Interview: Rev Thomas Grey

Q: You used to be Special Forces in Vietnam.

Reverend Thomas Grey heads the National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion. He was interviewed in the early spring of 1997. Grey: We want to correct that because I'm sure the gambling people will come after me, and I don't want to misrepresent. I was an infantry captain in Vietnam, and I went through a special warfare school prior to going. I was an advisor with the Vietnamese Ranger Battalion in First Corp. I spent [a] year, 1966 and '67, in combat with the Vietnamese.

Q: And you came out and became a minister, is that correct?

Grey: Well, when I got out I wanted to ask some life questions. I mean, Vietnam was one of those, I think, shaping experiences for many people. And I thought that by going to seminary it was a pretty good place to say 'who am I, who's my neighbor, what does it all mean?' I didn't really have an intent to become a minister. It just happened that I had been there two and a half years. There had been a murder of a minister and his wife in Chicago. I was asked to take the church, and I accepted it. And 23 years later I was doing ministry.

Q: How did you get involved in the gambling issue? Tell me that story.

Grey: I remember vividly, I had been a person that went to Dartmouth, an all-male school, and you played poker on Saturday evenings as a diversion. So, gambling, penny ante poker. In the army, played poker. So, I was familiar with gambling and never really had any great qualms about a friendly game. When gambling came, I was 51 one. I woke up and read the paper that in my small, rural, midwestern conservative Republican community, the county board had voted without any prior discussion to dock a riverboat casino in the county. And I remember my gut reaction, I said, 'these people don't know what they're inviting into town.'

The thought had crossed me mind. I said, 'you know, this is not good economics, it's not good public policy, and it's not good for the quality of life.' The question never was whether there ought to be gambling or not. It just didn't fit the community. So, my involvement became as a reaction to a unilateral move by elected officials to bring something in that I thought didn't fit in our community.

Q: What do you imagine it is that is entertaining about gambling? Can you answer that question? Why do people gamble?

Grey: I think a common denominator is if we think back of when the carnival used to come to town or to our neighborhood. And it would set up and it was, an excitement had arrived. I remember I used to take a date and go to the carnival and I even played baseball, I was not a bad athlete, and it used to cost me a ton of money to knock over some milk bottles to get a stuffed animal. But it was great. Never though anything about it. You hit the ferris wheel, it was excitement, it was romantic, it wasn't a question of money.

And guess what? On Monday the carnival left town. The difference is the casino was the carnival that never leaves town. Now, the next week, I wouldn't have been so dumb. I would have said, 'I could have probably got that stuffed animal at K-Mart or one of the local chain stores for two bucks; it cost me $25. I think they've marketed an activity that we used to do once in awhile, on the other side of the tracks, and they put it on main street and made it an economic engine that drives a community. And it's not that.

Q: How do you account for the fact, then, that just in the last five years there has been an absolutely provable explosion in gambling in this country?

Grey: I think it's been made more available, more accessible, government has sanitized it, they've done a better job of marketing it. They dropped the B&L out of gambling and called it gaming. We call that in the Army putting foo-foo dust on something. You take it from one thing and make it another. I think that by doing that they hit a nerve in people. And I don't want to sound like a theologian... Bob Greene, a columnist, wrote a column about the great American give-up. And he said gambling is a symbol. And I felt that gambling is a give-up when government brings it in it gives up on us as people to pay our fair share of what we want in terms of taxes. It's a give-up by a business community that says well, let's welcome it in, it's a predatory enterprise but it's going to bring more people, tourism, etc. And finally, it's a give-up by the people gambling because what it says is we're willing to be made losers of. People go to gamble bringing what they're going to lose. They don't bring money to win.

So, I think its because America no longer believes in its future. So, if it doesn't believe in its future, then why not worship ... the god of chance. And I mean a future where we work for a living, we sacrifice for the next generation. We talk about good jobs. Unions now are accepting gambling as being legitimate jobs. And I just can't believe that we would see the president of--John Sweeney is going to go to Vegas this month. He's groveling around for these jobs.

Q: What is that? Can you help describe what has happened to the national character?

Grey: I think the national character is often determined by the type of story that we tell. The type of story that our leaders tell: political leaders, business leaders, religious leaders. I think our leadership has given up on us. I think America doesn't work, and I think it's broken, the connection. The American people are fine. They just need a leadership that says to them, 'you're better than this. You're better than bringing gambling in for economic development.' And my sense is we could be on the cusp of this gambling fight. And what I see is a civic revival of people saying, 'we can't trust government any longer. We can't trust business. We can't even trust our religious leaders that don't see gambling as a great threat.'

So, while there's a certain lament on the part of what has happened with leadership, after four years on the road, I'm telling you, America is alive and well. And here in Pittsburgh there are citizens that have stood up and are going to stand up and they're going to go to the ballot box and they're going to vote for the future of their community and it's going to be based on hope. It's going to be based on their best expectations of why they're here and living in this neighborhood raising kids. It wasn't to bring a casino in and get a quick fix and take care of some potholes or get a cheap meal or have a little fun.

Q: But that sort of implies that perhaps the majority of people aren't willing to embrace the best expectations.

Grey: Again, we deal with this majority. Perception is reality. And let me use the example of smoking because I think it's probably analogous to what is happening right now. When I smoked cigarettes, when people didn't smoke they had to walk out of the room. In the Army I remember we drove the non-smokers out of meetings. Today, if you go by, you'll see people who smoke are outside the buildings. Now, the cigarette is the same. The only thing that's changed is the perception of smoking. The gambling predator through public relations and through help from some friendly politicians changed the nature of gambling by making it gaming and calling it economic development and calling it a painless revenue source.

It is an activity everyone did a little bit of, but they did not do it as economic development. They didn't do it as a painless revenue source. So, I think what's happened is they've packaged the activity and people have bought into it. But, when we get people thinking beyond the initial blush and we start to have an informed dialogue and debate, we win. 35 states have said no to gambling expansion and only three have said yes since 1994. Now, I can tell you those victories were won, not with marketing dollars or telemarketing or us running great ads on television saying 'wake up America', they've been won by people who have talked about what gambling is. And we beat them at the ballot box and the legislatures and in the court houses.

So, my feeling is, is that America, while 8 out of 10 people might occasionally gamble--a bet at the office, a bet on the super bowl, a bet on the golf course--they are also people who know that gambling is not an engine that runs their downtown. America is uncomfortable when gambling becomes established on Main Street.

