Crackdown vowed on gaming machinesMaybe some local officials "allow them to exist" because they don't see gambling as wrong. Their agnosticism on the immorality of gambling is understandable, given that the Hoosier Lottery is on the air several times an hour on most radio stations, informing us all that we can't win if we don't play.
By Niki Kelly
The Journal Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS – Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, on Wednesday left no doubts about where he stands on legalizing electronic gambling – advocating a special state prosecutor to rid the state of illegal gaming of all kinds.
“When you look at gambling in this state it has exploded,” he said. “This is a shot over the bow at illegal gambling in the state. We are trying to draw a line in the sand here.”
Long estimated there could be as many as 30,000 illegal Cherry Master machines in the state – “crooked machines” that are easy to manipulate the payout.
He said one car lot in Fort Wayne had three cars on the lot and 20 machines inside the back door and said the machines are also in tobacco stores, truck stops and other establishments.
But illegal gaming doesn’t stop there. Long went on to describe sophisticated illegal poker clubs that can be accessed only with electronic key cards and noted recent busts in Marion County of daily numbers operations, known as pea-shake houses.
He conceded the explosion has occurred over time partly because some county prosecutors and law enforcement officials allow them to exist and some don’t.
There's a small-change cliche that many of us throw around: you can't legislate morality. On the surface, this is nonsense: what else should be legislated? I take it that what the cliche really means is that not everything that's immoral should also be illegal ... and, if that's what's meant, I agree. But State Senator Long and his chums had better be certain that whatever is made illegal is also morally wrong, and then be consistent about it. If gambling is so grievous a sin that it must also be made a crime, well and good (for the sake of discussion); but then, make sure the state itself isn't a gambling pimp, and make sure it's illegal for everyone, including the politico-buying proprietors of horse tracks in Anderson and riverboats on the Ohio and lakeboats in Gary, etc. Otherwise, stop embarrassing yourselves with this poorly-simulated indignation. The payout on Cherry Masters is "easily manipulated?" How hard is it to "manipulate" the payout on Hoosier Millionaire? Besides, I've yet to have a Cherry Master hold a gun to my temple and force me to gamble. This must be why I've yet to patronize one, I suppose.