Read carefully. Unfortunately, there is no change of heart, just a change in the stakes.

Our Governor has chosen to be selective in his opposition to the expansion of gambling. Perhaps he weighed the odds and determined it was a better bet to upset the Shawnee Tribe rather than weaken the smiles of Oklahoma’s gambling horsemen and the majority of Oklahoma’s gambling tribes.

The Governor is quoted as saying, “Not only would this proposal by the Shawnee Tribe prove devastating for Remington Park and the horse industry, but there is every reason to believe it would secure an unfair advantage over the dozens of other tribal casinos scattered through central Oklahoma.”

An unfair advantage? Are we missing something here? Last we checked, it is pretty clear that the odds are in favor of the gambling industry, not gamblers and certainly not school children. When gamblers win, we all lose. Gambling hasn’t solved any of our problems; it has only added to them. Where was the Governor when we needed him most? If his current arguments had been used during the gambling vote, our state wouldn’t have one of the highest casino populations in the nation!

The Governor is apparently concerned with the way education funding projections have nosedived and fears that adding another casino to the Oklahoma landscape will only make things worse!

Really? Weren’t new fangled one-armed bandit slot machines supposed to be the answer to our state’s education budget woes?

It gets better. The Governor has also indicated that approval of the tribe’s application would cause traffic problems, and it would result in costly infrastructure issues for Oklahoma City.

The next time you are caught just outside a casino in a traffic jam burning $4 per gallon gasoline going nowhere fast, don’t forget that Oklahoma voted to go for broke!

Based on the traffic jams we’ve seen outside of casinos, it would be fair to conclude that our education funding problems should have disappeared by now. Unfortunately, the bright neon signs continue to lure droves of gambling bugs to local casinos. Milk money and paychecks are forfeited in hopes of hearing a little ching-ching from a slot machine. If gamblers would donate the money they throw away in slot machines to education funding, our school problems would be solved.

Sure, a few lucky ducks have walked away with the loot and some money has been raised for education, but the reality is that the wallets of most Oklahomans are thinner now than before we expanded gambling in our state.

As for building a new Shawnee Tribe casino? We are against it. We side with the Governor on this one. We only regret the Governor didn’t side with us before now. Gambling is never good for Oklahoma. Not then, and not now.

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