Jefferson City citizens rally against gambling
JEFFERSON CITY—Hugh Sprague, a retired administrative law judge from Jefferson City, reminded people at a March 1 campaign kickoff event for Citizens Supporting Integrity (C.S.I.) at Capital Ritz that Jefferson City’s image should not be tied to gamblers losing money.
C.S.I. is promoting the defeat of two ballot propositions April 8 that aim to pave the way for a riverboat casino that may wind up near the State Capitol on the Missouri River.
“Do we really want to sell the soul of this city, the capital city, to Las Vegas gambling predators?” Sprague asked. The crowd shouted, “No!” One lady drew laughter by saying, “No-no.”
Proposition B would amend the city charter to repeal prohibition of casino type gambling and riverboat gambling. Proposition C would allow the licensing of excursion gambling boats or floating facilities in accordance with Missouri gaming law.
“Casinos attract losers,” Sprague said. “They’re not winners. It’s not 99 percent fun and entertainment to the people who lose their shirt, lose their savings, have gambling addiction problems, go bankrupt, commit crime, commit suicide.
“Losing. That’s not the Jefferson City I know. That’s not the Jefferson City my family grew up in. We’re a city of winners, not losers.”
Sprague spoke plainly to a community that is proud to support the Jefferson City Jays and Helias Crusaders.
“We didn’t become state champions at the coin toss,” he said. “Flip a coin, heads or tails, that didn’t decide the game. That just decided who kicked first. It was decided on the field, where people had to play. It wasn’t some kind of game of chance.
Information on how to turn back a casino in Jefferson City is posted on www.csijeffcity.com.
“We’re a group of volunteers, of concerned citizens, representing a broad cross section of the community,” said Brad Scrivner, community bank president of UMB Bank in Jefferson City and master of ceremonies for the March 1 kickoff rally. “We have business owners, we have lawyers, we have teachers, doctors, ministers, bankers, engineers, retirees, homemakers, and many, many others.”
A Jan. 7 vote by the city council has placed this issue before the citizenry, and Cornell Suddeth, pastor of Second Baptist Church, said city leaders are wrong to try to raise revenue this way.
“Gambling is almost a get-rich scheme or a get-rich plan,” he said. “These are the plans that we have in order to get better sidewalks, to build better buildings, and different things like that.”
Missouri Baptists all over the state are being encouraged to pitch in and help preserve the family-friendly culture of Missouri’s capital city by donating to
C.S.I. online or by mail at Citizens Supporting Integrity, P.O. Box 105353, Jefferson City, MO 65110-5353.
“We urge you to join the C.S.I. team and fight for the integrity of our community—the capital city of Missouri,” Scrivner said.