Casinos are still illegal, aren’t they?

Somehow, Fort Wayne seems to have elected a mayor who is aggressively pro-gambling.

If you missed it, Mayor Tom Henry told Indiana’s NewsCenter on the first day in office that he wants the plans for a new Fort Wayne casino in place by this summer:

The topic of gambling has crossed the mind of Henry at the start of his administration.

Concerning the idea for a new casino at Buck Lake in Steuben County, Henry wants to push to have that re-located in Fort Wayne, and he will try and lay the groundwork for such a change through the spring and summer months.

Wow. That was quick, Mr. Henry. Did he campaign on this issue, or is this a surprise to everyone else, too?

Plenty of local people have discussed a Fort Wayne casino — WOWO’s Pat White never tires of trotting it out — and everyone interested is lining up on either the pro or con side. Of course, it’s actually illegal right now, but everyone seems to treat that fact as something of almost no consequence.

I believe we too easily change or add laws without understanding history. Here’s what I propose as a basic rule for changing rules:

Do not change a law, rule or procedure until you understand why it was enacted in the first place.

That’s pretty simple, but how often is it done?

Why did Indiana make gambling illegal in the first place? What has changed since then? Economics? Organized crime? Our morality? Our desperation? Our care for the poor? Unless Fort Wayne understands the answers to these questions and can intelligently interact with them, we have no right to even talk about overturning a gambling ban.

Photo by John Wardell on Flickr