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“We’re Raping Our Own People”

by Doug Miller

Doug Miller served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1994-2006. He was chairman of the Tourism and Recreation Committee and a leader in the fight against a state lottery and expanded casino gambling.

People voted for the lottery and enhanced casino gambling because of a massive advertising campaign, especially on TV. Gambling advocates said, “We need to do this for the kids, it’s going to raise massive money for education, and it’s going to save the horse industry.” They were much better funded than their opponents.

They said to the horse industry, which encompassed anybody that had anything to do with horses, including trainers, feed stores, vets, and trailer manufacturers: “If we don’t pass this, every one of you and every one of your industries will go out of business.” Our anti-gambling response was that not passing these pro-gambling questions would not ruin the horse industry, and it would multiply gambling victims.

The big winner in all of this is the tribes. They’re the ones who have made a killing on the Indian casinos. Over the years, a Winstar or a Riverwind would not have been able to survive without massively increasing their revenue.