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The Madera Tribune

Concerned about problem gambling

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webmaster | 02/20/12

The below quote is from the North Fork Rancheria Casino and Hotel, Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), February 2009. Section 4.0, Environmental Consequences

Problem gambling disorders can result in a host of social ills and destructive behaviors to those afflicted by the disorder, including increased likelihood of bankruptcy, suicide, and divorce (National Gambling Impact Study Commission, 1999).

In 2004 the Madera County Behavioral Health Services (MCBHS) participated in a study of problem gambling in California, which was conducted by the State Office of Problem Gambling. The study, entitled Situational Assessment of Problem Gambling Services in California (Volberg et al., 2005), determined that the number of problem gamblers in California has risen from 0.8 percent to 1.3 percent since 1993, when casino gambling was relatively rare in California.”

“Thus, it is assumed that the introduction of a large casino would increase the percentage of problem gamblers in the community by 0.5 percent. Although the Chukchansi Casino has recently been opened in Madera County, it is not close to major population centers (City of Madera). Thus, it is assumed that the current percentage of problem gamblers in Madera County is 1.0 percent of the adult population (1,063 people). It is assumed that Alternative A (99 & Ave 17) would result in an increase in the number of problem gamblers of 0.5 percent.

Thus, after the implementation of Alternative A, the percentage of problem gamblers is assumed to be 1.5 percent of the adult population in Madera County, an increase of 531 to 1,594.”

So, the EIS states there will be a 50 percent increase in the number of problem gamblers in Madera County. But, not to worry, it’s only a 531 person increase of the multiple thousands in our community that have a surplus of extra cash to spend on this form of entertainment. And these, “problem gambler” folks only face “a host of social ills and destructive behaviors to those afflicted by the disorder, including increased likelihood of bankruptcy, suicide, and divorce.”

And those “affected by the disorder’, are referred in the EIS as the problem; as in, “problem gamblers.” Not the casinos. How sad!

And we really shouldn’t factor in the 400 or so wives or husbands, and the 800 or so children and who knows how few grandchildren. It would be too great a burden and responsibility to assume, if the blame would be on convenient gambling in our community. Oh, I misled you. The County of Madera will receive $50,000 a year for the counseling of “problem gamblers.” What will they receive for spouses and children? Who will foot the bill for the additional welfare to destroyed families?

The writer, a PR person I suspect, of the Feb. 6 casino commentary throws around some disturbing phrases: “outside antigaming mercenaries,” “grand coalition aimed at preventing,” “entrenched special interests,” and the sentence, “It’s time for all outside and special interest to leave the Madera community and casino project alone.”

Most of us in Madera have nothing to do with the other casinos. We are not outsiders. We are not mercenaries.

We do have special interest and are a very loose group of practically strangers concerned for families in our community. And we are entrenched and we are not leaving. Fault us for that if you may, but for the sake of families, we will stand and pray against the casino until the prospect of construction is gone.

I am asking all persons who are concerned for families to go to your pastor, insist that he take a position and start praying for the providence of our creator to take control of this property and the finances of the Station Casino Corp., the financiers of this project.

Visit the property, pray and claim it for a better use.

Supporters should take the time to find and read, “Bad Odds,” The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2007. Communities never get the jobs and financial gain they hoped for.

Jon Barsotti,

He favors planned N. Fork casino

Now let me get this clear.

There are people right here in Madera that do not want jobs to come, our homes that have been sitting empty for months sold, our stores to continue shutting down, and our neighbors to stay on welfare? Wake up Madera!

Having once-a-month yard sales of broken furniture and stained clothing will not save our city from the recession. But the casino will. Jobs, from drywallers to dishwashers, car valets to plumbers, jobs will be here and stay here. Casino workers and casino guests will buy gas at our stations, shop in our stores, eat at our restaurants, and buy our homes.

There is no downside to having the casino come. Our town needs progress, needs these jobs that are in reach. We need this casino to once again be the strong thriving city we used to be.

T. Marenco,


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