Q: But now, Wall Street is very much involved in the gambling industry. Major Fortune 500 companies like ITT, MGM, Hilton, companies that would have seen a taint in the business ten years ago, even five years ago, now find it perfectly OK. What does that say?

Grey: Well, what it says is that you can make more money in gambling than in credit cards. ITT, as soon as they did, I said, instead of making 19 percent on credit cards, they can make between 25 and 30 percent on gambling. Greed drives a lot of this. And when I say America is broken, you've got people that live by one set of rules and then you've got leadership and the business community ... [and] the political community that operate under another set of numbers. Bottom line is how much money can we make. They've given up on what is good for the common good.

My perception is that we used to be a society that talked about a common good, and we've had a breakdown of this sense of community, privatized lifestyles. And a lot of things have fed into it, what we are experiencing now. But I think that what I've watched are people come together and, for example, I've met with Ralph Reed and Ralph Nader within a period and both Ralphs are opposed to gambling. Now, you can fit the rest of the America in between the two Ralphs. This has got nothing to do with ideology, partisanship. It has to do with whether or not we believe in our future as people that the rest of us providing education in a common way, where we pay taxes, whether we provide community services by coming together and saying, 'these are the things that we want and we're willing to pay for them.'

The fact that we're in a community like Pittsburgh [California] where people are buying homes on the basis that they want to raise their families here suggests to me that they're willing to do it the old-fashioned way of paying for their share, rather than inviting a predator in that will say, 'just let me come in and feed on a few of your citizens and I will see that you don't have to pay your fair share.'

Q: We looked at who holds stock in the public gaming companies. Harvard University owns stock; California Public Employees Union owns stock. All the legitimate investors, ones thought of as mainstream investors, now buy into this idea that it is just like any other industry. But you're saying it's not just like any other industry.

Grey: And I think what's interesting here is that I think the correction is going to be not as much of us "preaching" to them about 'shame on you for doing this.' A lot of it's going to be based, they're looking at the bottom line and their investment doesn't look very good today... They did not invest in these companies to see them lose money. Some of these companies are now, as ironic as it is, their stocks are down, they have to expand, they're predatory in nature. So, what we're going to watch is a real shake out and people are going to get out of gambling stocks not because of the reasons that I'm talking about, ...[but] because it's not making the money. They did not want to gamble. They are gambling that the gambling interests are going to make them a healthy return.

So, the gambling predator is caught between what I call a rock and a hard place. I've got a file. They're caught between us hitting them from every side, not letting them expand, and they've got their own stockholders now saying, 'where's the return? I bought your stock. President Riverboat's was at 32. It's down to three-quarters of a dollar.' Can you imagine if you bought President Riverboat's stock two years ago at $32 a share and it was sitting at three-fourth of a dollar? You'd be calling the company saying, 'what's happening?'

So I think the correction is going to be in whether or not we can make gambling stocks undesirable. The danger we have though, same with cigarettes, is if pension funds get invested too heavily, it could be that we'll keep them in our communities even though they bring harm and pain, to make sure that the return keeps going into these pension funds. And that's a danger to us. It's why shows or any attention that can be given to this question, companies that now invest in cigarette stocks, the churches have withdrawn. I venture to say we've got churches that have invested in gambling stock. We'd like to see that type of critical movement, evaluation. But part of it will be based, not on the moral of it, it's be based on whether these are giving a return.

Q: But the risk, as you see it though, is enough mainstream investors would commit to gambling so that they have a stake in keeping gambling alive.

Grey: Absolutely but I think the danger is, and I think they've started to move already, is that--and I have to always preface it--if I were them, I would try to get a Hollywood company or Time-Warner or some big entertainment conglomerate to embrace people. Once that happens, what they will have done is establish themselves on Main Street as the movie theatre. They peddle themselves as entertainment. So what we see is the danger. Bill Cosby is going to come to Iowa for Harvey's Casino. That's dangerous, in my mind, because the message that Bill Cosby suggests, then, is that casinos are a legitimate form of business and entertainment.

The battle is going to be whether or not it's legitimate entertainment. Disney fought very hard against casinos coming into Florida. But Disney has sat on the sidelines in terms of this debate nationally. If I had two minutes with Disney's board I'd say, 'either put the machines in your park, theme parks, and get with it or help us and keep them out of America because they're competing for your dollars.'

We had an example in Michigan, in Ohio, where there were two referendums. I called it the tail of two states and addresses identical questions. In Michigan it was casinos in Detroit. In Ohio, whether there should be eleven casinos in three major cities. In both states, the pro-gambling forces spent upwards of $6 million plus. The only difference was, in Ohio the governor, the business community and the church leadership stood up and said unilaterally, 'we are opposed to this and we will fight it.' We won 62 percent to 38 percent. In Michigan John Engler, the Governor, said 'I'm against it' and didn't do a thing. Didn't go out and campaign against it. He just said, 'I'm against it.' The Big 3 auto industry that is rebuilding in Detroit did nothing. The church leadership wrote a resolution. Well, that and 50 cents gets you a cup of coffee. This is a street fight. This is out there, we're winning hearts and minds.

We lost in Michigan 51.5 to 48.5. Now, the difference in two states were that leadership took a pass and rode off the battlefield and left us to fight. We almost pulled it out against all that money and muscle. So what I'm going to suggest is that if gambling can neutralize our political system, can co-op our business community--and that's why your question is right on target--and if the church will continue to be silent institutionally, then we as people will be sacrificed.

Q: It's interesting you raised that question about Disney and the movie company, the entertainment industry. I was talking with the chairman of a major casino company. And his plans are with this enormous cash flow that his business creates--is to in fact buy a movie studio and go into the entertainment business.

Grey: Absolutely. These people have peddled themselves as a harmless form of entertainment. So what better way than to buy the companies that put out entertainment? The problem is, that once you've got it, we're going to have slot machines in the movie? Come on. This is disposable money. No one is growing gambling money on a tree. That money is coming out of pockets. And if it is, if it's being spent on slot machines, it's not going in to movie theaters. It's not going to Disney Theme Park. So at some point they'll be a great awakening in the minds of some business leaders.

I think the example of restaurants are instructive here. Because [of] restaurant associations in 1992 and when the three wise guys from Vegas came into Chicago and were escorted in and given the keys to the city, the restaurant association welcomed them: 'Oh, this is going to be great. All these people are going to come to Chicago, they'll come to our restaurant.' What we see is after restaurants have been--in Mississippi, Louisiana, Iowa--that all of a sudden restaurant associations--and Illinois--are starting to say, 'my God, we can't compete with them.' And so what we have are restaurant associations that are opposing gambling. Why? Because it's hurting their business. The comps and the food that's being served in the casinos are making it impossible for non-gambling food outlets to operate.

