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Dear FRONTLINE,

Regarding your program about casinos and other gambling establishments, I wanted to say that I feel it really is up to each person to control his or her own behavior. I realize some people have addictions to certain activities; however, if you can't afford to gamble, stay at home! There does seem to be some data that support the claim that crime increases whenever gaming is established in a community. However, I maintain that, especially in smaller communities, crime would increase with any new industry, whether it is gambling or a new Disney theme park! I'll bet a button that Anaheim had much less crime prior to Disneyland being built than it does now. Crime is like poverty--it's here to stay. Only individuals can change their behavior--society has no way to do that. Obviously, rehabilitation does not work, so people have to be responsible for their own actions.

Gaming provides jobs and, especially in the case of the Indian Nations, truly helps those who would otherwise be impoverished. As long as it is controlled through adequate legislation in each state, gaming should survive.

Thanks for your attention.
lensgn

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm glad that someone finally explores the linkage between Casino industry and money politics in this country.

Until Congress passes a comprehensive campaign finance reform bill, the influence of money, especially from the gambling industry which historically has ties to the organized crime groups, will always wield strong influence on the integrity of the political system in this country.

Dear FRONTLINE

I just watched your show on Gaming. It was good, except you did not mention a few things that I have heard about from other sources. You did not mention that many people in Atlantic City are still poor and live within the shadows of the casinos. The schools are still inadequate. People from New York and other states bring their money in but it does not go anywhere but the casinos' vaults at the bank.

You also did not mention the number of people that become addicts and pawn their possessions such as wedding rings and TV sets to support their habits, just like a junkie.

What about the crime rate? Has it gone up or down in places with gaming?

I am very happy that Native Americans are making money this way, but aren't they also losing some of their culture? One man said that the old ways were being lost, well why doesn't he use that money to bring back the old ways and teach them to the tribe's children? After five hundred years of having the white man and his government destroy their culture, they found a way to beat the white man at his own game.

Thanks for letting me express my views,

Alan Moore

Dear FRONTLINE,

I want to thank you for the excellent story about gambling. A few years ago when I lived in Colorado I voted for legalized gambling in the town of Blackhawk just west of Boulder and Denver. Today I would never vote for something like that again. I saw the slow decay of that beautiful mountain town and what that type of business can do! It basically destroyed the spirit of the town. The locals were driven out by big money, and fast life style in the name of progress.

Closer to home a co-worker of mine hits the Native American casinos on a regular basis, and has in my opinion nearly bankrupted his family. I realize as Americans we control our own destiny, but what kind of future are we creating for ourselves? I get very scared when I hear of all the problems of this country, but I think this problem needs immediate attention! At the rate we are spending money on the "Gaming" industry what is going to happen to us when the well runs dry, all this investment could have been more wisely spent on perhaps educating children against the evils of gaming.

I am ever grateful to Frontline for uncovering the truth and digging up the dirt on our so called public representatives. Thank you!

Dear FRONTLINE,

I enjoyed your documentary on gambling. However a few questions I have justifies gambling.

If the Lotto, for instance, brings money in for the state; that benefits not only that state but the people who reside in it.

One of the contributions by the state would be for education. No one can argue that this country needs to better our schools. How can the government regulate how the people spend their money? Everyone that gambles knows the risks of financial trouble, so leave it up to the person to decide spending their own hard earned money! If most of the funds collected by the state through lotteries are used for education, jobs, tax breaks, and other needs for the people and their communities, then why not allow the legalization of gambling nationally?

Jean-Marc Lenoir
Rochester, NY
jlen@lle.rochester.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,

Just as I've always suspected: everything is for sale, including the Government. Money talks, and BIG MONEY talks loudest, especially in our State and Federal Legislatures.

When Governments cannot contain something that was previously outlawed, they legitimize it and fancy new legislation, new taxes, and all sorts of promises to improve the community. If gaming is any example at all, it should be about 10 years before the Government turns to a legalized drug trade to raise more tax dollars, make new promises of community improvements and further destroy an already crumbling society.

I had no problem with gambling in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. They were self-contained ADULT playgrounds that were relatively easy to contain. Putting Casinos within 2 hours of every American has destroyed the allure of Vegas and Atlantic City. How long before Disney World opens it's Casinos?

As I see it, there's not much difference between them anymore, and children can learn to gamble just as soon as Mom and Dad can drag them off to Vegas.

Greg Mearns
O'Fallon, MO
gmm@techapp.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am very interested in your Fact & Stats but I'm somewhat confused about the 40B$ per year industry and the 482 B$ per year legal wagers . Is the 40B$ a net profit? The 482 B$ is almost twice our defense budget and I don't know the governmental budgets of other countries but this would be about 1/3 of the US budget. Lets solve the deficit, social security, Medicare, education and any other problems by letting the gamblers pay for it.

William E. Tucker
Tuscaloosa, AL
wetucker@tusc.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

I thought that the most powerful angle of your story was the man who played Keno day after day hoping to make his "big score". He was the very picture of an addict: unable to stop, or even acknowledge that spending $300 a week might constitute a problem. His existence seems to be completely devoid of joy or hope, despite his fantasies about "the big payoff".

When I take my niece and nephew (ages 5 and 4) to a restaurant, they almost immediately ask for quarters to go play the arcade games. Where these games are present, we can't even get through a meal without some assurance that, yes, they will be able to play before we leave. Is this what the proponents of "gaming" stand for? Of all the things in this country to devote our financial and human resources to, "kindler, gentler" casinos and gambling should be at the bottom of the list.

Andrew Starbin
Burbank, CA
anstarbin@earthlink.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Obviously there is more than 1 sucker born each minute to sustain the current level of "government sponsored extortion". All around us are the signs of a society in decline. Gaming is putting a gun to the Nation's head and cocking the trigger.

Mr. Chris Gartner
Winnipeg Canada
gartnec@navcanada.ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program was thorough - only one aspect was omitted. Another reason why public officials are eager to accept gambling is that citizens want public services but do want to pay for them. Woe to the politician who does not support airport and road maintenance, computers for our schools, monitoring of the nursing homes our parents utilize, the latest equipment for the military and college loans - and woe to the politician who proposes taxes for these purposes. Gambling promoters know this all too well.

Ed Tracey
Manchester, NH

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a resident of Las Vegas, and a proponent of legalized gaming, I was compelled to watch "Easy Money". It's always interesting to see how Las Vegas will play on a national medium.

Please allow me to present a simple- yet radical- viewpoint.

