Charity Festivals: The latest victims of Issue 3

Another reason to vote NO on Issue 3!

Governor, Attorney General agree that latest casino proposal may spell the end of church fundraising festivals.

CCV opposes any expansion of legalized gambling in Ohio on the basis of the inevitable social ills that accompany such expansion.  Consider just a few of the facts:

  • Addiction – Remember the 50-2x rule: Within 50 miles of a casino, the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers roughly doubles.
  • Bankruptcy – SMR Research Corporation called gambling “the single fastest-growing driver of bankruptcy.” Professors from Georgetown and Purdue Universities performed research on the link between gambling and bankruptcy, concluding, “We found statistically significant increases at the county level in the number of personal bankruptcy filings due to the introduction of casino gambling.”
  • Crime – The U.S. Department of Justice and The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) found a correlation between high levels of criminal activity related to pathological gambling. The percentage of pathological gamblers among arrestees was three to five times higher than the general population.
  • Destruction of families – In a survey of nearly 400 Gamblers Anonymous members, 28 percent reported being either separated or divorced as a direct result of their gambling problems. In the National Gambling Impact Study, the lifetime divorce rates for problem and pathological gamblers were 39.5 percent and 53.5 percent, respectively; the rate in non-gamblers was 18.2 percent.
  • Domestic violence – A University of Nebraska Medical Center study concluded that problem gambling is as much a risk factor for domestic violence as alcohol abuse.

Indeed, the toll that legalized gambling takes on individual lives, families and thus on society at large must be our primary focus in any conversation regarding a proposal to expand legalized gambling in Ohio.

Good-bye summer festivals!
Issue 3 would limit games to 4 casinos. Period!

Now it appears that in addition to inflicting social ills and their associated costs on Ohioans, the latest proposed constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling also will negatively impact churches, schools and other non-profits that for years have raised a significant portion of their operating revenue through summer festivals, which include casino-style games of chance.

State Issue 3, which was just approved by the Ohio Ballot Board for this November’s general election, would authorize four casinos in Ohio – one each in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.

Since petitions to place the proposed amendment on this November’s ballot first appeared several months ago, opponents of the proposal have voiced concern that this amendment – if passed – would render illegal the casino-style gambling currently allowed at non-profit festivals under Ohio’s charitable gaming law.

After analyzing the language of the bill, Gov. Ted Strickland and Attorney General Robert Cordray last week publicly announced that the concern was valid.

Cordray’s office issued this statement:
If the amendment passes, we believe that it would create a risk that a court might find that those charitable games of chance that are currently legal might be determined to be illegal.”

Strickland followed, “I think that would be hugely unfortunate if that was the case, and the people of our state should be aware of that possibility.”

CCV believes that any legalized gambling holds the potential to “hook” problem gamblers, negatively impacting those individuals, their families, and society at large.  One obvious difference between charitable gaming events and casino gambling, though, is that the events are one to three-day singular events, thus minimizing the addiction potential.

We agree with the governor and attorney general that Ohio voters need to be made aware of the consequence that Issue 3 might have on many churches and other charitable organizations.

During the months between now and Election Day November 3rd, you can count on CCV to expose all the social ills, all the social costs, and all the empty promises attached to still another attempt to bring casino gambling to Ohio.  We must defeat Issue 3!