The latest symptom of the prevailing new ethic of “something for nothing” has appeared….the scratch card vending machine. Without a doubt this can attract more losers for Florida. Not having done enough to expand gambling with the Seminole Tribes and pari-mutuels, we now have the Florida Lottery at work on gambling expansion. Do we not remember why we outlawed cigarette vending machines? Is it not clear why we don’t sell alcoholic beverages by vending machine? Gambling expansion is playing on false hope. We are abandoning the ethic that hard work and investment of ourselves in others is the best way to be productive. Our economy and state budget should be built on sound principles where our winning causes other people to win, not a system where most others must lose in order for us to win. We should build Florida’s future on the strengths of our people, not their weaknesses. If we continue headlong down this slope, what is next? Why not put these vending machines in all the school lunch rooms? Why should students waste their money on lunch when they could be buying lottery tickets? After all, they can get free lunch and take home food packs. Let someone else pay the necessities of life while we gamble our cash. Matter of fact, isn’t there some kind of psychological test we could do in kindergarten identifying gambling addicts so we can maximize their losing over a lifetime? After all, it’s “for the children”. Right? May we all wake up before going further down this degrading path.

Dennis Baxley

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