Good news flash: Recession’s over, just ask Mulvane

opinions

December 11, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Wednesday is 12/12/12. Quick, buy a Powerball ticket using those magic numbers. Buy two. Or play 12 on a roulette wheel. Black and red. Twelve stands for a queen in playing cards. Three queens are sure to be a poker winner.
All this gambling talk is provoked  by the news that Mulvane’s Kansas Star Casino’s first 10 months in operation produced $158.8 million in profits up to the end of October. That is more than the Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City or the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City earned in their first 10 months.
Mulvane’s gambling house is drawing all the big money from Wichita and points south on I-35.
And the message is that the economy must be doing better if so many people have so much money to gamble with, or to whoop off in whatever way suits their passions.
Casinos make millions because the odds are with the house. Those who spend leisure time and extra money in casinos know this. (The ones who don’t should be sent home and go into treatment.) Patrons who come back feel they got their money’s worth so the rest of us should pat them on the back and say thanks.
Thanks because 22 percent of the revenue goes to the state and pays for things like economic development, which would otherwise take tax money or go undone. Thanks, also, from Sedgwick and Sumner counties and the town of Mulvane, that split 3 percent of the take equally. Each of the three received $1.5 million in these 10 months. And $1.5 million is a chunk of extra cash for Mulvane, population 4,250 — not counting those at the slots. Sumner County was able to cut county property taxes by 27 percent because of the gambling revenue.
Kansas Star added $22 million to the property tax base in Mulvane, which will allow more benefits to residents annually for as long as the casino prospers.
This is the sunny side of legalizing gambling in Kansas. The profits taken by the state and local governments come from folks who make their contributions — pay their voluntary taxes — with a smile (most times.)
There is a dark side, too. We won’t go into that today. We’d rather repeat our first comment: When the three casinos owned by the state can produce hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2012 as they are doing, that means hundreds of thousands of casino patrons are doing just fine, thank you very much.
So forget the recession talk. It’s all a mirage.
— Emerson Lynn, jr.

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