Concerned citizens urged to contact their lawmakers
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — You’ve probably heard of dialing for dollars, but what about dueling for dealers? That’s what’s happening now in the North Carolina General Assembly as the Eastern Band of Cherokees, the Governor’s Office and a gaggle of gambling industry lobbyists push members of the House to approve a plan to bring Las Vegas-style gambling and more casinos to the western part of our state.
Already rubber stamped by the upper chamber, where the legislation was rushed through in one day, Senate Bill 582 would pave the way for the Governor’s 30-year compact with the Cherokees, allowing them to offer live dealer tables and types of Class III gambling as well as giving them the go-ahead to open two more full-fledged, Las Vegas style casinos on their reservation land. It would also give them exclusive gaming rights in the state west of I-26.
“While this is being promoted as an economic boon with promises of some 400 jobs for western North Carolina, lawmakers must look at the bigger picture including the gambling addiction and ultimately the increasing demand for social services that accompanies gambling,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, who informed citizens across the state about the dangers of the bill earlier this week in an Urgent CAL Action Alert.
“Gambling is not like manufacturing or any other kind of legitimate business that can help drive the economy,” he said. “All it does is take money out of the community, often from the pockets of those who can least afford it, and puts it into the hands of casino owners. Then the taxpayers are left supporting the families whose finances are wrecked in the process.”
Dr. Creech said one of the most egregious things about the bill is that, like the lottery, it links gambling to education. The plan would earmark 4 percent of gross receipts from live table gaming during the first five years for an education fund, with the percentage to increase by one percent every five years, maxing out at 8 percent.
“Just like with the failed government policy of the lottery, this would have North Carolina playing the house and betting against its own people,” he said. “When that happens, nobody wins.”
But rather than giving up the fight, Dr. Creech continued to urge residents across the state to contact their representatives and ask them to vote against the bill.
The measure, scheduled to come up in the Full Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, was pulled from the calendar, presumably so that its proponents could ensure enough votes for passage.
“This is the time when political deals, promises and accommodations are being made. But lawmakers need to demonstrably hear from home that there is nothing about this legislation worthy of their support,” Dr. Creech added.
He said opponents to expanded gambling who haven’t contacted their lawmakers should do so now before it’s too late.
Urgent Christian Action Alert: Contact your Representative in the North Carolina House without delay. Ask him/her to reject any expansion of gambling in this state. Ask him/her to say “NO” to SB 582 – Authorize Indian Gaming/Revenue. Ask him/her not to authorize another failed government policy like the lottery. Ask him/her to stop North Carolina’s slide into more egregious forms of gambling.
The most effective approach is an email followed up by a phone call. Let your lawmaker know that you are deeply concerned. Make certain that your tone and remarks are always respectful.
To know who represents you in the NC House and their contact information click here. Then, click ‘Take Action,’ fill out or make any necessary edits to your information, and click ‘Continue.’ You can then click your Representative’s name to see their phone number to call their office, and you can click ‘Send Message’ to submit your written message to your Representative.