The key to living in a city that allows gaming is Self-Discipline. And it's NOT hard to come by. Typically, when newcomers arrive in Las Vegas, they get sucked into the "heat" you referred to in "Easy Money." I know this because I felt it myself, blowing a rent check I really didn't have. But most residents, including myself, wake up soon after that first big loss and realize that gaming really IS entertainment. It doesn't take long before you see how your money is paying for all those pretty lights.

So here's what I do now:

When I want to play blackjack, I think of it as ENTERTAINMENT. I take out $40, leave my credit cards at home, and see how long I can play until the money runs out. I'm not out to WIN, I'm just playing to PLAY. And when the money runs out- I simply go home.

Most Las Vegans look at gaming this way. If we don't, we aren't here long. When it's all said and done, living in a city with gaming forces us to develop Self-Discipline. Once gaming becomes ENTERTAINMENT in the eyes of the masses, and NOT a way to win "Easy Money", America will learn to appreciate all the wonderful things casinos have to offer. Once you achieve Self-Discipline while living in Las Vegas, you know nothing can touch you- or your bank account.

Mike McKenney
Las Vegas

Dear FRONTLINE,

I appreciated your program. We live 3 hours from Laughlin, NV and travel there 1-2 times a year because it offers us an extremely cheap vacation. We usually bring $20 or less to gamble and typically bring home very little of it. (Although last summer I won $40 on quarter slots on my second quarter and decided to quit very early). I have seen personally what an addiction to gambling has caused in the lives of my in-laws relatives, and your program made me think about the $20 I am contributing to the casino enterprise. After reading many of your pro/con articles, I have decided to discontinue this practice. The buffets are certainly inexpensive and great from that standpoint, but I can no longer support an enterprise that preys on the weakest members of our society.

What really bothers me is the rhetoric that states like Arizona develop to support the lottery and powerball, but when it comes time to pay the true price for these activities in welfare checks, they aren't nearly as positive.

Finally, shame on the US Department of Justice for holding on to the seized casino partnership for so long. It is becoming clearer to me why so many of my peers are disenfranchised with the government in general.

Thank you for helping to educate me on this issue.

Jon Penner
Flagstaff, AZ
dh94222@goodnet.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Know the bible, know history, know mythology. Know that gambling is in the nature of all humanity...but it misses the point of this "Frontline." As a manager of several political campaigns, local and congressional, we must realize that we are all charmed by the money. We can easily rationalize our principles and appreciate almost any point of view if the money is right. I've witnessed it, with the best of people. Am I still their advocates? No, but I know what happened, Jeez!

Charles Bercaw
Omaha, NE
chsber@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

There is a lot of talk about whether gambling should or should not be legalized. Let's look at a few facts, both pro and con. First, the pro side, as casinos are built in the various states, jobs increase. It takes a lot of people to run a gaming concern and the people that will ultimately work in these casinos come from the surrounding community. Second, an increase in the work force and the money handled by these casinos means that there is an increase in state, county, and city revenue. This money can be put into a larger better equipped law enforcement agencies. It can also be used to improve the equipment and programs that the schools offer to the children of this area. Finally, this money can also be put to work providing meals, care and excursions for the elderly. People say that crime will increase with the opening of a casino. This is probably true, but the crime is muggings, robberies and the like. I am by no means trying to minimize these crimes, but there Is other criminal activity out there that needs to be stopped, such as drugs. The money generated by these casinos can be used to increase and better equip the law enforcement agencies in our communities so that they can better fight this crime.

Now for the con side of the argument. We, as people, want something for nothing. That is why we sink billions into casinos, lotteries, sports betting, etc. There is not one of us out here that can honestly say that at some point in time, we have not bet on something. Whether it was an office football pool for the super bowl or our state's lottery, especially if the jackpot was 10, 20, 30 million or more. Yes some people will bet over their heads and this is sad, but the number of people that could be harmed is far smaller than the number of people that will be helped.

I think gambling should be legal, but regulated. What is going on in California with the card rooms and the Indian casinos, should not be allowed to go on. There needs to be away of monitoring and moderating the play, so that people don't get fleeced, which I am sure happens, especially in the card rooms. I myself have been and to a small degree still is a professional gambler. It is how I made my living, and the living was good. I bet on horse races and played the table games in the casinos along with a few sports bets.

Thank you for providing a forum for us to air our thoughts and ideas concerning this matter. Keep up the good work.

David A. Treptor
Havre de Grace, Maryland
MrBlues54@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

There are so many disturbing dimensions to this story that it is difficult to know where to start. As a recent graduate with an MA in Political Studies, the political dimension is perhaps the most unsettling aspect of your story. But it reality, I believe it is not just a political or social problem. In fact, it is an American cultural problem. We need to realize in this country that it is a problem in our society not because of any particular sector (politicians, business people, etc.). After all this is still a democracy. We as a society and a culture have the power and opportunity to chart our own course. Of course this takes will and some degree of education and, most importantly, participation in our public life. Of all the concerns I have, this is highest on my list.

One last comment. While this particular story did not touch upon it, there is another important dimension to the explosive growth in Las Vegas. It is perhaps summed up by one word: water. That is, the sheer lack of it in the region. The problems of resources like water in areas of explosive growth are bound to eventually cause extraordinary problems on a variety of levels unless it is dealt with. Development like that taking place in Las Vegas is a problem across the country. Gambling, in the case of this story, is only the symptom of a much larger problem.

Thank you very much for your series. While many of the stories are unpleasant in terms of their implications, they are extremely important and useful. Hopefully they can serve as an educational tool and starting point for the larger public debate. This country is in desperate need of public debate on a whole range of issues, including "gaming".

Gregory A. Glahn
Springfield, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,

I HATE the idea of legalized gambling! In In- diana, we have the lottery, and NOW the Pot- towatomi Indians want to build 2 casinos, one here in north-central Indiana, and one in south-central Michigan. I think that, when gambling is legalized in an area, crime goes up! Also, from what I hear, casinos tend to BECOME the local economy! I WAS for legal- ization years ago, because I thought that the ONLY effect would be to technically legal- ize the kind of thing that went on anyway, (church bingo, school raffles, VFW and Amer- ican Legion smokers, etc.), but NOW I KNOW BETTER!! Even the bingo here has been taken over by professional halls, (who PROBABLY give only a MINOR part of the take to the sponsors!!!)

