No on Measure 75

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

Measure 75 entices Oregon voters with the promise of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue.

But look a bit deeper and you'll understand why Measure 75 is a bad bet and should be rejected.

The measure would allow the construction of Oregon's first non-tribal casino.

But only one.

That narrow focus is not our chief concern about Measure 75, but neither is it an insignificant one.

We're leery about voters giving preferential treatment to the promoters who want to build a $250 million casino and resort in Multnomah County.

Perhaps the time has come to end the monopoly on legalized gambling enjoyed by Indian tribes and the Oregon Lottery.

But creating, by ballot measure, a separate monopoly for a single private, non-tribal casino is a bad way to go about it.

The greater danger, though, with Measure 75 is its potential effect on

the state's budget, and in particular public schools and universities.

Proponents point out that the measure would require the Multnomah

County casino to give 25 percent of its gross revenue to the state.

Half of that money would go to public education.

Nice, except for one thing: What's going to happen to the lottery and the existing tribal casinos?

All are likely to lose customers to a new mega-casino.

Here's why that's a big problem: Oregon receives 78 percent of the

revenue from the lottery and tribal casinos - a much higher percentage

than Measure 75 mandates from the proposed new casino.

Measure 75 backers argue that revenue from the new casino will offset any drop in business elsewhere.

That could be true, although we're quite skeptical.

Regardless, there's no guarantee that Measure 75 will be at worst a break-even proposition for Oregon schools.

And we're not willing to take the gamble that all will turn out well.

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The Baker City Herald
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