Twenty-five years ago, only three states had legalized gambling. Now every state, save Utah and Hawaii, looks to gambling to generate taxes.


State-run lotteries are the most popular, bringing in an estimated $50 billion a year to state coffers. The actual number of American gamblers is unknown including those seeking help. However, the Missouri Alliance to Curb Problem Gambling reports that 1,279 asked for counseling in 2008. The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that 85 percent of U.S. adults have gambled at least once in their lives.
Accused “Craiglist Killer” Philip Markoff allegedly committed homicide and robbery to pay off gambling debts. That is taking addiction to the ultimate extreme.
Are you a problem gambler? The “888 bets off” organization defines it as gambling behavior, which causes disruption in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. Compulsive gambling is a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, “chasing” losses and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.
Gamblers who voluntarily seek counseling can call toll free at 888 238-7633 or contact www.888betsoff.org. All area casinos contribute to help addicted gamblers. Their money goes to the Missouri Department of Mental Health, which is turn contracts for counselors such as Life Savers in St. Louis to provide help.


Sugar Creek came so close to operating a casino but lost out when Proposition A was voted on last year. That measure lifted the loss limit but restricted the number of casinos to those already built. Mayor Stan Salva says community optimism remains, high including support from Independence.


His cousin, state Rep. Ray Salva says that, “Prop A was a lie and a deception. We are waiting a decision from the state Supreme Court to see if they throw out Prop A. The casino is only half of the project; we envision a hotel, a riverfront park, an amphitheater and other job creating amenities.”


As for me, I contribute to the four area casinos at least twice a month, adding to their collective average of $63 million a month.


Finally, here’s my name suggestion for the new Independence hockey team – The Declarations.


I give you President John Adams’ toasts: Independence forever.