David Paul Burch
South Bend, Indiana
DBurch7670@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

After watching the thought provoking episode titled "Easy money" on PBS, I am compelled as an outsider to share some of my thoughts with you.

The arguments or "benefits" that are often cited by the organizations intended to build and operate casinos in housing estates are among other things, increase job opportunities and offers of community services such as schools and parks. But, the way I see it is no different from an attractive bait dangling in front of a fat fish. The fish stands to lose more than gain. Isn't improve community services the job for the government? Isn't that the purpose of people paying taxes? Why do we need to pay extra "tax" for better education or a park? At what cost and whose expense are these improvements based on? How much are they scraping off the community and how much do they really give back? Gambling is nothing but an efficient enterprise that exploit the naive masses and fatten a few. The attractive picture they paint is but a great advertisement that glorifies the advantages and hide the fine prints. The cheating begins even before the casino is built.

Gambling is a degrading mode of entertainment. It is addictive and pray on the less resolute. It should be curbed but instead we see people promoting it in the name of economic gains. As long as it makes money, anything goes. Since when did Americans lose their minds? I may be simple minded, but I do know gambling whatever you may call it is bad news.

As long as there are people like to rip others off while others gullible enough to elect people that like to rip others off to government positions, gambling will not only persist, it will thrive. I guess living in a free country like America, people have the rights to be gullible and ripped off by cunning businessmen.

Yours truly,
Seng Kai Wong
University of Notre Dame

Dear FRONTLINE,

My life to the status of anecdotal--my father was a compulsive gambler (I grew up near Las Vegas). We lost our home with $1,500 left on the mortgage, and my mother and I ended up on various forms of public (i.e., taxpayer-funded) assistance for several years.

Didn't the tobacco industry also refuse to take responsibility for the harm their product caused? Several states are suing them to recoup medical expenses. It seems strange that states are now preying upon their residents who are prone to addiction to raise revenues without consideration of the increases in social costs (public assistance and criminal/judicial) that will result.

My 14-year-old son recently completed a research paper on teen gambling addiction. Dr. Howard Shaffer of Harvard Medical School believes that in the next decade, gambling will replace drugs as this nation's biggest addiction problem.

My son also found a link between gambling addiction and Attention Deficit Disorder. A study in Iowa found that availability of legalized gambling affects the percentage of gambling addicts in that area.

My sons are forming a group called Youth Against Gambling Expansion and will be pleading with our legislators to realize that our youth will have to pay the price for any decisions we make. The motto of YAGE is: Don't GAMBLE with OUR future.

Kim Roman
Glen Burnie, MD
KSRoman@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

The debate over gambling is a total waste of time it is part of human nature to gamble, we are creatures who like to take chances whether it be with money or our lives, we will gamble no matter if it is legal or not, how many people who are opposed to gambling have stocks on the stock exchange, that must be the biggest form of gambling in this or for that matter most countries, you quoted in your program that the casino made $31,000 an hour how much is won and lost on Wall street in any given day, but we never here about that in discussions on gambling. This is a freedom which is my right I earn my money and I choose to do with it whatever I wish, the people who oppose gambling have every right to there opinion. There will be causalities from gambling of that there is no doubt but there are just as many if not more every day in this country with people dying from gunshot wounds or smoking and drinking, should we ban all of these also?????

John Davies
Marietta, GA
jdavies888@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

THANKS FOR YOUR EXCELLENT EXPOSE ON GAMBLING. IT IS OBVIOUS FROM SOME RESPONSES THAT MANY PEOPLE DON'T (WANT TO) KNOW THAT THE PRACTICE OF GAMBLING WILL HELP DESTROY OUR COUNTRY.

FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS NOW I HAVE FOUGHT SUCH IMMORAL, EANS THAT, TAKEN AS A WHOLE, ZERO GOOD COMES FROM THE ACTIVITY. SIMILAR ACTIVITIES ARE: CHAIN LETTERS, PYRAMID SCHEMES, PONZI SCHEMES, SCAMS, RIP-OFFS, ETC. SOME WILL CLAIM THAT THESE ARE NOT ALL THE SAME. RIGHT! BUT AS FAR AS BEING ZERO SUM TO SOCIETY, THEY *ARE* ALL THE SAME. AND THE MORE ENERGY, EFFORT, AND RESOURCES GOING INTO THEM, THE LESS EFFORTS WILL BE GOING INTO REALLY PRODUCTIVE AND HONEST ENDEAVORS.

OF COURSE, JUST LIKE CHAIN LETTERS, PYRAMID SCHEMES, ETC., *SOME* INDIVIDUALS WILL GAIN -- GETTING VERY WEALTHY IN SCHEMES THAT CAN BE DISGUISED AS LEGITIMATE. THAT IS WHY IT IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE SITUATION THAT OUR GOVERNMENTS -- AT VIRTUALLY ALL LEVELS -- IS SUPPORTING IT; EVEN PUSHING IT. GAMBLING WILL SOON -- IF NOT ALREADY -- BE MORE DETRIMENTAL TO SOCIETY THAN ALL OUR DRUGS PUT TOGETHER. DOES ANYONE RECALL THAT THE ROMAN EMPIRE CRASHED FROM ROTTING INTERNALLY? "THOSE WHO FAIL TO LEARN FROM HISTORY WILL BE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT."

I AM VERY THANKFUL TO THOSE FEW INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE TAKEN A STAND AGAINST THE DEVIL'S GREATEST TOOL IN OUR COUNTRY -- GAMBLING.

Dear FRONTLINE,

I thought your program was excellent last night. However, there are a number of facts that were not clearly communicated or were misrepresented. The first one is in the program the narrator stated that Congress made a law that allowed the Indian Reservations to have gambling operations. This is not true, it was a Supreme Court decision from the 1987 case Cabazon Band of Mission Indians vs. California that opened the door for the gambling boom. The court ruled that Indian Reservations were "dependent sovereigns" and in short because California was a Public Law 280 state that meant that California had criminal jurisdiction while only limited civil jurisdiction over the reservations.

Since California allowed charitable bingo and gambling games the regulation was viewed as a civil/regulatory activity and not a criminal activity. It is correct that Congress did take this landmark decision and basically codified this ruling in the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Second, your program failed to emphasize the fact in the case of California that it has a collection of strange regulations and case law rulings that have emerged over the last 120 years that have created its unique card club environment. In short, games of skill are allowed (poker and its variants) while games of chance are not based on a number of tests.

