GWGL: Update from Pat 2-11-21

Dear Supporters,

February 1st (my Birthday) was a long and difficult day at the Capitol. Five of us testified (including Tom Osborne) and some of us were there until after 6 PM.  The hearings just went on and on and on with so many pro gambling advocates including a rep from the national Draft Kings corporation. They brought out every big gun they could but we feel that we held our own. After 5 hrs. of testimony the 5 Sports Betting bills will now to be discussed behind closed doors. We testified on 3 of the bills, on 2 we were neutral as they just cleaned up language. This is where prayer and Senator contacts will begin. (email addresses below) Our prayer is that all 3 Sports Betting bills will die in committee with the exception of LB 560 which does give some consumer protection, If they will remove the Sports Betting clause we are fine with that one. It gets very confusing. We may be setting up personal meetings with the committee members to see where they stand and if we can influence them in any way. I will keep you informed.

Blessings,  Pat

PS: They did not ruin my Birthday totally as I got to go to dinner with friends at 7:15 PM that night.

This was my testimony:

2020 was a very difficult year for many reasons. It was especially disappointing for GWGL. It was the end of 25 years of successfully stopping expanded gambling in Nebraska. We had worked so hard for so long only to see our Constitution changed and our good life changed forever. I truly believe that the voters were so desperate for any form of  “Property Tax” relief that they fell for the lie that $6 M of false advertising told them and had no idea the ramifications of their choice.

The day after the election the Winnebago’s publicly admitted that they had made a deal with the horsemen,  “We’ll pay for the campaign and we get to run the casinos”. They said they now had $300 M to build the 1st 3 casinos, in Omaha, Lincoln & So. Sioux.  A few weeks later they announced that $100 M wasn’t enough for Lincoln and they were upping that building to $200 M.

And now the gambling interests aren’t content with that, they want to add Sports Betting to their menu. This is an insidious “business” and it is never satisfied. It will go on and on with a total disregard to how it will affect our families and businesses. It is a sad day for Nebraska one that I believe we will live to regret in the near future.

We believe that our job now, besides opposing any additional gambling is to work for consumer

protection. We will do our best to minimize the damage that these casinos will inevitably bring. That is why we support the provisions in LB 560 that address consumer protection but are forced to oppose it unless the Sports Betting provision is removed. You have the power to do that and we sincerely pray that you will.

Please contact the members of the General Affairs committee and ask them to vote “NO” on all sports betting bills !  

Sen. John Arch: jarch@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. John Cavanaugh: jcavanaugh@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. John Lowe: jlowe@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. Justin Wayne:  jwayne@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. Mike Groene: mgroene@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. Tom Brandt: tbrandt@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. Tom Brewer: tbrewer@leg.ne.gov;

Sen. Tom Briese: tbriese@leg.ne.gov

A Message from Our Executive Director: “Our work is still crucially important.”

Dear Supporters,

It was a sad day for Nebraska when initiative 429 passed. This constitutional amendment will allow all forms of casino gambling all over our great state.

Gambling with the Good Life fought hard, we gave it our all, but the millions of dollars put up by the gambling industry overwhelmed us. For the past 25 years we successfully fought to prevent that from ever happening here and we were shocked by the results.

The day after the election, the Winnebago tribe announced that they had $300 million ready to build the first three major casinos in Omaha, Lincoln, and South Sioux City. We fear this is only the beginning. Will they begin offering sports betting on cell phones? This is Tom Osborne’s worst fear, as it will destroy the integrity of sports and corrupt our young people.

Our work is still crucially important.

The new Legislature will be reconvening in January and they always introduces bills to expand gambling. We have managed to defeat those efforts every time and we will be there to do it again in 2021.

We also hope to be offering bills to minimize the damage that casino gambling will cause. We must continue to fight this uphill battle for the sake of all the families and businesses that will be adversely affected in the near future.