So we now see, in the space of three or four years, restaurants joining us, and we're standing as a coalition. In New Hampshire it was wonderful. They have a hotels/restaurant association standing with the churches, standing with common cause, standing with the Sierra Club, standing with the tax payer groups, all saying, 'we do not want gambling.'

Q: And what you're really pointing at there is there's something aberrational about the gambling economy that most people don't get. Help us out there. Try to explain that to the average person. Why is it that it doesn't mesh with the normal economy?

Grey: Well, it exists solely on separating people from their money. They call them Catch Monerials. I mean, it's you catch them. You draw a fifty mile radius around the casino. And once you catch them you want to keep them on site. Because as long as they're on site they'll lose money. It's when they move off that location that a person has a chance to say, 'well, gee, is it really fun losing this money?' They start to take stock. Gambling is the great escape. It is a place that all reality, you escape any pain, any problems, any ambiguities, it's all clear. It's you against fate. Why people think they can beat a computer chip really blows my mind. I'm sort of glad that I'm non-computer literate because I've always figured that if I played poker with seven people that over the course of the night the money would flow around. But I would never play against a machine that I can play thirty hands of poker at in one minute, that is programmed to beat me. That's just hari kari. That's suicide. So I think what we have here is a mind set that is conducive, and the casino owners create the illusion, that this is, as long as you have money,... the greatest thing in the world, and it's a great deal of fun, and it's a great deal of entertainment.

I want to amplify that because I think, I took a group of drug addicts in The Grand Casino on a tour in Mississippi, Buloxi. A 19-year-old kid, African American out of Little Rock and he was a recovering crack cocaine addict. I said to them, I just want you to walk in and look at the layout and look at the faces of people and watch what's going on. You're all young. I'm not going to preach to you. About half way through this young man came up to me, and it was in his eyes, he said, 'this is set up like a crack house.' You drop your kids in the child care area, you come up, you've got your entertainment, the western bar, the money machines are there. The illusion is that this is a place where there's no reality other than that I'm going to win some money, the chase and the scent of the action. I really think, it made an impression on me that a young man who was prepared to walk in a casino and have a good time and be entertained by it would draw the analogy very clearly that he had walked into a crack house. People, it's set up that way.

You don't even have to get away from your machine now. It'll take the credit card. You don't have to walk to get money. You don't have to think about whether you can afford to lose the entire paycheck or lose next month's mortgage. It's right there.

Q: What does it say that they make it that accessible right to your credit card?

Grey: It says these guys are predators. I mean, you talk about what's theirs is theirs and what's yours is negotiable. When I started out, I was willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. I though, 'hey, they're quick buck artists. They're entrepreneurs.' The more I wrestle with them, these guys would, you know, I really believe that they know, that they've targeted. They've targeted the poor, they've targeted the elderly, they've targeted our young, all for the sake of making money. These are bottom line guys and I'll tell you, the more I see of them, the more dangerous they become. Because they believe, either they believe that they're providing a product that is painless, or they know they've got a product that's creating great pain, and they're pitching at that. Now, either one: incompetence of not understanding it or complicity of understanding it. Neither one is an excuse to me.

To me what's beautiful about this fight is that they're either right and we're wrong or we're right and they're wrong. Because there is no in between. The snake oil they peddle is economic development, painless revenue source, and entertainment. They don't say, 'but, a lot of you are going to lose your lives. A lot of you are going to lose your homes.' We're saying it's not good economics, it's not good public policy and it's not good for the quality of life. And I think that's the fight that's taking place in America right now. Who's right? I'm saying these guys know.

One of the reasons this Federal Commission was so important to us and why they feared it is we were going to send the damn bottle to the laboratory. The National Government was going to give us a lay up, and we were going to take the product that we both agree is in our communities, and we were going to send it there. So they tried to kill it, and I thought, 'well, why would you want to kill it? If this is such a great product, let it go.' Then they tried to gut the power to subpoena the records because I'm suggesting that we're going to find out that they do target through their slot clubs and marketing those people that can least afford it. And those that are compulsive lose the majority of the money in casinos. Let's say 10 percent lose 50 percent of the money the casino makes. Will they be responsible and not continue to take advantage of those weak people, 10 percent? Of course not. They've got to show a profit.

So the point was they wanted to gut it. They couldn't gut it. Then we get to the place where instead of being a public process where the House and the Senate votes on it, and we as citizens have access, it moves to appointments, and it goes behind closed doors. And lo and behold, I got the feeling we're being rolled. Appointments are made on the basis of political contributions. Hello out there, we're not dumb people anymore. This is not about us. Government doesn't represent us. It's the best. Government has become the best government money can buy. We now have a commission that looks like it's going to be the best commission money can buy. Can you imagine three people with a vested interest in Las Vegas possibly serving on a national commission that is going to study the impact of gambling, casino gambling, as one in our communities. That's ludicrous to even think that would happen, and we are the President's appointments away from having three members.

What I want to suggest at this point is that they need to hide. They need to cover themselves. Now, I'll give you one more example, which I think is always good because our competition is the American Gaming Association. Frank Fahrenkopf, I call him the $1 million man. I just rounded it off. He gets paid $800,000 but I think he's probably closer to $1 million. And he's got a lobby that has a $4 million budget. What they have done is said, 'oh, dismiss this group of people. Tom Grey was a do-gooder.' Then I became a moral crusader. Now I'm a wandering religious fanatic. We get a few more victories, and we get more extreme. But they said, 'they're claiming victories where they shouldn't claim them because the economy has had an upturn. America is doing better. Therefore, gambling, gaming, isn't getting in.'

Now, what I want to say to Mr. Fahrenkopf; if you've got a product that is economic development, jobs, jobs, jobs, is painless, and is entertainment, then if the economy is doing better, your product ought to be doing better. But if you're only good as a scavenger, where you can go in and take advantage of people's fears or the fact that they have been left behind, then that makes our point. The point is that you're selling a product of despair. So you can't have it both ways. And I think that's what modicum of the debate will hinge on. Is this a legitimate product or should there be on it, just like cigarettes, this is dangerous. Once it's put on, 'this is dangerous', you'll see the profits of these companies...

