Friday, June 27, 2014

There's gambling; and then there's Oaklawn. Meet the hypocrites

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 7:10 AM

CHA-CHING: Follow the money to Oaklawn for opposition to lottery gambling expansion.
  • CHA-CHING: Follow the money to Oaklawn for opposition to lottery gambling expansion.

Shazam. The rest of the media world has discovered the fight to limit the Arkansas lottery is being driven by lobbyists for the Oaklawn casino in Hot Springs, which doesn't want competition from state keno-style parlors popping up all over the place.

I loved the quote in the D-G this morning from Sen. Bill Sample of Hot Springs, Oaklawn's toady and the sponsor of the legislation that dramatically expanded gambling options for Oaklawn in 2013 with on-line wagering.

Sample is one of the hypocrites who supports the bill to limit lottery gambling options but supports Oaklawn's slot machines and its recent expansion into on-line wagering. Sample professes to be concerned about preying on the poor. As I noted yesterday, casinos are increasingly bleeding the poor for their profit margins.

Sample says of the electronic monitor games: 

Money that should buy food and help educate children gets gambled away instead, he said. "And it could be just a moral conviction, but I've got a problem with that."

Sample said he draws a distinction between people who gamble at Oaklawn Park, and people who gamble with the lottery.

"Maybe I shouldn't. I have never seen anybody walk by Oaklawn that gets [dragged] in."

Dishonest or stupid? You choose. Video poker, readily available at the Oaklawn casino, has been shown to be crack-like in addicting gamblers. They have video monitors all over the place for poker, craps, you name it. And nobody drags people into the convenience stores selling lottery tickets either. To listen to Bill Sample, you'd think Oaklawn casino players are just spending a little extra cash, not imperiling baby's formula or diapers. (Why does that quote remind of the small child found abandoned for hours in the Oaklawn parking lot while mama gambled inside?)

The difference is the lobbying force. Oaklawn pays the likes of Ted Mullenix's firm big dollars to rope legislators in to help Oaklawn and hurt its competitors. If you don't think wining and dining works, check out the huge sums Mullenix spends on it. I'll remind you again that Mullenix was the leading opponent of the constitutional amendment to end lobbyist-paid legislative hog slopping.

Legislators can gamble away their paycheck and still eat because Ted Mullenix will feed them.

But back to the hypocrites on the push to get a bill added to the legislative session to prevent the lottery from adding video monitor games in which gamblers can place a new bet every few minutes:

The governor has been given a list of state representatives who purportedly support the bill. Let's compare that list (and some on it are now saying they weren't on board) with those who voted to expand gambling for the owners of the Oaklawn casino. Let's call it Hypocrite Watch.


Douglas, D.
Meeks, D.
Meeks, S.



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