Debate continues over State Question 712
Tuesday, October 26th 2004, 10:39 am
News On 6
In less than a week, Oklahoma voters will decide several state questions on gambling - that could either raise millions for education - or cost society even more.
The two sides on State Question 712 debated some of those issues Tuesday and News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan was there.
There is a war on the airwaves and a battle on the ground over whether voters should approve an expansion of gambling that promises to create money for education.
Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith: â€œ712 is a referendum on whether Oklahoma should share in gaming proceeds and if the horse industry should survive and if education should benefit.â€
State Question 712 opponent Rev Lonnie Latham: â€œIt is again the transfer of dollars that already exists in Oklahoma from one pocket to another, but it doesn't generate any new income.â€
Under 712, the state would allow tribes to use new higher stakes slot machines and the tribes would give the state a cut of the money. The state would allow those same new machines at horse tracks too - and that would subsidize horse racing.
Chief Smith says the expanded gambling wouldn't do the social harm that critics suggest. â€œIt's an entertainment enterprise, people go there to enjoy themselves, people go there to enjoy themselves, just as they spend entertainment dollars when they do to an OU football game.â€
Rev Lonnie Latham: â€œIn order for a person to win anything of substance means a great many people must lose and the people who are drawn to this make the least amount of money in our state and it becomes the greatest expense to them.â€