We’re pleased the Kansas Legislature voted down a package that would have broadened gambling in Kansas. A growing number of politicians, including Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, apparently see gambling as a clean and easy revenue generator for the state. Given the negative social impact of gambling addictions and the criminal activity that follows gambling enterprises, the benefits are doubtful at best.
It seems quaint, almost prudish, these days for a state to turn its back on a gambling initiative; gambling is increasingly accepted as a friend of government entities that lack the nerve to fund legitimate programs through legitimate means-i.e., taxation, as painful as that word is. Apparently, gambling is a better bet for politicians who want to keep their jobs.
Though Kansas dodged a bullet again this year, don’t expect the gambling initiative to go away anytime soon. The vote this session was more about dissatisfaction with the way to expand gambling rather than a referendum on gambling itself. Long-term odds still favor shortsightedness. -DR