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Voters should say no to casino

Our Opinion

A mega-casino at the old greyhound racing park east of Portland will do very little for Oregon's schools and absolutely nothing for state tax coffers.

But it will exponentially increase gambling opportunities in the metro area and lead to costly social problems that gambling brings to any community where it is a major industry.

For those reasons and more, voters in the Nov. 2 election should reject Measure 75, which would push the proposed Wood Village casino a step closer to reality.

Proponents of the casino have pitched this as a way to help Oregon schoolchildren. Yet, the state's Legislative Revenue Office says that state funding may actually be put at risk. In part, that's because Oregon Lottery retailers currently pay the state three-quarters of the money that their customers lose while gambling, but this casino - while taking business from the lottery - would give only one-quarter of its customers' gambling losses to public purposes.

Despite its drain on public lottery funds, the casino idea has attracted some support from people who think it will help an ailing economy. But even if this measure is approved, nothing will happen at the abandoned greyhound park for years. Casino proponents would have to come back in 2012 to get approval of a state constitutional amendment and march through a series of complicated local land use matters.

So this project - which would create a casino with more gambling machines than any casino in Nevada - offers no prospect for immediate economic stimulus while posing significant long-term economic risks.

It just isn't worth the gamble. Vote 'no' on Measure 75.