Players pay fees for each hand and the operation does not bank like other casinos rather players do. Getting more to the point and related to this is the fact that local jurisdictions control card clubs and in some cases like Bell Gardens, Commerce, etc. the cities collect up to 60% of their revenues from these operations. It was understated that a strong political force in preventing a logical and comprehensive gambling regulation from emerging is that these type of cities want to maintain their revenues and fear the state will extract this important source of revenue. Also the program failed to mention the troubled relationship between the state and the reservations. The state not maintain a working relationship with the tribes like other states have such as Minnesota and Connecticut where compacts for gambling were negotiated rather in California compacts evolved through the rules developed in IGRA.

There have been a number of fierce battles between the tribes and the state in recent years mainly over slot machines. This unstable environment has prevented the industry from growing especially since California has prevented corporations (except one) from being involved with gambling operations. Although your program clearly showed the link between politics and big money on this issue. Finally, I felt that it was also understated Nevada's reliance on Californians gambling and entertainment dollars. According to studies in Nevada approximately $3 billion dollars a year flows into Nevada from California. It would be hard to deny the fact that California is responsible for helping grow the cities ! of Las Vegas and Reno thus making the state one of the fastest growing in the nation. There are a number of other interesting issues that emerge when looking at the new era of gambling proliferation which all states and provinces are dealing with and as a public policy scholar it is these type of issues that make it so interesting to study.

Mark T. Green
Salem, OR
mgreen@willamette.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,

Most disturbing is the involvement of politicians in gambling. This program supports my belief that we no longer need elected politicians (They only support their own ambitions.)for new legislation (and let's review laws that are no longer needed). We have the technology to have interested individuals vote directly on issues of interest via the Internet. Each member of Congress costs taxpayers over a million dollars per year and they don't act in taxpayers' interests. Let's put technology to work to create a truly democratic government and get rid of career politicians. Gambling and government are a bad mix.

Nancy Drescher
Phoenix AZ
NDRescher@alice-compusystems.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Although gambling addiction is a very real concern, I feel that, as your program revealed, our culture and society are increasingly growing addicted to being entertained. It seems that we have lost the art of healthy leisure. We have been fooled into thinking that the "good life" is the "easy life." Generally, the entertainment industries are some of the fastest growing industries within the nation. This should tell us something about ourselves. Maybe social critic Neil Postman is correct in his analysis that we are "amusing ourselves to death."

Edward L. Bryant, Jr.
Memphis, Tennessee
elbryant@adlan.memphis.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,

I work in the gambling industry (horse/dog racing). The IGRA back in the late eighties is one of the culprits to expansion of gambling. Many states are realizing the loss of potential tax revenue from these Indian Casinos and are now looking to get into the business too. I believe that there will eventually be a backlash effect from the expansion of gambling. How many states will wind up looking like Nevada? Casinos everywhere. Eventually, the semi-monopoly the Native Americans hold on casino gambling (such as in AZ) will disappear and their revenues will decrease and they'll need something else. The Frontline episode was very well done and very informative. If it could be run on Commercial Television, it would be good for any member of the voting/taxpaying public to watch.

Paul Ryneveld
Phoenix, AZ
rynveld@goodnet.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I find it difficult to think of "gaming" as one of the major policy issues of the day.

If people want to gamble--and based on your story they certainly do--I do not see that this is any business of the state.

We had a prohibition on drinking in the 1920's and 30s, and all that got us were lots of speakeasies and gangsters.

I am willing to pay the few extra pennies in welfare cost that might be attributable to a small number of compulsive gamblers in order to preserve another of our individual freedoms.

Yes, people should be free to make complete fools of themselves--like that guy compulsively playing the lottery--in a free country!

Gangsters!

Ben Okner
Washington, D.C.
okner@clark.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Gambling, as in any new and growing industry, will have its surges and declines. The overall effect of a new casino as we have here in Tacoma (Puyallup Tribes Emerald Queen Riverboat Casino) is having a positive effect on the area already. But what I have noticed, is that the people patronizing the local casinos are using them like stop-overs, and still like Vegas and Reno better, mainly it is a reason for them to "get away". Until the local casinos (if ever) can generate the "mystique" of the big names, they will never be fully utilized. As for myself and gambling, strict discipline is the key to gambling enjoyment, I enjoy the atmosphere and everything that goes along with it...go to enjoy the experience, not figuring to make a buck.

Chris Sherrod
Milton, WA
inn@gte.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

As the author of the American Casino Guide, which is the most comprehensive book available for information on any casino in the U.S., I was interested in your show on casino gambling.

You seemed to present a balanced view but I think that you could have at least interviewed some people who enjoy recreational gambling as a fun time rather focusing on that one guy who seemed to be hooked on the California Lottery. After all, most people (99%?) who go to casinos have a good time and enjoy themselves.

Also, after visiting your web page on the odds in gambling I noticed you have some errors. The biggest error was in stating that the casino edge is zero when 10 times odds is offered in craps. What was your source for that information?

Steve Bourie
Hollywood, FL
casinos@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think explosion is too big of a word to use here. The gaming industry hasn't exploded, but has grown at a pace in relation to the demands of the consumer and what is allowed by governmental regulation.

All gaming, including Indian gaming, is regulated. In Frontline's report, they reported that Indian gaming is the most under-regulated gaming industry. Contrary to that statement (which was one sentence without an exploration into the details) Indian gaming is highly regulated by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and some members of Congress seek to expand the regulation, including taxing tribes, who, as governmental entities, are not taxed. Tribes have accepted regulation (except federal taxation) even though, some argue, it infringes on sovereign self-governance by the tribes.

In terms of local communities, I think a lot of exploration needs to be done. The pros and cons, in my opinion, make claims, but I've yet to see an unbiased report on the issues.

Steve Watt
Washington, D.C.
swatt@his.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

The only thing wrong with gambling is losing more than the entertainment value of play.

Legalized gambling could by law limit the exposure of players to a small fraction of their annual earnings which would have to be deposited with government before play.

It could then require refund of, say, 90% of all losses, one week after play. Winnings would have to be adjusted to accommodate these limits. Other forms of gambling could be made illegal.

Alternatively, government could offer gambling on these terms and let private sector gaming compete with them. In the latter case, taxes on legalized gambling should all be devoted to support of families ruined by compulsive losers. Should these reforms fail to win popular support, we will do well to support Indian gaming. It may be ruining some people and catering to many -- but it certainly is helping some Indians who formerly had a bad deal.

