To the editor:
Recently there has been a fast-talking advertisement on local radio, promoting the legalization of pari-mutuel betting in Park County.
The advertisement never identifies who is advocating for this change. We are left to assume it is being advanced by the people who stand to profit by it.
The advertisement’s primary argument for this measure which is on the ballot that was sent out by Park County Monday the 21st, is that other counties in Wyoming do allow pari-mutuel betting, and Park County is missing out on revenue because we don’t allow it. To that extent, the advertisement is true.
What the advertisement fails to mention is that the only people guaranteed to profit from pari-mutuel betting are those who host or administrate it, the “bookmaker” or the “house.” They get a cut off the top of every wager, referred to as “takeout,” “house take” or “vigorish” (usually 10-20%). The wager is also taxed, so up front the county would realize some economic gain from pari-mutuel betting.
But what is never mentioned is that the county income would never offset the true cost to county citizens due to the increased social problems that always accompany legalized gaming. Families, social services, churches and other benevolent groups, are always left to pay the true cost. For this reason, churches of all denominations have historically opposed gaming, including the 1992 effort in Wyoming to allow casino gambling.
I encourage the voters of Park County, and especially the many members of faith communities across the county, to oppose legalization of pari-mutuel betting. Profiting from the misery of others is always a sorry business.
(s) Pat montgomery
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Cody,
Chairperson, Cody Ministerial Association