Publicity in favor of legalized gambling in Washington has been sharply increased. Andy Beyer is far from alone in urging a "Yes" vote.
However, he is almost alone in his status as a proponent of gambling who has no pocketbook interest in the vote. All the others, the people who are putting up big money to win support for gambling, hope to operate profitable jai alai frontons and race tracks if the measure passes. They are for gambling because they expect to make money from it.
Money talks, and it speaks a universal language. When a bettor risks his money, it is in the hope of getting back much more. When investors in gambling ventures risk their money, it is also in the hope of getting back much more.
The record suggests that "the house" and its owners are far more likely to show a profit than are bettors.
And that is why "a group of politically prominent Washingtonians and a retired Long Island jeweler are almost single-handedly financing the final days of the campaign to legalize gambling in the District of Columbia."
The public is told that various people favor gambling here because it will bring in sorely needed revenue for the city's treasury. The truth is that the people who have been putting up so many thousands of dollars to spread this propaganda and influence public opinion are stockholders in Washington Jai Alai, Inc., and in other ventures that hope to make a killing if gambling is approved here.
If you read staff writer Kenneth Bredemeier's recent report, you are aware that Washington Jai Alai alone has financed almost half ($34,000 out of a total of $70,000) of the propaganda kitty. The owners of the company didn't kick in all that money to help Mayor Barry balance his budget. They gave on the theory that you have to spend money to make money. Spend a few dollars on propaganda now; reap a golden reward in the years ahead.
Of the entire lot of gambling proponents, I can empathize only with Beyer. No conflict of interest beclouds his position. It there's jai alai in Washington, he will not profit from it. If there isn't, he can always go to Miami to bet, or to the finest horse tracks in America, and he can do it at The Washington Post's expense.
The guy just loves to gamble, and I can't fault him for that. POSTSCRIPT
The Washington Humane Society has not gotten much publicity for its reasons for opposing dog racing. I think we owe the society a chance to be heard, so here are some excerpts from its literature:
"The greyhound is trained with a lure that has a live rabbit tied on by its hind legs. The rabbit dangles with its head inches off the ground. As the dogs approach the finish line, the lure slows and the dogs are allowed to catch the rabbit. The dying animal, blood spurting onto the sand, gets another ride around the oval with fresh dogs in pursuit."
"80% of racing dogs killed because they aren't fast enough. Even big winners killed to save feed costs when they stop earning money. Rabbits' front legs broken to allow young inexperienced dogs an easier catch. Normal, gentle dogs transformed into bloodthirsty machines."
Voters are left to judge for themselves between the Humane Society's charges and the denials of gambling interests. Apparently impartial facts will not be available before Washington votes on a proposal supported by dog track investors. IDIOMATIC OR IDIOTIC?
A few columns ago, I wrote about something that had been overlooked or neglected. I said it had "fallen between the cracks." And a very good copy editor let is pass.
However, Edward Damon of Arlington and John Chernisky of McLean raise questioning eyebrows. John points out, "Things fall into cracks.Or between slats." Ed says he frequently hears "between the cracks" in government offices, but he's no more ready to accept it than John is.
Now that it has been brought to my attention, I don't accept it, either. It's an expression that's rather firmly established, yet on analysis I'm afraid it's more idiotic than idiomatic.
As a substitute, perhaps I should say, "It got lost in the shuffle." But how will I answer if somebody asks, "What does that refer to? What shuffle?" SWIFT COURIERS
The most popular reaction to the Postal Service's announcement that it will raise first class postage to 20 cents is: "Every time they raise the price, the service gets worse."
I wonder how that would work out. Barbara Eisele phoned me recently to say she had received seven pieces of mail -- all of it clearly addressed to six of her neighbors. Does this mean that when postage goes to 20 cents she'll get six letters intended for seven neighbors?