John Gelles
Ventura, CA
myturn@vcol.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Senator Bill Lockyer has supporters from the gaming industry and Attorney General Lundgren listens to the gun manufacturers. Most Californians want neither gambling in almost every city or unlimited access to handguns but we have both.

Dorothy Chapman
San Clemente CA
DCHAP0511@AOL

Dear FRONTLINE,

I may have missed the point, but you certainly missed a major one by not following the money promised by some of the pro gambling forces. 1. Is there enough money made after profits to really benefit a local economy. 2. After the cost of additional public services (police, fire, social...), is it still worthwhile to offer gambling as a money maker or is it a thickly disguised publicly supported money drain. 3. Why no economic study of Atlantic City? Over the years I have read several articles highly critical of what the gambling dynamo has done to erode the worth of that city? You had time and budget to do a story here, why did you spend so little of both tracking the real soulless heart of this story, IT'S THE MONEY!

David D. Wilcox, Jr.
Arroyo Grande, California
ddwilcoxjr@thegrid.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Among the many vexing issues involving state sponsored gambling is one that has emerged here in Wisconsin. Original legislation legalizing gambling provided that there would be no advertising of the lottery, only informational spots on TV, radio, etc. However, these "informational" spots have developed into advertising "hooks" aimed at people who are desperate and can least afford to throw away money on lottery tickets. The lottery in Wisconsin has solved no real revenue problems, but it has laid the basis for some horrific problems that we will have to face in the future, the chief among them those addicted to gambling and the disproportioned rip-off of the poor.

Harry Harder
Eau Claire, WI.
harder@uwec.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,

I thought the program was great. I work with pathological gamblers, and the seductiveness of "being in action" is unbelievable. The "Indian Casinos" have certainly helped many Native Americans, but I have seen so much of that money just go right back into the casino. Our state is gambling's biggest bookie and its biggest addict, especially with video lottery. Gambling has gone in cycles in our country, and I'm not sure where this one is at, but it frightens me. Keep putting the facts out there so that people can make informed decisions. I don't know what else we can do.

Bill Schutt
Watertown, SD
wschutt@icontrol.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

After seeing your program I decided that "Publisher's Clearing House" is simply a form of mail-order gambling and their extreme manipulation to get people to buy garbage has worked with me. I am embarrassed and annoyed with my feeling that my friends who cannot stay away from casinos are somehow less than me -- somehow more flawed than myself. This entire issue of gambling, wishing for something for nothing is sad. Thank you for your program -- it's really important.

Judith Salzman
Tucson, AZ

Dear FRONTLINE,

After watching your broadcast of 'Easy Money', it's re- assuring to know that not only is the Federal Government for sale(John Huang and the Asian connection) but so also is our largest state, California.

It's was unnerving to watch lobbyist's from the US. State Department owned Bicycle Club Casino enterprise 'help' craft legislation on the state level designed to prevent gambling, eh, gaming regulation in California. Who needs a democracy? Have state legislatures simply become figureheads bound and gagged by these powerful money machines?

Equally disturbing is the audacity shown by the CEO of the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas in portraying gambling, eh, gaming as a victimless crime. Gambling is a devastating illness which often manifests into undesirable consequences. Contrary to what he professed, gambling has hardly become mainstream America.

Back to the issue of buying influence, I must remember to write that check to my City Councilor to be sure my trash is collected.

Joseph Whalen
Springfield, Ma.
JLWhalen.@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Gambling is a vice. Along with smoking & drinking. While vices should be tolerated, they should not be encouraged The fact that the Government is promoting gambling is absurd. Lotteries are the hallmark of a banana republic.

The only answer I can think of is that it should be illegal to advertise vices. This includes cigarettes, alcohol & gambling.

John Reilly
Brooklyn, NY
John_Reilly@ccmail.prusec.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

The libertarian view that freedom is the ultimate virtue is flawed because most people equate legal behavior to good behavior and society at large pays the price. This was made evident by the lady in the casino who said that what she knew to be wrong 40 or 50 years ago is not wrong any more. Clearly her view of right and wrong was modified by what the government had merely made legal.

Roger Davis
Cincinnati, OH
rogerwd@xetron.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your piece on gambling (and web page) was excellent and provocative! Now, I just need to wade through all this data and determine where I stand on the issue. Good job and keep up the good work. We as a society need to give more thought to matters such as these.

JMB
Montg. AL
jbryan@wrldnet.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

America has truly lost the "work ethic" that made us great. Thoughts and fantasies of living like a king/queen driving Rolls Royces and eating caviar are dangled like a carrot in front of an ass. People would rather bet a dollar or sit around waiting for horse races and/or numbers to be picked rather than exerting some effort to better themselves. I feel sorry for the next generation of the US.

Vincent Papa
Macon GA.
105321,2201@compuserve.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thanks for your informative reporting on gambling. You were fair and honest at the same time. You portrayed a side of gambling that I hadn't realized was so big...the politics of it. I think it is crazy that an industry can control the laws regarding its regulation, but even more hideous is that the government, specifically the Department of Justice, is playing such a big role in it. At best, this is a conflict of interest. If more people knew the truth about it, I think there would be some outrage. You did a fine job of exposing it.

Also, I live near Branson, MO, an area that is no stranger to the gambling debate. My county (Christian), which borders the county Branson is located in (Taney), has specifically been targeted by the gambling industry as a place to sneak under the door. My beliefs against gambling, especially in this part of the country, were only strengthened by your report tonight. We have a very low crime rate presently, and from the studies I have seen, we could lose our family reputation in a heartbeat if this is brought in.

I intend to visit your WWW site. Again, thanks for this program. I appreciate the quality and look forward to seeing more of it.

Sincerely,
Dan C. Gallo
Highlandville, MO

Dear FRONTLINE,

As a regular poker player in the large card clubs in Southern California, I am quite curious what information professor Thompson of UNLV used to inform his comments regarding these clubs. In several hundred hours of play at these clubs I have never seen any evidence of the rampant cheating, collusion, prostitution, loan sharking, and drug dealing cited in his interview. I strongly question your use of such inflammatory comments without any supporting evidence.

Darren L. Gasser
Oak Park, CA
kaos@earthlink.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

As it the case with most personal issues, gambling is a matter of personal choice, conscience and judgment. Billions of dollars go to places like Las Vegas, I think it makes a lot more sense to capture as many of these dollars locally than letting them go where they do nothing to improve our local communities. People gamble and like to gamble, they always will.

