Michigan Proposal 1

Proposal 1 in Michigan is designed to let voters decide whether new gambling operations open up in the state or not. A statewide majority would have to approve any new games using “table games” or “player operated devices”. In addition, the city or township that the games would be located in would also have to approve them, regardless of statewide opinion.

Despite no personal reasons to want more gambling than is already available, I have no strong feelings about the issue of gaming. Tax on people poor at math, and all.

But a number of legislators, and Governor Jennifer Granholm, are speaking loud and strong against the measure.

Let’s see. If VOTERS don’t decide about gambling, who would? Hmmm. Oh, I know! Legislators and Governor Jennifer Granholm, that’s who. They know better than I do what’s best for my city, maybe?

There are two things that I almost always favor, no matter what or when or why. They are tax cuts and measures that put the decisions in the hands of voters.

For that reason, I will be voting ‘YES’ on Proposal 1.

Nothing anyone can say will convince me that I’m not the right person to decide if there should be gambling in my backyard.

The main arguments being raised against the proposal seem pretty flimsy to me.

The biggie is that Indian Casinos and the major gaming operations that already have casinos in Michigan have pumped most of the money into the proposal. So what? There’s not much we’re going to be able to do about Indian casinos, no matter what Michigan voters say. And it’s too late to do much about the existing casinos. So, since there are some in the state it’s wrong not to let more in? Not talking sense, there, cowboy.

This measure does not allow voters to control the three existing non-Indian casinos in Michigan already. I wish it did, to allow voters a say in expansion plans, for instance. But this is far, far better than nothing. If Jennifer Granholm said “Vote ‘NO’ on 1 because it isn’t strong enough. I will favor a proposal that gives voters EVEN MORE CONTROL over gambling. Shoot this one down and let’s do this thing right!“, I’d feel a bit differently. But she is saying nothing of the kind. She isn’t looking out for you. She doesn’t think you can do the job.

The big scare tactic (and no political campaign is complete without one of those) is that Proposal 1 would cut the money education currently gets from gambling in the state. But, um, there won’t even less gambling if voters want it. Right? If you can convince me that I’m better off with a casino in my neighborhood and the money that it will bring in, I will vote for it. Simple enough. Never mind that the scratch games and state lotto are not “table games” or “player operated devices”.

One of the anti-1 commercials points out that big casinos and Indian casinos support the measure so they can get a monopoly on gambling in the state. This ignores the fact that if people want more gambling, they’ll get more gambling because they will vote for it. Then the commercial says “Don’t forget–These people are professionals at taking other people’s money. Now you see it–Now you don’t.” Which is totally insane, as the alternative to voters deciding is politicians deciding. And politicians are the only people better at “Now you see it–Now you don’t” than major casinos.

They’re also not bad at monopolizing power, now that I think of it.

And the existing casinos are bad, since they take our money. But let them decide when and where to add more?

God, I hate politicians.

It really seems to me that this is a no-brainer. You want more gambling? You want less gambling? You want the same amount of gambling? You can have your say if you have a say. You get what someone else somewhere else chooses if you don’t have a say.

I always decide to decide. I will this time, too.

Supporters of the measure have a website. So do opponents.

Go read. Think. Vote.

UPDATE: Doug at 213 wrote about this a couple of weeks ago. Should have just googled before I wrote…

Comments

  1. Doesn’t the last line make it a righteous shill for anti-competition by those who already run gambling in the state? ‘Specify that the voter requirement does not apply to Indian tribal gaming or gambling in up to three casinos located in the City of Detroit.’ This is crap legislation. Either we’re allowed to vote on it or not. No exemptions. If a story’s veracity is challenged by those who might gain from it’s publication (politics), why isn’t the legitimacy of this bill called into question by those who are backing it – and stand to directly gain from it…at the expense of others who want to do the same thing but got in later? Also, doesn’t this smack of government interference in commerce? Gambling is different because…?

  2. Something told me MP would weigh in on this one…:} >>’Doesn’t the last line make it a righteous shill for anti-competition by those who already run gambling in the state?’ Yes. Oh, wait. You meant the existing casinos, didn’t you? For a second I thought you meant Lansing. >>’Either we’re allowed to vote or we’re not. No exemptions.’ Well, casinos on Indian Reservations are on Federal terms, not Michigan terms. Exemption no matter what voters, legislators, or governors in Michigan say. As for the existing non-reservation casinos, I wrote: ‘This measure does not allow voters to control the three existing non-Indian casinos in Michigan already. I wish it did, to allow voters a say in expansion plans, for instance. But this is far, far better than nothing. If Jennifer Granholm said ‘Vote ‘NO’ on 1 because it isn’t strong enough. I will favor a proposal that gives voters EVEN MORE CONTROL over gambling. Shoot this one down and let’s do this thing right!’, I’d feel a bit differently.’ If the problem with this is that it’s ‘crap legislation’ show me a better proposal. Is Granholm telling me to vote ‘NO on 1’ because she’s insisting on even stronger voter control of casinos? If so, she’s keeping it pretty secret. But if she is, let me know and I’ll change my vote and my recommendation. >>Also, doesn’t this smack of government interference in commerce? Gambling is different because…? Well, no. It does smack of voter interference in commerce. Which is basically why I’m for it. And gambling IS different, just like drug dealing, prostitution, gun running, and McDonalds are all different. (Whoops, getting a couple of years ahead of myself on that last one, there.) If gambling is just fine and really in everyone’s best interest, you’ve got nothing to sweat. It will be approved no problem. That, incidentally, is why I’m for this one. This doesn’t limit gambling one iota. If Granholm thinks we need more gambling, all she needs to do is convince voters. If she thinks she can’t convince enough voters AND she thinks she should do it anyway, I question her leadership. (Nothing personal (this time) against our Gov. I’m simply using her name as a personification of our state government.)

  3. For the record: The Things I’d Change About Prop 1 * It would also apply to the three existing casinos * It would be a law but not a Michigan constitutional amendment * It would also apply to casinos on Indian reservations (I realize this is impossible–just wishing out loud because it’s my website) * Only voters in the city (or maybe the county) that the games would be located would have to approve, not the entire state as well (not quite sure about this…seems a bit cumbersome for everyone to vote on every proposal, though) Just my two cents for when Murdoc runs for office…

  4. I agree with you completely. Is a bad law better than no law this time and try again with a better one? Too many bad things about this one. By passing it don’t we encourage this kind of bad lawmaking?

  5. I scrolled to the bottom and missed that you posted two comments, Murdoc. Would you vote for a proposal that would let voters decide which companies/entities were allowed to pollute the water or air? What about which kind of retaurants can be located where? Can’t we make sure they can’t sell ‘enhanced’ water at the 7-11 by me? Clearly the environment we all share should be a place where we all should get to decide, right? And fast food restaraunts are a public health nuisance, right? Can’t people who don’t like gambling not gamble? Just like people who don’t want food that’s bad for them eat somewhere else? Isn’t this one of those personal responsibility issues? I’m just trying to understand the principle underneath this whole thing. It looks an awful lot like the existing casino owners, not wanting competition, found a clever way to get the social conservatives to protect them from competition. Is all gambling bad? Is legislating against this sin more important than the principles of free enterprise?