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In My Opinion

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There’s more to casino debate than meets the ear

By Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Gambling is good, says the Cherokee tribe, because it spins off money to build up the reservation.

Gambling is bad, says the Cherokee tribe, if it is conducted by the rival Catawba Indian Nation, because it’s just not fair that the Catawbas could cross the state line from South to North to build a casino.

Gambling is good, say the Cherokees, because it spurs tourism in remote mountain towns, which have unemployment problems.

Gambling is bad, say the Cherokees, if it is conducted by the Catawbas alongside Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain, which has unemployment problems.

Gambling is good, say the Cherokees, because it improves life for the tribe’s children and young people.

Gambling is bad, say the Cherokees, if it is run by the Catawbas because it could cut into the Cherokee gambling market.

Gambling is good, say the Cherokees, and they plan to build another casino in remote Murphy, which is alongside a crooked mountain road that runs straight to Atlanta.

Gambling is bad, say the Cherokees, if it is done in Kings Mountain, which is alongside an interstate highway that runs straight to Atlanta.

Gambling is good, say North Carolina legislators, if it is done in the mountains by the Cherokees, one of the biggest donors to political causes in the state.

Gambling is bad, say North Carolina legislators, if it is done in Kings Mountain by the Catawbas, who are based across the state line and haven’t demonstrated their political conscience in an attention-getting manner.

Gambling is good, says the governor, whose ubiquitous “education” lottery with its near-impossible odds helps pay for teacher raises.

Gambling is bad, says the governor, if a casino with standard industry odds is built where everyone can see it beside I-85.

Gambling is good, say Cleveland County officials, because it would bring a nonpolluting and reliable industry to town.

Gambling is bad, say local opponents, because it would bring traffic and crime and you-know-what.

Gambling is good, say the Catawbas, and one tribe should support another.

Gambling is bad, say the Cherokees, when one tribe invades another’s territory.

Gambling is good, say the Catawbas, who point out they roamed North Carolina long before the colonies were divided in 1729.

Gambling is bad, say the Cherokees, if any tribe that wants to can make a claim on land.

Gambling is good, say mid-Atlantic states, which are allowing casinos to open like crazy and taxing them heavily.

Gambling is bad, say industry analysts, who say the market in the Northeast is now saturated.

Gambling is good, say regulators, who rake in millions annually in free money as their cut for allowing the Cherokees to run a casino.

Gambling is bad, say regulators, who don’t have a deal with the Catawbas to run a casino.

Gambling is good, say regulators, who reaped millions after the Cherokees were allowed to run table games in 2012.

Gambling is bad, said regulators, who spent years opposing table games before changing.

Gambling is good, I say, for making people speak with forked tongue.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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