Daniels cleverly brought presidents of state universities on board and proposed that the revenue from the lease would be used to fund tuition fees for Indiana students who would then be obligated to return for service in Indiana.
The underlying issue would mean expansion of gambling in both states. Privatizing would allow modern marketing techniques to increase sales to citizens under the guise of contributing to a worthy cause.
Most gambling sales pitches to legislatures echo some actual or perceived need, i.e., the environment, the elderly, schools, etc.
What happens is that the legislators simply deduct gambling revenue from their budgetary requests, and the gain is minimal.
In the 1993 vote to grant riverboat casino licenses, the pitch to the counties that voted was, "We must help Gary." Today Gary is near bankruptcy, with crime and corruption rampant.
Gambling is based on illusion. The mirage is simply that people live by hope and a lottery ticket or that a spin of a controlled machine will bring miraculous returns. People continue to buy into this illusion until they are trapped. A large share of foreclosures and bankruptcies can be traced to this lie.
The gambling industry is in trouble. The economic downturn plus travel expense has hit the industry hard. "(These are) the most turbulent economic conditions the casino/entertainment industry has faced in years," complained Gary Loveman, Harrah's CEO.
Gambling expansion should be a key issue in the race for governor. So far it is not.
Early in his first term, Mitch Daniels announced "No Expansion of Gambling." Indiana is second only to Nevada in total gambling revenue.
Democratic candidate Jill Long Thompson has said she is opposed to gambling expansion and lease of the lottery. Will the issue be raised in their statewide debates? Please take note.
Gambling interests were reported lobbying heavily at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
At the same time, the disgraced Tom DeLay made his appearances in St. Paul.
DeLay was part of the scandal involving Jack Abramoff for taking bribes from a Native American casino. Abramoff has since been sentenced to four years in prison. The judge said the case had shattered the public's confidence in government. The scandal contributed to the Republican loss of Congress in 2006.
The lottery is not an isolated proposal. It is generated by a false premise. Northwest Indiana is suffering for lack of new high-tech industry.
When will the business community, legislative wannabes and citizens wake up to the truth?
Who wants to turn any area where employees live into a Las Vegas or Atlantic City?
The illusion needs to be faced honestly. We cannot build government illusions.
John D. Wolf is co-founder of both the Indiana and National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. He is a retired minister who lives in Valparaiso. NCALG Blog which sadly hasn't been updated for two years. Looks like the group takes a highly religious position but doesn't take a libertarian position. I could be wrong, set me straight if so.