NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
N G I S C Chicago Meeting, May 20, 1998
JOHN WOLF, INDIANNA
MR. WOLF: Wow. John Wolf from Valparaiso, Indiana. If you don't know where Valparaiso is, you don't follow the NCAA tournaments.
Legalized gambling came to Indiana under false pretenses with a referendum to change the constitution and allow for a lottery. Casinos were not a part of the decision. After intense lobbying and repeated turn downs, the state legislature reluctantly passed the riverboat casino law, adjourned session, called to pass the state budget only in July of 1993. It tied together a budget and casinos in a single vote contrary to state law which is now being challenged in the Courts and that suit will be filed this week.
Instead of a statewide referendum the riverboat law was rigged to deny the will of the people. All the people of Lake County, where four casinos are located, were not allowed to vote. Only the cities of Hammond, East Chicago and Gary voted. Four counties said no and the total vote, including these municipalities was 106,158 no; 105,294 yes. In this kind of contrived legislation where state is played against state, county against county, community against community, a county such as Porter County, where I live, can vote overwhelmingly no and have a casino next door where the vote was a slim majority.
Our coalition seeks redress to the Courts for violations of state regulations concerning environmental laws on the Ohio River. We seek a statewide referendum on casinos. We note the zeal for revenue that makes these government officials overly enmeshed with the gambling industry. In every legitimate way we seek to pull the state of Indiana out of the gambling business. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you.
REV. GREY: I'm just glad I got the map. The map you got, those are the battles we've won. Gambling crapped out in the Midwest. I don't have to read it for you. It's going no place and it's due to the fact that the passion of the citizens in every state that have stood up and said no more; this doesn't belong on Main Street, take it back out where it was before. We've seen enough. Again, if anyone wants to argue the map and the battles, then we'll continue on. Thank you for your time and attention.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you, Reverend Grey.