allotting slots is "saving businesses" then, to be fair, slots should be made available to all failing businesses not run by criminals. Sears and J.C. Penney come to mind as businesses which are likely to fail; and their failure will have more economic impact than would be so if Arlington shut down. So, why not give slots to them and any other business on the precipice of failure?
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The issue of slots for Arlington is like the beast that cannot be killed. Arlington's ownership has to be spending tons of money propping up lobbyists and politicians that facilitate keeping this issue alive. Why? Because wealthy racetrack owners will make millions off slots in perpetuity. And thousands of individuals and families will suffer in perpetuity because of the damage caused by out-of-control gamblers.
The slots proposal is special legislation put forth to benefit a wealthy few at a cost to many. Let's put a stake in the heart of the "slots at the track" matter once and for all!
Charles F. Falk