Featured letter Casino could harm our community's families

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I hope that my comments will not be taken lightly regarding the proposed casino plans for Beloit. First of all, I believe that the citizens of Beloit and the surrounding communities should be the ones to spprove or fisapprove of the plans to build a casino in Beloit. In my opinion, it should not be the governor or some federal agency making that decision.

I don't believe gambling to be a "moral" issue; however, it is an addiction to many, an addiction that is destroying families and individual lives. A while back, a man came to me crying because he had gambled his entire paycheck and lost it all, then he gambled the taxi money which belonged to his boss. He later lost his job. A neighbor to my home in North Dakota went to Vegas and put his farm up as collateral and lost it all. The Mafia followed him all the way to North Dakota to get the title to his property. My wife knows of a man from the Muscatine, Iowa area and who worked in the Quad Cities where he was drawn to the gambling boat. His wife found him dead of suicide and later discovered that he had mortgaged his property and lost it all. His widowed wife was left with the debt of more than $30,000. Some people can "afford to lose" and gamble just for entertainment and fun; however, for many it becomes an addiction that controls their life. The gambler does not realize that it is always house advantage. Very few are true winners.

I am very proud of the improvements that have been made in our community, many of them inspired and culminated by the vision of Ken and Diane Hendricks and ABC Supply Company. Many people don't know me and what I stand for and who I am. I am a Christian, an American citizen, a family man, a husband, a minister of the Gospel, someone who believes in free enterprise and someone who follows the teaching of Jesus that we should minister unto "The Least of These." I have owned and operated my own business and been a consultant to numerous companies and corporations. I believe that everyone should work when they are able. I believe that the government does not owe people a living except for those who are truly disabled and cannot work. They deserve help from the healthy tax payers as well as from the Christian community. As George Bush claimed to be, I am a "Compassionate Conservative."

Regarding a casino in Beloit, it will have a long term devastating effect on families of our community. Many who cannot afford to lose, will spend their whole paycheck at the casino "hoping" that they will win in order to get ahead. This impacts our community in a negative way.

Rather than build a casino, it is far better to invest in land-based manufacturing and industry that provides profitable jobs as well as building the tax base. Please don't be deceived by false hope and promises. Perhaps someone should research other communities who have welcomed gaming and casinos and see what the real cost benefits are to the community.

Pastor Dave Fogderud

Beloit

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