James Porter
Perris, Ca
ThWanderer@AOL.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

"Easy Money" was extremely interesting. However, I feel it could have been a 2 hour special with a part devoted to the odds against the gamblers to better illustrate how gambling is a losing proposition for the players, especially the state lotteries. Unfortunately, even with a clear demonstration that the more you gamble the more you lose, people will continue to do it. Jobs are not secure, real wages are still going down for a lot of people, so they will continue to dream of the big win that will solve all their financial problems, no matter what the odds are. The saddest part of it is to see governments prey on people fears and dreams.

Michel Grenier
Hull, Quebec, Canada
mgrenier@istar.ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

Watching your program, just shows how corrupt politicians can become with the lure of money. "Hey, everyone's doin' it, so it must be OK, right?" Currently in my county their is one gambling boat. Just on the other side of the river in St. Louis county there is another, and a bridge in between. The I-70 Blanchett Bridge. My suggestion: Construct a pedestrian walk way on the bridge for all the people who are jumping off.

Please have more programs like this to show what a facade this industry is. these days.

St.Peters, Mo

Dear FRONTLINE,

The rhetoric over gambling sounds like something from the 1910's is we substitute the word "gambling" for the word "alcohol". History shows that prohibiting an activity simply makes it more attractive. We are adults and should make our own decisions.

The fact that gambling can be addictive to some people should be compared with the addictive effects of tobacco. The latter is certainly more costly to the economy than gambling. We allow people who choose to smoke the option of doing so. They, and perhaps their families suffer the consequences. We do however restrict smoking to adults in certain locations. Why should gambling be treated differently? Freedom of choice is a basic tenet of life in the United States.

Don Scanlon
Crescent City, CA
scanlon@telis.org

Dear FRONTLINE,

That casino did more for that Indian reservation in less than 5 years, than has been done with gov't programs(food stamps,HUD etc.)in over 100 years. Also, don't forget it is the tax payers that fund both the casinos(revenue) & gov't programs(taxes). However, the Indians get first count on the money earned at the casino, thus raising their standard of living to the tune of $1000 per week per tribe family. Hence, most would place their bets on consumers(tax paying CUSTOMERS) rather than the neo socialist gov't(tax payer's collector) any day when it comes to raising their standard of living.

Jay
Jacksonville, NC
shotgun@nternet.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

My small community of Penryn, near Sacramento California, has experienced the effects of the expansion of gambling first hand. Last year we were targeted as the future site of California's largest Indian gambling casino. It was to be the size of two football fields and include slot machines, card tables and other gambling. We were told that because it was to be on tribal land that residents, local government and the State of California had no say in the location or regulation of the casino. Our community was outraged. We discovered the hard way that gambling regulation, especially on Indian lands, is practically nonexistant. Even though our local community is overwhelmingly against the establishment of a gambling casino in our town, it is very difficult to fight the big money investors funding this casino. In our case, as well as in many others, if the residents of the community are permitted to vote for or against a casino in their neighborhood, the gambling casinos will lose!
.

Patty Neifer
Penryn, CA
neifer@pacbell.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your show on gaming finished with a statement to the effect of "build it and they will come". More precisely you said that when new casinos opened they filled up. Not true on the MS gulf coast or in New Orleans. On the coast there was a shakeout among over built casinos in the Bolixi/Gulfport area and one in Waveland never had a chance being too out of the way (despite two tries) since it wasn't on a major hwy. or on the way to any other casino or vacation spot. Yeah they were just "floating" casinos but others have survived in the same environment. In New Orleans the land based casino had a temporary home (in a bad neighborhood) which fell so short of expectation that the whole project went into bankruptcy. At the same time river boat gaming had several big failures the net result of which is about 25% of the gaming that was projected. My guess is that when the land based casino is finished in New Orleans it may make money but never on the scale that was expected and well below the industry norms.

Then there was Atlantic City --didn't they have some failures also?

The novelty is wearing off and too many are chasing the same dollars. At least that's the way it is here.

Sincerely,
Dave More
Slidell, LA

Dear FRONTLINE,

A very interesting show. I agree with the Methodist pastor that gambling is eating the heart out of our county. This so called entertainment is and will take money out of local towns and cities that would otherwise be spent on goods and services. Frontline should do an investigation to prove what I have just said. Also, Frontline should investigate the fact that crime and broken families are also the result of gambling. Keep up the good work. Continue to be a voice for those of us that do not have a voice.

Ron Gower
Barrington, RI
walt@edgenet.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Indian gaming in the Americas was historically a passion, a way of gaining economical advantage over an enemy, and part of ceremonial rituals that brought back the buffalo, rain, harvest, the sun during solstice, etc. It would seem that the Western view of recreational gambling and the traditional form of ritualized gambling are diametrically opposed, but a closer look at Greek, Roman, Nordic, and Hindu texts shows that gambling tied in with spiritual beliefs was a global phenomenon. The recently released book, GAMBLER WAY: INDIAN GAMING IN MYTHOLOGY, HISTORY, AND ARCHAEOLOGY IN NORTH AMERICA looks at ancient Indian gaming ritual and more than 100 native gambling myths and compares them to gambling references found in Western texts. For more information on the anthropological aspect of traditional gambling, see http://www.nmia.com/~kgabriel.

Kathryn Gabriel
New Mexico
kgabriel@nmia.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

The increased ability of the less privileged (sp) people of North America to perceive their situation is proportional to the need for elaborate distractions that subvert their attention. If everyone watched Frontline, our society would disintegrate before the show was half over.

Finlay MacNab
Vancouver, BC
amaloney@direct.ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

The Gaming Industry has not even a shred of decency or compassion for their fellow man. Their M.O.(modus operandi) has always been to further consolidate their wealth & power. Never mind that our social structure is crumbling around them.

People are always going to gamble. The very least the Gaming Industry should be made to do is pay for the social ills they helped to create.

Bill Lewis
Sandpoint, Idaho
coffeehouse @nidlink.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

There is always the lure of money and the good times it can bring. Whether gaming is regulated or not people are going to gamble. The argument that it ruins lives is not the gambling houses to blame. It is the gambler since gambling is so addictive. What stock brokers do is also gambling, no difference and all of America is buying stocks and shares. So really this whole thing gaming is a non-issue. I may have to reluctantly agree that it does nurture bad elements and does increase the crime rate. Regulating it may help I am not sure, but there is no way any public body can stop people from gambling. It is an evil that a society like ours has to live with. There is no shying away from it.