Q: How can you do an honest study about an industry unless you have some people who knows something about the industry?

Grey: Well, does that mean you put the owner of a vested interest on it? They couldn't find, in Las Vegas, professors or objective people that have studies gambling? It's been around for thirty years. This did not come from outer space people. I mean, we're not dealing with something that's in a rock from Mars that we've got opinions on. This has got a modus operandi. It's got a track record. And I'll tell Mr. Lani, Mr. Lani walked into Chicago and violated lobby laws in Illinois in 1992 trying to muscle casinos in. When I testify, who am I going to sit and watch when I say, 'I think we need to study the way you guys come in and muscle our communities and break our laws and open meetings acts and various lobbying laws.' Mr. Lani? I want you investigated. Isn't that somewhat, I mean, what's going on here? He's sitting up there as a commissioner. Lani can spend--it's been said, James Dobson and I think it's K. James, Cole James, they have a point of view, but they don't have a vested interest.

Now, I have no difficulty putting someone on. But to have a vested interest, and that is what John Wilhelm that was appointed by the Democrats, the Culinary Union, has, a vested interest. The more casinos there are, the more Culinary Union jobs there are. And they're talking about putting Bill Bible on, who is a regulator. But regulators are cheerleaders. They accept the premise that they are regulating a product that is good for the economy. They're not there to say, 'hey, we think as casinos, you ought to clean up your act' or do this or '5 percent of the population, you're taking everything they have. We're going to jump on you.' Whatever the casino wants, the casino gets. I call regulators the gate keepers for the 800 lb. gorilla that comes into the cage, and then the next thing you know, the gatekeeper is letting it out and saying, 'what do you want to eat?'

Q: Let's talk about that. Lanni, Bible, Wilhelm and possibly others that The President might put on the commission from the industry or related to the industry. What does that say? What's the statement in the composition in that nine member board?

Grey: I can absolutely guarantee that no one in America, across America, was calling them and saying, 'you know, if you don't put Bill Bible, Terry Lanni, or John Wilhelm on this commission, it will not be a good commission'. This was strictly done by the money and the muscle of Vegas and the casino interests. The money trail is there. Follow the money. What happened to us at local levels, state levels, is now happening at the national level. I am telling you, I am embarrassed that we have got to fight to have a legitimate, honest, study commission, unbiased. That we have to fight with The President, the head of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to get that. And that we were treated as noise. In other words, just let us call and let us ask but when the decisions are made it's the best commission money can buy. It has to do with the money that was put in to these campaigns.

Now, in America, we all know what's going on. Do we not understand that this is not about us any longer? It's about special interests that control. In some cases, they're worried about money from abroad. I'm not worried about the money from abroad. I'm worried about the money that Vegas put in. And when Vegas puts money in, they expect a quid pro quo. These are bottom line guys. What's there's is there's and what's yours is negotiable. President Clinton, they are going to get what they want from him.

Q: So is it really a matter of their money buying the position that they're getting? That's what you've seen coast to coast?

Grey: We've seen it at the local level, the state level. The thing was, they didn't feel they had to buy Washington because they were getting everything they wanted at the local and the state level. When we started to hurt them down at the state and the local level(s) and then started to move in Washington, they figured, 'we better cut them off at the pass.'

Q: So they actually formed the AGA. This is a fairly recent development, right?

Grey: Oh, yes. I think they formed after we did. They formed in '94; they formed in '95. Again, I always like to brag. We have a $100,000 budget as a national coalition. We have a person that works in Washington, and I work in the field and we've got an office. So we can't really downsize. Now, Mr. Fahrenkopf's got $4 million, casino money, he's got a large staff, and they formed to crush us, to keep us away from influencing the political process.

Understand, when I say influence, we do it the good old fashioned American way. You elect people, we vote for them and we expect that they will represent our interests. And to find that they will not do that; I understand clearly why 75 percent of the people no longer trust their government. They don't trust it because it doesn't belong to us any longer. It has nothing to do with us. It has to do with the quid pro quos that special interests get.

Q: Let's talk about that growing political power. We did some investigation, and I think in Washington, in the past five years, there's some six-plus million dollars that were given in political contributions. We looked just at the state of California and discovered that between political contributions and lobbying fees, it was almost $20 million in one state. And we're undertaking to looking at the entire country. But appears that over that same five year period, it might be as high as $100 million.

Grey: A phenomenal amount of money, but chump change for the casino owners. Now, understand that George does not wake up and say to Ethel over coffee, in any town or city in American, 'you know what this community needs is a casino. Let's organize the block, let's go down to city hall and tell them, we want a casino. And then after we get the city counsel on, we'll go to the state legislature, and we'll put together a state-wide organization, and we will lobby for a casino.' This has gone from the top down. George and Ethel have nothing to do with it. They're like me. They wake up in the morning and find out that someone wants a casino and put it in their town. Money is what makes growth happen for the casino operators because they have no grass roots support. This is a war where you can't find anyone to fight except the lobbyists and the special interests.

Q: Why is it that the industry, which does indeed have a lot of available cash to invest in various things, including lobbyists and political influence, why is it investing ten times plus the amount at the local level that they are at the federal level?

Grey: Because this was being ushered in by communities that were looking at it as a quick fix. And it was seen as an issue that was a state's right issue. The federal government has nothing to do with gambling. So, understand they were able to get established. To run anything through Congress, understand that there were 6,000 bills that went through, were introduced in Congress and only 200 passed. Fortunately, one of ours passed. The point is that they were able to get what they wanted. Their foray into Washington is strictly self-defense, cover their ass operation at this point.

Q: Is it to some degree, though, also that, in addition to being local community focused fights, it's somewhat easier to deal with the local level?

Grey: It's cheaper.

Q: Explain that.

Grey: Well, my county officials, I think, in Joe Davis County, didn't even take any money. They just wanted the money that was promised them. There's more sophistication on how to sell yourself the higher up the food chain you go. So, obviously representatives and state senators cost more, and it's a little harder to roll them. Understand that this was predatory in nature. It picked up targets of opportunity. If you look at the expansion of gambling in America, Bob Goodwin, a professor, did a study. And you start to look and you analyze. Let's go into New Bedford where the fishing industry was down. Let's go into Mississippi, Gulfport, where Camille came through and devastated and we didn't rebuild. Let's go into a place like Gary, Indiana, the steel industry down. Let's go into Tunica in the Delta. All targets of opportunity where we had allowed. Or Native America reservations where we've denied. So we have no responsibility. Go on the reservation. We want you there but we don't want you to exist in relation to our economies.

