Horse Racing & Pari-mutuel Betting would Expand Government
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, December 12, 2014 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Are you ready to create another government agency? If not, we have a battle on our hands. On November 17th Representative Harry Geisinger pre-filed H.R. 1 to make horse racing constitutional in Georgia. At the same time, he pre-filed his 38-page H.B. 2 to make it happen. But those 38 pages go beyond horse racing. They outline a system for pari-mutuel betting to be controlled by a seven-member all-expenses-paid horse racing commission to license racetrack facilities and schedule at least 60 live racing days in Georgia every year. The races would be simulcast to satellite facilities throughout the state and Internet betting would be set up to accommodate online gamblers.
They expect to collect a ton of new revenue, but let’s look at the facts. First, it’s never cheap to expand government and hire new people. Second, gambling is extremely harmful to gamblers and families. Average pathological gamblers pay about $1,200 a year to treat their habit, although they might never be cured. A fourth of habitual gamblers lose their jobs; 28 percent file for bankruptcy or owe $75,000 to $150,000 gambling debts; players with incomes under $10,000 lose nearly 10 percent of the family income at casinos and do three times more betting in lotteries than those earning over $50,000. 28 percent of pathological gamblers are either separated or divorced, nearly double the non-gambler rate and one in five commits suicide, a rate 20 times higher than non-gamblers. Continue reading