Arun Gurjale
Falls Church, VA
gurjale.arun@worldnet.att.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program regarding gambling was very interesting. I live in Colorado and we have legalized gambling in three small mountain towns and the State of Colorado lottery. I have seen my in-laws who are in their 70's spend their time and money on the pursuit of "easy money." It amazes me because they worked very hard all their lives to be able to retire with a modest income. They use to camp and ride their dirt bikes in our beautiful Rocky Mountains. Now, they take bus trips to gambling towns in and outside our State. I personally do not enjoy gambling or understand the pleasure in it. I have not expressed to them my opinion of gambling because it is after all, their right.

Four years ago, I met a man who moved to Colorado from Las Vegas. Originally, he told me he moved because he was tired of the rat race and his now ex-wife was transferred here by her company. He lived here over a year before discovering legalized gambling just 30 minutes away from Denver. He became a frequent visitor to the gambling casinos. His whole personality changed. He began losing large sums of money he did not have. He would take out cash advances on credit cards in order to try and "win it back." To make a long story short, he never did "win it back" and eventually hit bottom when he lost his job and had to file bankruptcy for the second time in his life. I learned later on that he had a terrible gambling problem and that was one of the reasons for the move to Colorado. I do not agree with the widespread of legalized gambling. I am concerned for the children who sit in lobbies with very little to do while their parents are gambling. I think gambling is one of the factors contributing to the demoralization of American society.

The positive side to this issue is the knowledge that the Native Americans have discovered the way to get their country back (which was "legally stolen" from them), they have discovered many people's weakness, GAMBLING!

Sincerely,
Lyn Klein

Dear FRONTLINE,

Where did you get your slot percentage information? In Nevada slot machines must pay back a minimum of 85 percent I have never seen a program under 77 percent even on cruise line which are not under US.

Control most Nevada casino's pay back 90 percent or better. but still our slots fair to the public? not since ngb allowed virtual reel technology in the early 80's.

LARRY ZEIDMAN
El Segundo, CA
laslots@ix.netocm.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

We all gamble. We take a job and gamble if we will be downsized. We start a business and gamble if it will make it. It is just the degree of involvement. I can go to Las Vegas and put down a bet for $5.00. If I want to start a business the cost is greater. The point is that life is a gamble. You don't decide the outcome because there are too many variables and you must take your chances. Granted with the "Gaming Industry" there are those who won't be able to control themselves. Should all people who want to play games of chance be denied because of the few who are unable to control their actions? It may destroy lives as does reckless driving, alcohol, excess eating or sexually deviant behavior. But should responsible people be denied the ability to drive, drink (not while driving of course), eat or have sex because of those who can't control themselves. I think not we must take responsibility for our actions and not blame the devils who provide a legitimate past time for the majority of the population.

Rick Wilburn
Portland, OR
wilburn@pacifier.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a United Methodist and have been proud of my church's long struggle against nationwide gambling proliferation. I am sad to say, however, that there is obviously a correlation between the declining influence of mainline Protestant denominations like mine and the explosion of legalized gambling in America. The battle against gambling is a fight that the Methodist Church also fought in the last century, but with greater success. The message was better received then, I suspect, because vices like gambling were perceived by most people as sinful per se or encouraging of sin. Today, if you call gambling a sin, you're laughed at, or worse, called a racist because of all the prosperity it has brought to our Indian brothers and sisters. Sin transcends racial divides, however. Indian gaming is the redistribution of misery: the poverty is being shifted off the reservations onto non-Indians as the limited earnings of those in the lower middle class pour into the Indian gaming palaces. A similar principle is at work in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. We can kid ourselves all we want that the money we lose in casinos or on lottery tickets is just "entertainment money" which we could have just as well spent at the movies or a ball game. This is an insidious rationalization. What force inside of us is in the driver's seat when we can't stop, not just yet, anyway! laying our money down. Sin is that which separates us from God. "You cannot serve both God and Money" Matt.6:24 (NIV). People must choose which one, given the odds, is worth risking everything.

Paul Yarbrough
ALBUQUERQUE, NM
YARBURRO@AOL.COM

Dear FRONTLINE,

I applaud your comprehensive report on the problem of "gaming" in America. Your program revealed, with clarity, the ticking time-bomb just waiting to go off . . . that is, the destruction of the infrastructure of society . . . man's care for fellow man. Anyone objectively viewing your program could see that "gambling" is not the problem . . . the problem is the greed which drives the whole process. Why can't we see that one cannot possibly participate in gambling of any form, without finding himself in violation of the "Golden Rule"? Obviously, in our present society, it is the gold itself which rules, and like the one man said (paraphrased here), "...the money is the honey... and it attracts the flies."

It seems so clear to me that the gambling industry is in reality a dead-end street. There will come a time when it has "milked the cow dry" and there will be no one left with any money to blow except those who have been milking the cow all along. This, to me, is the most sinister part of the scheme... it (the gambling industry) depends on seducing each successive generation into its trap. And it will no doubt try . . . seduction is the name of the game. Sorry, Mr. Casino man . . . but I ain't bitin'!

Jody W. Durham, Evangelist
Ronan church of Christ
Ronan, Montana 59864

Dear FRONTLINE,

AS A KEY EXECUTIVE OF THE BICYCLE CLUB CASINO, I AM IN A POSITION OF ADVANTAGE TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS AND WHAT DOES NOT. CERTAINLY THERE ARE BOUND TO BE UNDESIRABLES COMING IN TO ANY BUSINESS. THAT IS FROM TIME TO TIME HARD TO CONTROL. HAVING WORKED IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY FOR HIGHLY RESPECTED CORPORATIONS, THIS ORGANIZATION IS SO AMAZING. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT I HAVE COME TO KNOW THERE FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS HAS DONE A DISASTER OF A JOB. MOSTLY DUE TO THE TRUSTEES IT APPOINTS WHO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ANY BUSINESS AND HAVE EXPERIENCE AT MANAGING BUSINESS FAILURES. AS A CITIZEN, I AM MORE CRITICAL WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL LUNGREN WHO PROFESSES TO BE SUCH A TOUGH LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. AT THE SAME TIME HIS TOP DEPUTIES ARE PARTICIPATING IN A SEMINAR AS PRESENTERS LATER THIS MONTH AT HOLLYWOOD PARK CASINO IN INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA. THE SUBJECT IS PREVENTING CARD CHEATING AND SHOWING SURVEILLANCE TECHNIQUES. THE INTERESTING PART ABOUT THIS IS THERE IS ONE PRESENTER, DON SHEPARD, WHO IS A KNOWN CONVICTED FELON WHO SERVED A SENTENCE IN A FEDERAL FACILITY IN MO. AFTER HE WAS FINGERED FOR PARTICIPATING IN MONEY SKIMMING AT THE TROPICANA IN LAS VEGAS SOME YEARS AGO. HIS NAME EVEN APPEARS IN THE BOOK CASINO. HOW CAN MR. LUNGREN, WHO PROFESSES HE WILL BE THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, AND WANTS REGULATION, PARTICIPATE IN SUCH AN ACTIVITY WITH SUCH A CHARACTER?

