Letter: Sweepstakes not the kind of business Scotland County needs

Letter to the editor

June 2, 2014

To the editor:

Our county does need jobs and revenue, but gambling jobs and revenue come at whose expense? What is a business? Is the purpose of a legitimate business to provide goods and/or services to customers for a reasonable price, or attempt to take every dime customers have? Is the purpose of an entertainment business to provide entertainment for an admission fee, or continually charge customers until they are broke? Yes, gamblers win a little as they lose; that is the “bait” that encourages them to keep trying. Yes, a very few occasionally win big, but how? Do their winnings come from the profits of gambling establishment owners, or the loses of many other gamblers?

The writer of a recent letter to the editor stated that gambling brings money into our community. From where? Surrounding counties? If so, how much, compared to the money Abbott Laboratories brought here? Abbott produced products beneficial to the medical profession. Abbott paid wages hundreds of local workers had never realized before; local businesses benefited from their consumption; and our entire community benefited as a result. Why? Because money came into our community from all over the world. When local gamblers lose their money, who benefits, other than the owners of internet cafes? Yes, the county receives revenue from gambling, but can broke gamblers pay their taxes?

Are the 21 cafes employing five employees each paying those employees with money paid to them for a product sold around the world, or money lost by local gamblers? For every internet café employee who can pay their bills due to their job, how many gamblers cannot pay theirs because they were gullible enough to believe they could win. Café customers just gamble for fun? Please introduce me to the customers who gamble just to lose, because losing is fun. If most gamblers can win, how do the café owners pay their employees, their overhead and their taxes? While it is true that no one is forced to gamble, few if any alcoholics are forced to take their first drink, and few if any drug addicts are forced to take their first recreational drugs. But like alcohol and drugs, gambling is one of the five major addictions, and continual availability leads to addiction.

Yes, Scotland County definitely needs jobs and businesses, but is the social blight of highly visible gambling on our main streets and roads an answer to our needs? Is it an enticement to industries that produce real goods and services to locate here? Will legalized gambling bring prosperity to Scotland County the way Abbott Laboratories did, or simply move money already here from the pockets of gamblers into the bank accounts of internet café owners?

Robert C. Currie Jr.