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Outside The Box: Raise You a Penny for my Thoughts

Jimmy Mak Jimmy Mak Outside The Box: Raise You a Penny for my Thoughts
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Initially, I was against the casino in Columbus. I’m not against gambling. I mean hell, I’m gambling every time I eat a Barnyard Buster at TeeJaye’s, I know that.

The reason I was against the casino was because the only one I have been to was in Weirton, West Virginia. Truthfully, it wasn’t so much a casino as it was a car wash that had slot machines in it. And damn it, I didn’t want Columbus to resemble a car wash in Weirton, West Virginia! (Nothing against Weirton… or car washes.)

I talked to a lot of people who were also against having a casino in Columbus. But they all seemed to have different reasons for not wanting one. I decided to explore.

My mom’s friend said she didn’t want a casino “because of God.” After a few minutes of me staring blankly at her she went on. “I think gambling is evil.” I pointed out to her that all her kids gambled. She replied, “Yes, but not in Columbus.” I never knew God was so geocentric. But it got me thinking – is having religion a good reason to be against a casino in Columbus? Then I found this from a Dispatch article from way back in August of 2009:

“If Ohioans approve four casinos in this November’s election, they could inadvertently shut down casino-style games that many churches and other charitable organizations hold to raise money.” (Full Article Here)

So churches don’t want gambling because it may put a stop to their… gambling? Well, as George Michael once said, “You gotta have Faith” (Not sure what this has to do with anything but I jump at any chance to quote George Michael.)

My little sister is also against a casino in Columbus. True, she’s fairly new to the whole gambling concept (she kept referring to the card game “21 Blackjack” as “21 Jumpstreet”) but her opinion was strong nonetheless. She felt for sure that it would increase the crime rate.

After doing some research, however, I couldn’t find any statistics that showed crime increasing because of a casino. In fact, one report I found said “Columbus already has more murders per 100,000 people than Las Vegas.” (Full Article Here)

But “per 100,000 people” seems like an odd statistic to me. So I used a statistic that was “murders that happened specifically in Las Vegas” and I’m happy to say Columbus is pretty much crime-free with that one.

My good friend who shall remain nameless because his parents never named him said he just didn’t like the way we had to amend our state constitution. And he’s not alone. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer one voter said he doesn’t like any industry “supplying/providing input into the language that changes the state constitution. That’s like having a wolf in a chicken’s costume in the hen house.” (Full Article Here)

As someone who’s seen a wolf in a chicken’s costume in a hen house, it’s not a pretty sight. And I swore I’d never party in Johnstown again. But the constitution did get amended and we did vote for it, so what’s done is done, right?

EXCEPT… Now it looks like the Columbus casino may get moved to the west side. My only issue is – if you’re moving the casino, why not move it to Obetz? I mean, come on! The slogans write themselves:

PLACE YOUR OBETZ

OBETZ ARE OFF!

OBETZ – WE GOT A CASINO NOW

So, to sum up without making any real points, I found there were many reasons to be against the casino. But everyone I know who is for the casino all say the same thing – a casino is a good sign of being a big city. Therefore, I have changed my mind and now embrace the idea that Columbus needs a casino like a hole in the head (getting shot in the head is also a good sign of being in a big city.)

“Once I built a tower, now it’s done / Brother can you spare a dime?” – George Michael

Jimmy Mak is a playwright, humorist and sketch comedian.  He currently writes and performs with Shadowbox, the sketch comedy and rock n’ roll club located at the Easton Town Center.

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