Gambling is bad.
It brings crime, addiction, fractured families, a sense of reliance on the possibility of a big payoff that saps the incentive to work for a steady, decent living.
Oh, and don’t forget to play your Keno ticket.
We’ve long grown used to Ohio’s two-facedness when it comes to gambling, as governors at least as far back as George Voinovich frowned on the idea of casino gambling while pumping up the Ohio Lottery and its participation in ever-bigger games.
No to riverboats. But play the Super Lotto.
Off-track betting is bad. But let’s join Mega Millions.
Tic Tac Fruit? You’re out of luck, buddy.
And now, Keno, with numbers and a payoff every four minutes, or so says the Ohio Lottery’s Web site.
Seems as though we could just haul out the same old proposals and editorials, dust them off, and just change the names.
Here we go: People are going to gamble. If they’re not going to gamble in Ohio, they’ll spend the gas money to get to Indiana or Michigan and spend the gambling money there. Gambling is real, and it’s going to be more real, and Ohio might as well get a piece of it.
Ask the otherwise staunchly respectable neighbors who gush about their visit to Vegas or Windsor or Detroit or one of the Ohio River floating casinos in Indiana or Kentucky.
Ask the guy in front of you in line at the convenience store, determined to play every number combination Stephen Hawking and the ghost of Carl Sagan could ever come up with while the beer you want to buy gets warm in your hand.
Hell, ask the people playing bingo at the church next door.
Yes, we know. It would be better to bring factory jobs, making cars or computers or windmills or what-have-you, with good, steady taxable income that can be spent in all those local stores and restaurants scrambling for a piece of the dwindling tourist dollar. Jobs for locals.
Maybe one day we’ll get them, in numbers to satisfy even the most hardened exponent of the way things used to be.
In the meantime, we need something.
And gambling, whatever that says about the human condition, seems to be a reliable provider of economic activity. We might as well get a piece of the pie that’s being tossed in our face.
Seems to us we’ve written this editorial before.
Who wants to bet we’ll write it again?