Gambling is already here
By Jody Reese
Given the poor fiscal health of our state government it’s no surprise that supporters of legalizing more gambling in New Hampshire are on the offensive. So far Governor John Lynch has leaned against allowing slot machines or other games of chance at racetracks and large hotels.
Allowing more gambling seems to upset some people’s view of bucolic New Hampshire, but coming from the southern part of the state I don’t see New Hampshire as a state filled with white steepled Congregational churches, but rather a more cosmopolitan area. Gambling is already here in instant scratch tickets (low-tech slot machines), bingo, poker and greyhound and horse racing. Towns where it exists, such as Salem, seem to want more of it.
So it seems odd when I hear that more legalized gambling could destroy New Hampshire’s way of life. Gambling is already here; it’s already part of our way of life and it’s not going away.
I do sympathize with arguments that legalized gambling causes or exacerbates social problems, from addiction to poverty. Will poor people gamble away their last cent? Yes. Will addicts rob people to play one more hand? Yes.
Prohibition might feel good, but it rarely works. Just look at the drug trade. I would rather have gambling and its problems out in the open under some scrutiny than underground. I would hope the New Hampshire way of life is one of facing reality. Don’t ban it; regulate it.