So they scavenger picked, and they were able to get in and leverage in those types of communities. And it did cost a lot of money. When they started to then compete and try and go into states like Ohio and Florida, then the price of poker went up for these guys because they had to buy communities that were not desperate. I happen to believe that there will not be any more statewide referendums because it will cost them too much money to lose. Everyone that now is a stockholder is going to say, 'can you guarantee me, if it goes on the ballot in California, that you'll win?' I'll tell you. It's not there. The tide has turned. The more information that gets out--and they do their own polling--they know our arguments win elections. Not good economics, not good public policy, and not good for the quality of life. Whether you gamble or not is not the question. We find that 60 percent of the people will vote with us. If 8 out of 10 people are gambling, we are taking--understand the power--that we are taking four people who gamble and getting them to vote against that activity. And they're losing from their own base.

Q: You said to me that when it is a public referendum, and the people get a chance to vote, that's exactly what they do do. Your records show. However, your concern was that given the money the other side has, that they might be able to buy it out from under you. Is that a fair representation?

Grey: I think the representation is that they're able only if leadership, political business, and religious leadership, does lip service. And as in Michigan, why it's so off. There's a great scene in Braveheart, which is an interesting movie, where the forces are engaged, and there's a moment when the nobles are forced to ride on. They look over, and they've taken off. In Michigan, they didn't even show up on the battle field. They can buy it when the people who lead us turn their backs on us. There isn't a state where if governors will at least stand up and say, 'yes, I believe casinos are good for our economy, I think we should bring them in.'

Understand, governors used to cut ribbons and bands used to play for the opening of casinos. You have an opening of a casino now, in Missouri, where the governor is not even coming. Why isn't he coming? Because, if I were a governor, I'd not want to be standing next to a casino and saying this is economic development. The problem is, they were able to get by without having to be held accountable. It's been easier for us to strip away their political cover than it has been to get the business community to stand up. I happen to believe that in American, where is the business community? I mean the big guys, are they willing to say, 'we're going to let predators like Steve Wynn, Donald Trump, and the rest of these guys come in and take all of this money out of the economy and become richer.' Because that's less money that's available then for the products and the things that we make and produce.

I happen to think that there's got to be some insurance companies that are facing all the bankruptcies that we're seeing in the nation. There's got to be some people saying there's a cost to this, there's a cost to this. Are we starting to pay the cost? I think our best days are ahead of us, that we will see more and more people, if it become a public question, enter into the fray. And we're asking that question all the time. Where are you as our leaders? We were able to ask politically because we were voting on it. But the business community is more insulated from that. You have to get into the board rooms. I'd love to--give me two minutes at Disney and we'll find out real quick whether they're going to put casinos in or whether they're going to join us. But they don't have a choice. Either Frank Fahrenkopf and the casino guys are right, that the future of America rests on casino gambling, or they better get with us and start to whack away at these guys.

Q: Is there not the risk that money can co-op a legislature no matter what the people think? That gambling could continue to expand?

Grey: I think that what we see is that fortunately technology has come to our aid, here. We can find out who gives money to who. You've got government. If 75 percent of the people don't trust people, now all you've got to do is put "don't trust people" and a lot of gambling money together, and you've got a politician caught in the open. I call it that we've caught them at the feeding trough.

Now, I'm a military guy. I call it fire for effect. You capture them in the open, you put it on them. We've got the truth. We've got them spot lighted. They're scurrying around like the rats they are at this feeding trough. So I'm suggesting at this point that if they want to take the money and bring the casinos in, they then will go to work for the casinos. It's a great operation. The point is, I really believe that people are becoming outraged. And it just wasn't about gambling. It was the whole tenor of government. I think we're electing people now that are coming out of backgrounds that were not political backgrounds. Some of these housewives and dentists that are fighting gambling, I'm sort of saying, 'hey, go for it. I don't trust the people we elect anymore to represent the interests of my children or their grandchildren.' So, it very well could be part of a civic revival. As people, we've got to go back and take back our government. Democracy is something you do. It isn't something you go vote for once and let someone go into office and do what they darn well please.

So, my sense is, I see this as a very healthy fight for America. America has a chance to decide what it wants its future to be. Politically, economically and in relation to one another. And if we can send a message and elect leaders that we say, 'we want to work with you. We'll work on problems'. The thing of saying 'we don't want to be taxed' just allows the gambling predator to come in and say 'tax me, tax me. Just let me eat or take advantage of five percent of your population. And guess what? After I take everything they have, we'll let you take care of them with your taxes.' See, it's a zero sum game for us. If you don't gamble, you're paying for it. You're paying for the losses of someone. We don't shoot families of compulsive gamblers. We're a society that when someone loses everything we take care of them. So you can't have it both ways. The casino owners take the money, they maximize the profit, and they do nothing to minimize the pain. Because you and I, as citizens, have to take care of that pain.

Frank Fahrenkopf always says to me, 'Tom, you're hysterical. You're out there and it's propaganda. You talk about suicides like they're propaganda.' You know, I have a fire with thirteen various people around the United States who committed suicide, ranging from a 19-year-old up to a 67-year-old that all his life had worked and then quit, used his retirement and at the end was dependent on his children. The point is that these things occur. And five percent of the population will lose everything they have. Now, Mr. Fahrenkopf will say the vast majority of people can gamble without any problem. I'm saying, which five people in my church of 100 was I going to sacrifice? Understand the tradeoff? I'm not willing to sacrifice one because it's not the type of trade we as Americans ought to make to make someone richer. Bottom line is, if you want to make these people rich just send them your paycheck directly. Don't bring a casino in. And they wouldn't get rich because people wouldn't send that paycheck every month to them.

Q: Fahrenkopf had Arthur Andersen do a study, a very expensive study, hundreds of thousands of dollars, in which they established, they say, that gambling creates jobs. A million jobs, it creates more jobs than many other forms of entertainment.

Grey: Let me give you a classic example because Arthur Andersen was used by the gambling industry to come into Chicago in 1992. I have documented, when they came in and introduced the project in March of 1992, they projected 22,000 jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs, we're going to produce. Resistance started to mount, and the next time--it was about a month and a half later--a newspaper story appeared, a press release saying 36,000 jobs were going to be produced. A couple months went by, and it was up to 60,000. I won't keep going because there were two other levels. But it ended up 103,000 jobs in November of 1992.