My favorite quote is “God has called us to faithfulness, not results.” We certainly don’t like the election results, but our work is not finished – our faithfulness must continue.

With your help we will carry on and continue to oppose expanded gambling in all forms.

Blessings,
Pat Loontjer

Businesses & Professional Leaders Announce Coalition Against Gambling Initiatives 429, 430 & 431

On Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. a news conference was held at Heartland Lawns, 14124 Industrial Rd. Omaha, NE to announce the formation of a Business and Professional Leaders Coalition to urge people to vote AGAINST Initiative Measures 429, 430 and 431.

Click here to watch a video of the press conference

Mark Bonkiewicz of Nebraskans for Founder’s Values was the coordinator of this news conference for Gambling With the Good Life. He was joined by many other Nebraska business professionals who spoke about the economic damage that will be caused by Initiatives 429, 430 and 431 should they pass.

Here is a list of the 23 firms who have submitted a Solidarity Statement opposing the initiatives:

Airlite Plastics                                     Brad Crosby

Blazek & Gregg, PCLLO                    Jim Blazek

Claxton Fireplace Center                   Dan Claxton

Control Services                                 Ronald Brasel

Dave Janke Plumbing                        Kent Wirges

Denenberg Facial Plastic Surgery      Steven Denenberg, M.D.

Elite Insurance Services                     Tim Lorang

Epsen Hillmer Graphics                      Tom Hillmer

Exact Manufacturing                           Scott Allison

Gnuse & Green Law Office                 Rodney Gnuse

Ideal Heating and Air                          Corwin Keller

Knudsen Oil & Feed                            Amy Harper

Legacy Design Strategies                   Andrew Sigerson

Maurstad Dentistry                              Steve Maurstad

MediGuard USA                                  Dan Ward

MediGuard USA                                  Gloria Ward

Nu-Trend Homes                                 Don Hansen

Pro Track & Tennis                              Lance Laurent

Sadler Training                                    Karl Schaphorst

Skillwork LLC                                       Tim Raglin

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of NE     Daniel Warnock

Villa Estates                                         Don Hansen

W E Stevens PC                                  William Stevens

These concerned citizens are actively working to protect their businesses, employees and the state of Nebraska from the proposed expanded gambling initiatives 429, 430 and 431 that will appear on the November 3rd ballot.

Paid for by Gambling With The Good Life, 2221 So. 141 Ct. #6, Omaha 68144

Faith Leaders Statements Opposing Expanded Gambling

Gambling with the Good Life announces the formation of a Faith Leaders Coalition to urge people to vote AGAINST Initiative Measures 429, 430 and 431.

At our news conference with many faith leaders, one of the presenters was Femi Awodele, founder of Christian Couples Fellowship. He stated his opposition to the expansion of casino gambling in Nebraska is because of the negative consequences that result from gambling addiction. “My next door neighbor developed a gambling addiction and was able to hide it from many people until he became so depressed with his losses that he committed suicide.”

Mark Bonkiewicz is a board member of NEBRASKANS FOR FOUNDERS’ VALUES who was the coordinator of this news conference for Gambling With the Good Life. He read excerpts from a Faith Leaders Coalition Statement Against Expanded Gambling which is endorsed by Bishop Brian Maas of the Nebraska Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Whereas, many social ills result from gambling, including broken families, child abuse, sex trafficking, spouse abuse, job loss, and suicide.  These costs – estimated to be 3 times larger than casino benefits – puts an additional burden on churches, charitable organizations – and on governments, which have been shown to charge higher taxes in casino states than in non-casino states as a result.”

The document continues, “Though we represent many faith denominations, we all know that God has given us the commandment to love our neighbor. Today we are concerned about others — our neighbors — when we consider these ballot issues before us.  And we are concerned about justice – treating others fairly. We unite with other faith communities across Nebraska to inform our members of the threat that commercial gambling poses to the lives of the people of Nebraska and to defeat the 2020 ballot initiatives 429, 430, and 431.”

