NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Dianne Berlin.
MS. BERLIN: Good afternoon. I am Dianne Berlin, founder and chairman of the Lancaster County, Pennsylvanians Against Gambling Expansion.
Thank you for the privilege of speaking.
Our group opposed an off-track betting facility proposed in East Lampeter Township in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country of Lancaster County. Citizens of that community voted no on allowing small games of chance.
In a community where bingo or raffle by a charitable organization would have to cease immediately, the citizens have had to endure a full operating bookie joint for more than a year while they're waiting for the appeal to be heard. That will occur on September 9th.
Penn National Turf Club, Inc.'s application for an off-track betting parlor in this community was inappropriate, to say the least. To have that site approved by a self-serving, appointed commission is reprehensible.
The briefs are included in your packet, along with a few of the outstanding facts of the atrocity. You will find a partial list of the opposition to this book making facility. You will see that it includes members from almost every sector of the community.
In 1833, Pennsylvania was the first state to ban lotteries or "looteries." Today in addition to state lottery games, betting at the tracks, and OTBs, we have been targeted for all other forms of expanded gambling.
The off-track betting legislation was supposed to help a dying horse racing industry. They have been dying for years and are dying again. Now the life support being suggested is -- and can you believe this? -- slots at the track, and they even attempted to get them at the off-track betting facilities.
Maybe it is time to end life support and call in Hospice.
Horse racing's downfall seems to be when it gave up on itself and went with the shallow promise of gambling forces of something for almost nothing. Is there a lesson in this for us? Any other business would be delighted to have had just one of the special privileges of the horse racing business in Pennsylvania.
As a former educator, I can't resist giving assignments. So in your packet is a list of questions for you as a Commission to answer as you conduct your investigations.
As a Commission, your greatest responsibility is not to yourselves and the general public, but to our children and other future generations who will look at what is being done here with either pride or further cynicism about the integrity and credibility of adults, this Commission, and our government.