In a six month period we went from 22,000 to 103,000 to meet the mounting opposition. These numbers are absolutely created. Arthur Andersen was paid by the casino people to give a report. Now, in that report is there one item that says how much money it costs for these 5 percent? If we incarcerate people on gambling offense, does that cost us? Did they include that? Unless they include the total cost of their product, you get what you pay for, and Frank Fahrenkopf is going to put a new face on gambling. It's a paid face. He can't hide the bodies and casualties, that's the problem. The embezzlements, the social costs are all there, and they're not part of Arthur Andersen's report.

Q: Let's talk about the government role in all of this. What effect do you think it's had that 38 states have lotteries? How does that play into this growth that we've been seeing in the last five years?

Grey: Let's start and let's get the progression. Because I think we've got to start with the church. The church said 'hey, we can't raise monies from voluntary giving. Let's have charitable gambling. Call the fire station that couldn't.' It's a thing people do. Let's do it in our community, provide them an outlet for some fun. So, charitable gambling cracked the door. Then state said, 'well, you know, look at that. People don't like to pay taxes. Here's a chance, let's introduce lotteries.' Lotteries cracked the door open. In other words, you cracked it, lotteries opened that door that had been cracked. Now we've got casino predators. They'll take the damn door off. I mean, it is strictly an opening up for hardcore, wide open gambling on Main Street. So the progression was such, but government was the key piece. Government that used to protect and serve us now becomes an agent of the predator. It starts out to say, 'we'll regulate.' Then from regulation it goes to promotion. And finally we have a case in Rock Island, Illinois where the tax payer is now subsidizing the casino by not taking any tax money to keep the jobs there. Isn't that an amazing phenomena? Government treated gambling as being illegal, and now citizens are subsidizing the activity.

The other thing that I have real hardship with is understanding that gambling is an illegal activity. It is licensed by government and made legal for the state or for certain entrepreneurs. If I decided to have a card game with seven people in Pittsburgh and there was money on the table, I could be busted for that. So people, let's wake up. This is strictly being done for government or for private entrepreneurs at our expense. I think if this was just the government coming in or the promoter coming in and selling the snake oil on Main Street, I wouldn't have the adverse reaction I have. It's when the person is escorted in by elected officials. In Pittsburgh, the great credit of the City Counsel is they've said let's put it on the ballot. So, it's really good to be here because what government did, instead of ramming it in, it said let the people decide. That's all we're asking for is let's duke it out at the ballot box.

I find that Mr. Fahrenkopf fears that. It's like the cross to Dracula. When you mention referendum and state-wide they scurry because they've got to buy the entire state. They've got to buy the election. They've got to telemarket, they've got to buy ads. It's a costly business. If they can just take a City Counsel, influence them through promises or through actual payments, the corruption by government of elected officials is legendary in terms of cases. We're watching now state lotteries. G-Tech, all of this money state after state, the same modus operandi. All of a sudden, at the end of a meeting G-Tech says in California, 'if you don't accept our bid by 5:00, we're withdrawing it.' Oh, yes master. I accept that bid. We exist for you. These are our elected officials set up to represent us well. In many cases they sell us for too little. It's chump change compared to what the casinos get.

The other question is always asked, 'Tom, are you advocating the government instead of bringing in private enterprise, runs the casinos themselves?' Well, of course not. Who needs government to be addicted to taking advantage of its own citizens? We just have to say stop this, there's enough gambling right now. No more expansion. Let's study what exists and let's let the chips fall where they may. If this is the greatest thing since sliced bread, an independent, objective commission will come back and say this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. If it's snake oil, if it hurts, it's going to come back with that. Now, I'm willing to trust that outcome if I know the commission hasn't been bought and paid for.

Q: Among all the enterprises that have gambling, the states tend to promote it the most heavily. Terry Lanni said, 'If I could only promote like the state lotteries do'.... What does it mean that they are using millions of dollars of the people's money to promote the act of gambling?

Grey: I think we elected governments, we said to those same governments 'we don't want to pay for you.' So we pushed them into a position where lotteries became a source of revenue. To extradite us from that is going to take some real honest talking to one another again. And that's what I had most hoped, was a movement like ours would not be looked at as being anti-government, but that [it] really would be looked upon by government as an opportunity to re-establish a contract and a relationship with citizens. The fact that they got defensive at the local level and at the state level let me know that this was deeper now. It had to do with they had made choices, and the choices were to opt for the special interests and to give up on those of us that elected them.

So it became a deeper problem, and I think it mirrors what is happening in our society today. Are we people where a democracy will represent us or are we people that are going to be ruled by special interests that buy. When I go to state capitals.... The rules are being made by special interests. They in fact write laws. Many of the gambling bills that are introduced and brought forth, even put on referendum questions, are written by the very people that stand to gain. They aren't done by legislative staffs or legislative aids.

My passion here would be to say to government, 'trust us again. Let's work on this. Let's agree that gambling is not something that as a public servant you can, in all honesty, bring to us and say that promoting it and making your own citizens losers is something that you're comfortable with.' If there were other ways to raise that revenue, would you not, as a public servant, use those ways? I've had mayors in depressed communities say, 'Tom, it's all we can get. If we had other choices, we wouldn't take it.' Native Americans have said, 'it tears us, it divides us. But we have nothing else. It's the new buffalo.'

Now, unless we can come to those places and say we are going to offer other alternatives and options for economic development, it seems to me we put them in it. The fact that there was a defensive reaction said to me that we had been co-opted by the gambling money that is already in the system, that governments are addicted to gambling. I have six states in the United States that I would label as compulsive gambling states. They are addicted to the revenue. Decisions are made, governmental decisions are made, in the favor of casinos. New Jersey, Governor Whitman has just pushed together a $300 million tunnel for Steve Wynn so they can develop Atlantic City.

Think about it. Rules are changed to help racetracks survive. If a Ford dealership in a state is going broke, does a bill go in to see that that Ford dealership gets slot machines so it can stay open? Of course not. So, I think it's that type of established favoritism and quid pro quo and flat out being bought that makes government, at this point not just suspect, I think we've got to name it. They've built the feeding trough, they've put the slop in it and they're now going to feed on it. Governor Thompson, Governor of Illinois, prosecuted Otto Kerner, Democratic Governor, on racetrack gambling violations. He had a brilliant justice department: Anton Valuquez, Fred Foreman, Jim Montana, Ty Fainer. They all made their mark on being zealots protecting citizens from gambling.