PASADENA, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I just watched your program on Gambling in America.

Chilling.

We here in Canada are on the same path that much of the United States is on with respect to that issue although small communities have successfully campaigned against Video Lottery Terminals and the like. This though against a government which has tended to back off in the face of voter indignation with such issues. We have not faced the kind of pressure exerted from the "Big Money" lobbyists you have there. I am sure though that this phenomena will likely appear in the future.

Heaven forbid.

Your program this week provided a valuable insight into the issue of gambling and I hope that some sort of moderation of it is reached due to programs like yours.

Congratulations on a fine episode.

Sincerely,
Bill Charbonneau
Calgary, Alberta

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think gambling is a form of entertainment that most people are incapable of controlling. they manage to lose more than they should which in effect causes trouble for them, the family, etc. while it is OK to go on vacation and enjoy the gambling environment, it isn't good to have a casino in the area which you live.

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for televising the excellent program entitled Easy money. The basis for the current explosion in gambling in the US is nothing new. 2500 years ago a man named Guatemala Siddartha, the Buddha or enlightened one, taught about the root causes of human suffering. He found that greed, desire, and delusion were key causes of suffering. The Buddha also found that these characteristics of human beings were very difficult to overcome.

Our culture is a glaring example of how little human psychology has changed in the last 2500 years. Las Vegas and the nation wide gambling craze are grand examples of how prevalent greed, desire and delusion still are and how deeply they are embedded into our culture. Will this gambling craze cause anything but the human suffering the Buddha predicted? I think not.

Steve Wallingford
Englewood, Florida
stevewalling@msn.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

My once to twice a year trips to Las Vegas for the past 10 years are for the fun and excitement of a 24-hour a day city. I do very little actual gambling. My brother, however, lives near an Indian reservation and has become addicted, almost losing everything he has worked for over his lifetime, including his home, wife and child. He began gambling just one year ago, not knowing of his addiction until it was almost too late. I believe there are many people who do not know of their own weaknesses, and I believe making gambling more accessible will ruin many families.

ILLINOIS

Dear FRONTLINE,

Great Show! You did very well showing the advantages and disadvantages of gambling. Though my name is Gamble, as I get on in years, I see more harm than good to gambling.

Gambling may be viewed as an entertainment, but it's money spent usually away from the community where it originates. This reduces the quality of life of that community while supporting a billion dollar industry that is slowing taking over American Family Values.

Quality programming like this is worth every dollar. I plan in increase my support to PBS to ensure that journalism like this program continues.

Sincerely,
Kevin C. Gamble
Marion, IA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program did not mention the recent proliferation of legal slot machines here in DE. The lure of gambling (combined with the lure of free meals in their excellent buffet restaurant) seems to draw predominantly the elderly, minorities, and the handicapped. All machines are connected by computer and video cameras are everywhere. I strongly suspect that there is more than simply chance involved in selecting which gamblers win big. Rarely are the big winners members of minorities. Often, the big winners seem to have some connection to those who are involved in operating these facilities or are members of some preferred demographic group. At least, these have been my unscientific observations.

NOTPC
Harrington
notpc@shore.intercom.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Four topics/questions came to mind during your "Easy Money" program?

1) The Bicycle Club -- a bike manufacturer? The way in which the US. Marshall's asset seizure of the Bicycle Club's shares has been handled is in violation of the Constitution and all ethical practices. The Federal Government should sell every penny's worth of stock immediately. Who's responsibility is it to see that this is carried out? How do we police our own "police?"

2) I refuse to play the Missouri Lottery because of the way the bill was promoted to the public: "... a great opportunity for new road projects, to create jobs and, most importantly, to improve the state education system."

Likewise, the way most other state lotteries have been passed -- great promises for the use of the new funds generated. However, in Missouri, these funds pour straight into the General Fund.

Since passage of the bill, state education costs have risen at a shocking rate, teachers are still fighting for fair wages and cutbacks lurk around every corner.

Since gambling is such a significant revenue stream for state governments why can't a separate account be created for gambling-generated revenues? Then, pass legislation stating -- by strict percentage -- what portion of these funds is to go toward what departments? Let the public judge whether or not the improvements made justify the personal costs of gambling.

3) "This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs." "Surgeon General Warns: Smoking causes lung cancer." Sound familiar? How about: "This is your wallet before you left the house. This is the sunburn you got walking home after you lost your shirt." or "Surgeon General Warns: Gambling can cause skin cancer."

Undoubtedly, drugs and cigarettes are harmful to your health. Gambling can be equally addictive and as mentally harmful as any drug. It is ludicrous not to at least warn individuals of the hazards of gambling along with promoting it.

The choice to gamble, use drugs and smoking are just that -- choices. Because gambling generates such revenue, the government won't fully inform the public of its downside, nor the real odds of winning. If the government could reap profits from the drug trade and monopolize the tobacco industry we'd never see another infomercial or warning label blackballing their use.

4) Campaign contributions. What size and kind of grass roots movement will it take to make it illegal for any politician in, or rung for office, or any political party to accept contributions from private industry? Each party should have a set campaign fund provided by taxpayers for use in their campaigns and not a penny more. This would level the playing field for anyone wishing to hold office and keep private business influence out. Just a thought.

I really enjoyed your program. It was very thought-provoking.

Brian Patton

Dear FRONTLINE,

On Thursday evening, June 10, 1997 you presented an expose concerning the detrimental effects of gaming without documenting any cases where individuals or families have had their lives destroyed by gambling. How can you possibly defend such an oversight?


Brian Dalziel
Memphis, Tennessee

Dear FRONTLINE,

With regards to casino gambling on Native American lands, I like to view the issue in a historical context. After hundreds of years of persecution, the tribes have finally found a way to take back a little something from the people who put them on reservations. I say, more power to them!

Chris Kirkham
St. Cloud, MN
motif88@netlinkcom.com

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