Exposing the Dark Side of Gambling Addiction

Sister Ruth's Letter to Governor Holden

Sister Ruth Speh
School Sisters of Notre Dame

April 23, 2002

Governor Bob Holden
State Capitol
Jefferson City, Missouri

Dear Governor Holden,

We come before you today to protest the authorization of Quick Draw Keno games to be placed throughout the State. As fellow Missourians, we love our state. We think it is one of the unique states in the country with two major rivers, miles of forested mountains and hills, acres and acres of lush farmlands, and at least two major cities that have played such a large part in our country's history. The greatest asset of our state is its hard-working, righteous citizens. We represent them in bringing to you thousands of petitions. We have received them from all over the state. These citizens are asking you to rescind the order for Quick-Draw Keno games. They are not asking you to just limit these games, they are asking for you to ELIMINATE them from all places except casino boats where they belong. Such games will bring more harm to us than they will bring in taxes. It is a gross deception to call gambling a painless form of revenue. There is a lot of pain in compulsive gambling: addictions, unpaid bills, bankruptcies, embezzlement, crime, suicides, broken homes, child abuse. The Missouri Department of Mental Health states that the average compulsive gambler entering treatment, owes between 53,000 and 92,000 dollars. Compulsive gamblers annually cost American businesses $40 billion dollars in lost wages and fraudulent insurance claims. Missouri businesses, consumers, and taxpayers suffer the financial burden of increased gambling addictions. Our families pay the worst price of all in broken marriages, children and spousal abuse.

Children are our first priority. It is irresponsible of you to authorize a game, which is known to be highly addictive, in restaurants and fraternal organizations that are open to children. It is wrong for you to place them in bars where people prone to addiction are often found, taking advantage of another's weakness.

States cannot gamble themselves rich. History tells us that societies gamble themselves poor, not rich. Our state was built on the backs of hard-working farmers and tradesmen. Courageous and faith-filled mothers taught our ancestors right from wrong. We do not want to encourage gambling as universal entertainment to our children. As Governor, bound under oath before God, to work for the welfare of the people of Missouri, do not take this lightly! We do not approve placing quick-draw keno games throughout the state, making thousands of mini-casinos. Without adequate supervision by the law, which is not possible today, more corruption is bound to occur. Therefore, we ask you to rescind that order. Stop the Lottery Commission from installing these games throughout our state.

We ask you to commission an independent study of the social and economic costs of gambling to Missouri. Then perhaps you and the other elected and appointed officials will rethink their stand on this gambling issue. Please listen to the voice of the people.


Sister Ruth Speh