Jim Thompson rammed riverboat gambling through in Illinois, left office, and has now become the top lobbyist for the gambling interests in Illinois. What Jim Thompson has done is built the feeding trough, put the gambling in it and now wants to extend it. Is there not something wrong?

Q: I think what you're saying is that, because there was not the will on the part of our legislatures, our elected officials, to tax correctly, to raise the revenues that we needed, they took an easy out, no?

Grey: Yes, absolutely. Took an easy out. And they didn't trust as people. I have to reduce everything to my experience. I was a minister in four different churches, in inner city, two churches, in Chicago. Every church I ever had was a struggling church. When I came in, the first thing I said was, 'well, you're not meeting your budget. Let's do this: we'll cut the budget and we'll ask you to give more.' In the first year we did that and we'd make the budget. And then next year we'd say well, now that we made it and we're paying our way, let's add this program. The point is, I think if government came to people and said, 'you know, we've got some waste here. We're going to eliminate, we're going to drop this. But we also have to take care of education. We have to do these things. We're going to ask you to give.' It wasn't that type of dialogue. It was the type of arrogance that 'you elected us, we run what we want.' They had broken contact. We don't have contact anymore. It doesn't work because we're not connected anymore.

I look at leadership, when I was a leader of a church, to re-establish that trust and that connection. I look upon government to establish that trust and connection, at the local level, the state level, the national level. Instead we get politicians that tell us one thing. Understand, I don't want a tax break at the expense of my children and their grandchildren. The American public has said, time and again in polls, get rid of the deficit. Don't give us more money back.

But every election is we'll throw some more money. Do you think a $500 tax break is going to change my lifestyle a bit? Come on, we're not dumb people. We're talking about big issues here. We're talking about the future of our communities. Treat us as intelligent people. People that are able to talk about what we're willing to give for. We want results. We want something that comes back. If we're going to pay for education, we want good education. That's what political leadership in the future is going to have to do. Otherwise, we will continue to vote people out of office and continue to be vulnerable then to quick fix solutions.

Q: And the whole idea that they opted for the lottery as an easy way to not make the hard decision I guess is what you're saying?

Grey: Well, it didn't produce. Here I am, I'm in Chicago. I've got two kids in the public schools in 1975. And the politicians said, 'we got a problem with education.' I said, 'I know you do because I'm taking paper from the church, taking it over to George Armstrong Bell School on the Northside of Chicago so my kids in third grade and first grade and their classmates have plain paper to use in school.' I'm thinking, I don't like lottery. Jeez, it's not a good way but I though the schools were so bad that unless we took lottery...well, I'm going to tell you. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Twenty years later, education is worse in Chicago, and they're coming back and telling me, 'we're bringing casinos in to help you.'

The point is, Money Magazine did a piece in 1996. Mr. Fahrenkopf, I don't have money to buy. And it wasn't a supplement, it wasn't a paid supplement, the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. It was done five pages and what it said was states with lotteries fund education worse than states without them. Hello, out there America. Every state that's got a lottery, you know what I'm talking about. It was brought in that it was going to help education and your state is in worse shape now. If that's the truth then how can we believe that a government that sold us once isn't going to deal us again?

Q: I was talking with the Attorney General of California yesterday, and he made the observation that well, you have those $30 million jackpots but it's not the doctor who's buying those lottery tickets, it's not the lawyer who's buying those lottery tickets. Who is buying those lottery tickets?

Grey: Well, Harrah's survey would tell you it's the James Bond character that walks in with the blond at the casino and has got all this disposable income. People, walk down to your grocery store on Saturday night when the jackpot is $30-40 million and look who's standing in line. That's the sight test, OK. I don't believe any surveys the gambling companies put out that tell me. James Bond is not standing in line with the blond on his arm, waiting to buy his Quick Pick ticket. Understand, this is preying on those people that can least afford it and citizens know that.

Q: And therefore it makes it a very regressive tax in the end.

Grey: That's a good word for predatory taking advantage of those that can least afford it. Let's say this: People, I don't [think] people that ought to bring and buy groceries and milk for kids and have money for school supplies ought... to be buying lottery tickets, OK? The fact that I don't buy them and I'm tired of people telling me, well I don't buy them. It's voluntary, let's those people do it. People, we're America. We're in this together. It's all of us. I think that's what America is about, is we are saying let's get back to solutions where we pay our fair share and we take care of those that can least afford it for the sake of those people and children and those families. It doesn't pay us to take people down.

What I think is different here is in many cases it was rammed in. And a city council or a county board like mine said OK and they disarmed us as people. So, my smile is the city council here did the right thing. It said, 'the future of Pittsburgh is being decided. We might be for this, but we really believe that the people that own the homes and that have invested their futures in this community ought to decide that so it's going to go to the ballot box.' My joy is that I think it's an information ballot. It's going to do it the good old fashioned American way. Let's duke it out at the ballot box. You present yours, we'll present ours. People will walk in the sacredness of a ballot box and decide on the future of their community.

Q: One of the arguments that keeps getting made, and one of the things that keeps generating more gambling in various places, is the gambling-next-door argument. We're losing money. People in California say we're losing $6 billion a year to Las Vegas. We should have gambling here and then we'll have the $6 billion.

Grey: There are two answers--there are actually three answers. One are very flip, I'll give it: it's a race to the bottom. Or, let's fight fire by throwing more fire. But I think the compelling reason to me is that we have regional economies. Since when in America do we beggar our neighbor? Do you understand? I'm going to take advantage of someone else, another town. The end result is you've got to have gambling in every community. In other words, the reasoning is false. So someplace you say enough is enough. We stop here. I'm saying market yourself against the town that is cannibalizing. Educatate your citizens that every time they go to that town they're going to lose $50 per visit to the casino. So, it just isn't an inexpensive drive. In fact, it was used in Canada, when I was in Buffalo. They were saying, 'well, what are we going to do? They've opened the Windsor-Ontario casino.' I said, what you're going to do is teach them that the bridges cost $51 to cross. It's going to cost them $51. It's not a dollar, it's $51 because when they get over they know they're going to lose $50. So, just pretty soon a person says, every time I go across this bridge, it's $51, pretty soon they start saying, that's pretty expensive to not get anything.

So, what I'm saying is let us educate our citizens rather than throw them and use such faulty logic that the other guy is taking advantage of our citizens, let's us take advantage of them first. I mean, come on, give me a break. Is that leadership? Is that what we elect people to do is to come back and say, well, better we get them than the guy next door?

