Gambling Leads to Political Corruption Undermining of Democratic Process Already under Way

By Hendrick, Harold H. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 1, 1994 | Go to article overview

Gambling Leads to Political Corruption Undermining of Democratic Process Already under Way


Hendrick, Harold H., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


It's sad. It's really sad. The speaker of the House of Representatives went to jail for accepting bribes. Several members of the Legislature were indicted and have confessed to their crimes, caught as a result of a long FBI investigation. That is what's happening to our neighbors in Kentucky.

The Bowling Green, Ky., Daily News carried an AP article (Sept. 23, 1992) that read: "Federal investigators have claimed their eighth successful catch in the Boptrot (legalized gambling) net of Kentucky government corruption but still indicate there is a long way to go. Buel Guy, the former chief aide to House Speaker Don Blandford, pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to federal investigators. . . ."

Since then, the House speaker was caught and convicted.

It's the old, old story of more political corruption associated with legalized gambling. Because of it, confidence in Kentucky state government took a nose-dive.

While that gambling political corruption had to do with horse racing, the former U.S. attorney for the Eastern district of Missouri, Thomas E. Dittmeier, helps us understand this ongoing political corruption problem with casino gambling. In a Post-Dispatch article on May 6, 1990, he was quoted as saying:

"The political framework in which casinos operate provides a fertile ground for public corruption. The governing authorities are charged with providing regulations and control but are pressured to make accommodations to the casino industry in order to obtain the desired tourist dollars and economic growth. Casino profits are dependent on favorable legislation and licensing decisions that can be influenced through `complementaries' and bribes."

And so it is happening.

When in St. Louis recently, Attorney General Frank Kelly of Michigan was asked about casino gambling's connection with political corruption. He said the problem was awful and cited a dozen quick examples.

With more legalized gambling in Missouri, expect more political corruption.

It has already begun.

Post-Dispatch reporting has done a good job to warn us. Almost daily, for a time, we would read of questionable and suspicious connections between St. Louis and Missouri politicians and the developing casinos.

It was revealed, for example, that all four members of the St. Louis Election Commission had personal family connections with the casinos. Had they not been exposed - and only then did the governor pressure them to resign - they would have been the official vote counters the night of April 5.

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