CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

March 7, 2013

My Opinion: March 7, 2013

By NH State Representative L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND - When I was young and single, I did far more than my share of heavy gambling. Some slots, but mostly sitting at a table playing cards. In Yokohama, I played for years in an Army NCO club that was adjacent to the R&R center for military personnel stationed in Korea, but came to the R&R for 10 day vacations. In Turkey, I played heavy with the Air Force personnel at several locations. I’ve been in most casino locations of the world, including the famous San Remo, in Italy.

In Japan, although gambling is against the law, the country is full of “Pacinko Parlors”. Pacinko is a form of pin-ball like slot machines, but you play only with balls. You insert a ball, pull the lever, and when you win, various amounts of balls fall out into a tray, depending on your win. You win only balls, no cash. You turn the balls into the Pacinko Parlor operator, who gives you “goldish” looking tokens for your balls. You then have to take these tokens to the shop next door, and that shopkeeper buys the tokens from you, giving you the cash. These shop-owners are the same people that own the Pacinko Parlor, but it’s a different business. By the Pacinko Parlor itself not giving you the cash, it circumvents the government’s

no gambling laws. I’ve been there, done that, many times. The sad part is, as you are enjoying the fun of playing with the “pin-ball” type balls, the machine is taking your balls, in essence, your losing money. Living with the native Japanese families, I saw many poor families severely hurt by playing Pacinko.

I served twice as “the Navy representative” on the Board of Directors of Non-Commissioned Officers Clubs. An Army board in Chitose, Japan, and an Air Force board in Karamursel, Turkey. In the four or five years total that I served, back in the 50’s and 60’s on these two boards, I don’t believe one monthly meeting went by that a spouse didn’t come to the meeting begging for help with their spouse with a gambling addiction that was ruining their lives. Yes, the Navy has never allowed gambling in their clubs.

I’ve seen these problems everywhere, not just in the military, causing broken homes, suicide, bankruptcy, drunk driving, and the list goes on. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “The house always wins”. Yes, and that “house” is the casino.

Guess who the losers are? We, the taxpayers of the state. MA, CT, NJ, and RI already have big problems, let’s not jump off the cliff with them. Look at Las Vegas, they don’t call it “Sin City” for nothing.

As one gets older and wiser, you see the damage gambling does, how many people get hurt; how much it costs the taxpayer; plus all the problems. As I mentioned earlier; it’s just not where New Hampshire needs to go. I’ve seen these people on a payday night lose their whole monthly paycheck, haven’t even paid the rent yet, and then have no money for food. What do the spouse and children do until next payday?

I agree that, in the legislature, party affiliation should not deter us from doing the right thing, in the best interest of our constituents. I truly believe, that the best interest of the state of New Hampshire in regards to this gambling issue is to vote Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL), kill: the gambling portion in the proposed budget, HB-665, and SB-152. Send all three of these pieces of legislation to the trash bin.

I urge you to contact all State Representatives, and State Senators, and ask them to Not support any gaming legislation.

(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net)