Q: Let's say that the industry has success in keeping you from getting these things on the ballot and making it a public vote. Let's say that they're able to penetrate more markets. Let's say legislatures roll over and allow them back door access to the states. Let's say the government continues to expand its regressive taxation by lottery and such. What's going to happen if that's true?

Grey: It's not true and it's not going to happen and that's why we're dangerous. This is not about how smart we are. This is not about how powerful we are. The truth is on our side and the truth is marched and you can't cover up the truth. The fact that I'm sitting here, not in the back of the room, trying to raise a point, and we're talking eyeball to eyeball now. I'm talking about what America is. It means that you can't cover up the message that we're talking about. The message is that America is not going to become a casino economy. It's citizens will not allow it to happen. Its citizens that will elect politicians that are public servants, that elect them.

What I see happening--and I think the casino owners saw, too--Terry Lanni said in a meeting June 5, 1992, with me sitting there, 'we have Atlantic City in the East, we have Las Vegas in the West. We now have New Orleans in the South.' They had just gotten permission for casino in New Orleans. 'We want Chicago for the head of the cross. I'm sitting there, I happen to be a minister, I said 'well, that's a pretty good metaphor.' And I'm thinking crucified on the cross of gold speech. I think of William Jennings Bryan. I'm thinking, these guys know what's going to happen, that America is going to have this quick flash, an expansion of gambling, but really they're planning for the long run. What they want are four mega-resort centers that will be kept open as gambling meccas when the other, the society, rolls back and says we can't afford to have gambling on every corner. So they were already playing for the future and they're betting on what we're betting. And it's being acted out now.

They're starting. I thought, I had a file, Game Fish Eating Bottom Fish. I threw that one away. It's Game Fish Eating Game Fish. They jump, they're going after each other at the highest level at this point. So that is all about consolidation. That's all about protecting perimeters. They're now starting to develop Las Vegas and Atlantic City again. Why? Because they know we've got them trapped in their bases. Understand, if I were to project you're going to have gambling in America because people are always going to want to gamble. But it's not going to be on Main Street. The battle is getting it off Main Street to the other side of the tracks.

The more they persist in their efforts to package themselves as a legitimate, respectable product, the more we're going to fight them. As soon as they come up and say, 'you know what? This is dangerous when you come here. There's going to be something, do you want to do it? I'm going to say, 'well, as long as they're warning, the label is there.' It's buyer beware. It's a whole lot different than they've got it right now which is 'we're legitimate. It's like going to see the sound of music.' Fahrenkopf uses that as like movie going. You could see the Sound of Music 100 times and you wouldn't walk out in the parking lot and blow your brains out. You go gamble and the parking lot casualties due to gambling; Frank, they're there. Explain them to me.

Q: There's a phenomenon .....all of these riverboats and other heartland gambling enterprises I thought would draw action away from Vegas. In fact, it's increased the number of people going to Vegas.

Grey: Of course, it's feeder markets.

Q: Explain that.

Grey: Well, explain the psychology. I mean, you go on the boat, you like that excitement and you're losing. And you've lost your $50. You say, 'but Vegas. I'm going to get more bang for my buck.' The appetite is there. I've been hooked. I want the action. I just don't want to be on a little crummy boat that's a barge built on a moat. And I walk off and I'm in St. Louis. Come on. I want to go where the lights and ambience that's just like the machines. You know the machines have lights and bells. Why do they have lights and bells? To stimulate the senses, to create an ambience of excitement. It's the crack cocaine guy saying this is a cocaine.

So what happens is they knew that all of these were creating a new generation. The Mayo Clinic did a statistic that just opened my eyes very early. The Mayo Clinic and Rochestman saw the average age of the compulsive gambler they were treating in 1970 was between the age of 30 and 55. And that made some sense to me. It took a person awhile to go from the midwest, the heartland, out to Las Vegas and to become compulsive. In 1990 the average age range that they were dealing with were between the ages of 17 and 70. So this predator had now penetrated two age markets: our young and our old and retired people. That's what availability, accessibility, bringing gambling to Main Street has done. It's allowed them to get their hooks in to our young and our old. And once the hooks are in they take them down.

So the feeder market is there. It was a win-win for them. And the fact they could do those riverboats, they didn't have to build pavilions. Put a tent up, put a boat, and in Iowa, when the boats left after a year and sailed the Mississippi where it was a more favorable climate, then government uses the example of saying 'well, we want them to be land based. At least that way they can't sail away.' They stripped the whole mystique that these were really not gambling casinos. These were recreational, with a little gambling on them. In fact, you had to pay to get on the boat. Can you imagine that, pay to get on a boat to lose your money? In Iowa it was $29.95 for dinner and to get on a boat to lose your money. That lasted about a year and then it became free.

Q: I just spoke with an old casino hand from Vegas, and he said he could see giving away everything, all the alcohol, all the food, all the rooms, and still making a killing.

Grey: Or course. Understand, again, this is based on getting a person to spend more than they bring in. You make it easy for them to trace that loss. It's easier to get credit in a casino than it is a bank. Access to money, they'll do anything. Fax for it, get it. And the beauty of the business is, is that once the person taps out, the state then prosecutes and gets the money that they've embezzled or lost and they walk away with the money and we walk away with the problem.

The embezzlement of a million dollars is not rare. Does anyone stop and think, a million dollars is taken out of the economy, it's embezzled. The person that embezzled it, if he doesn't kill himself, which often times happens, will go to prison. And we'll pay for the cell. The casino owner does not give the million dollars back. Does the casino owner do that? Why not? Why could we not bring a legal case against a casino for allowing someone to lose that amount. Can we not check the credit? Can we not understand that a person that is losing a half million dollars might be in over their head? Of course not, because the predator takes the money, sticks us with the bill and laughs all the way to the bank. People, you want to be laughed at? Then let these casino guys operate in your communities. People in Pittsburgh, we go right full cycle. Do we need to make--is Mr. Sino--richer? Let's just leave him be rich. We don't have to add the "er" at the price of a pain that would cause on us.

Q: Back to that man who loses a half a million dollars; not only is he not a credit problem, he's actually considered one of the best customers.

Grey: Oh, as long as he can come back with another half million, you're darned right. You are treated well as long as you have money. There's a great movie by Albert Brooks, Lost in America, where he went in and said 'my wife just lost our nest egg. You have to understand. You'll give it back.' I mean, the guy just looks at him. You're out of here. We got what we want. We got the nest egg. Hit the road, Jack.

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