Gambling ballot measures failed in five statewide initiatives during November's election. Gambling forces won only in Arizona, where voters approved a plan to allow five more Indian casinos, and in Michigan, where three casinos won approval in Detroit.
Voters across five states defeated proposals to expand gambling, even though proponents outspent foes 100 to 1 in some cases.
"The truth about gambling is if we mount an effective campaign we win every time," says National Coalition Against Gambling Executive Director Tom Grey, a United Methodist minister.
Arkansas voters defeated an amendment that would have created a state lottery, legalized charitable bingo, and authorized casinos in Hot Springs. In Nebraska, a statewide constitutional amendment to allow off-track betting lost.
Ohio residents rejected a constitutional amendment that would have legalized riverboat gambling in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Lorain. In Washington, voters defeated a proposal to allow 500 electronic slot machines at Indian casinos. And in Colorado, a statewide referendum to permit legalized gambling in the city of Trinidad went down to defeat.
Results were mixed in Louisiana. Six parishes voted to retain riverboat gambling, and another 23 voted to permit it. While 29 parishes voted to keep video poker games, 35 more rejected the idea.
Grey says the gambling industry will not be deterred simply by denominational resolutions or letter-writing campaigns. "This is a tough fight," Grey says. "We need to get out of the sanctuary and into the streets."1