Dear Governor Walker:
Families, businesses and communities in Wisconsin and around the nation are concerned with the dangerous track Indian gaming is taking in the Badger State. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 and state law contemplated that that casinos built by Native American Tribes would be on reservation lands.
The requirements placed on tribal casinos are rigorous both those from the federal government and the State of Wisconsin — and for good reason. We would like to express our thanks to you as you continue to uphold these long-standing regulations.
The waiver provided to the Menominee Tribe by the current federal government for a non-reservation casino in Kenosha sets a dangerous precedent for the health and safety of adjoining neighborhoods while also failing to meet “commutable distance” requirements and necessary agreements by state government and Wisconsin’s other tribes.
Casinos attract corruption, money laundering, loansharking and other criminal activities inherent in their operation – particularly in union casinos, as the Kenosha site would be.
But the crime that spills out from casino doors should be of particular concern to communities in which they are located. These include DUIs, mail theft, property theft, car theft, assault, identity theft, alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution, passing bad checks and stealing or embezzling from the workplace – i.e., local businesses.
Social costs are also enormous. Gambling can lead to debt, depression, foreclosure, suicide, bankruptcy and divorce. Stories abound of gamblers leaving minor children unattended at casinos, and senior citizens and adolescents can be particularly susceptible to gambling problems. It is difficult to calibrate the serious negative impact on children touched by gambling (directly or indirectly) who should instead be taught personal responsibility, financial accountability and moral values.
A study by the Wisconsin Public Policy Research Institute done during Wisconsin’s casino boom showed there were increases in crime rates in counties with casinos – even when on reservation lands. The associated cost for the increase of 5,300 casino-related crimes came to $51 million for state taxpayers. Other national studies found a societal cost of $19,000 for every pathological gambler. Gambling statistics in Wisconsin show more than 300,000 residents already have a gambling problem.
Standing in opposition to the gambling culture are the traditional values, fiscal responsibility, family integrity and positive societal influences that continue to be key to the future of Wisconsin’s prosperity – and its families.
Governor, you have laid down reasonable, regulation-compliant guidelines to be met in order for the Kenosha casino to be built. If a precedent is set that Tribal casinos are no longer restricted to reservation lands, and casinos can keep opening left and right, these facilities will negatively impact adjacent areas in ways not seen previously.
As crime and moral decline often accompany casinos, we appreciate your commitment to principles and values that will keep Wisconsin communities safe, protect our families from negative influences, and keep taxpayers from absorbing the social cost of neighborhood-based gaming.
Vice President for Policy
Frontiers of Freedom
Julaine K. Appling
Wisconsin Family Council
Stop Predatory Gambling