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Faith Leaders Remarks from Tom Venzor, Executive Director, Nebraska Catholic Conference October 8, 2020 (Omaha) 

A wise Jewish man once said: “Every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” This wise Jewish man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ. It is by His divine life, human witness, and Church that He established that we can look out into the world to determine what are good fruits and what are bad fruits. In the context of public policy, we can determine, through faith and reason, what policies best serve our families, the poor, our minority and elderly communities, our children and young adults—in short, what best serves the common good?

Today we gather as faith leaders because Nebraska is being confronted with a public policy that will usher in countless social ills and evils. Using both our faith and reason, it is readily apparent that this public policy—expanded gambling—will tear down families, lead to addiction, propel financial instability and bankruptcies, and increase crime. As Jesus often did, we must pose the question to our fellow citizens: What does it profit a man? How does a ballot initiative which seeks to legalize unlimited, unfettered, unregulated casino gambling profit our community?

The simple fact of the matter is this: far from enriching our communities, Initiatives 429, 430, and 431 will hurt them. Rather than fulfill their illusory and empty promises of increased revenue projections, unrestricted casino gambling will bring decay to communities.

Initiatives 429, 430, 431 are not consistent with Catholic social teaching on gambling. The fruits of the gambling industry reveal a bad tree that is destined to produce bad fruits. It cannot profit a man, woman, or child in Nebraska to expand gambling—doing so only risks moral, financial, physical, and spiritual welfare.

As Nebraskans begin the voting process now through Nov. 3rd, we urge all Nebraskans-especially those in our Catholic community—to vote AGAINST Initiatives 429, 430, and 431. Let’s not gamble away the good life!  

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Pat Loontjer, Executive Director of “Gambling with the Good Life” said today, “We have successfully prevented expanded gambling in Nebraska for 25 years and this is the worst proposal we have ever faced. The Ho Chunk’s have put up millions of dollars to change our Constitution and allow unlimited casinos all over Nebraska. This permits all forms of Casino gambling – including sports betting and internet gambling to addict our children & grandchildren.”

Loontjer went on to say, “The Faith coalition made up of virtually every denomination in the state have pledged today to actively work to inform their members of the devastating effects #429, #430 & #431 will have on Nebraska families. The casino interests have the money to spread their lies about keeping the money in Nebraska. But we have the truth, and the Faith Leaders are united in their efforts to spread that truth to every community.”

Press Conference with Tom Osborne & Governor Ricketts Opposing Casino Gambling Ballot Initiatives 429, 430, 431

Click Here to Watch Press Conference Video

On October 5th, Gambling with the Good Life hosted a press conference at the state capitol with Tom Osborne, Governor Pete Ricketts, Governor Kay Orr, state senators, Nebraska Family Alliance, and other community leaders opposed to gambling initiatives 429, 430, and 431.

These initiatives seek to change Nebraska’s constitution to allow all forms of gambling at horse tracks and would also allow Native American tribes to have their own casinos. A licensed racetrack could race horses one day a year and offer casino gambling 24/7/365.

Tom Osborne, who serves as Honorary Chairman for Gambling with the Good Life, said “These initiatives will certainly damage the quality of living in Nebraska. The people that bear the greatest burden of this problem will be families, spouses, and the children of those who have a gambling problem. They pay the greatest price.” Osborne also spoke of his time and experiences in Congress, saying “I asked several of my colleagues in Congress who had been living in states where they had expanded gambling, was this a good thing or a bad thing? 100% of those individuals said this is the worst mistake we ever made, we never should have started it. Once you start it, you’re never going to undo it.”

Governor Pete Ricketts said “Nebraskans are hardworking, they value prudence, fiscal responsibility, taking care of their families, and are involved in their communities, schools, and churches. And casino gambling is opposed to all those values. Gambling addiction and gambling is bad for our state.” The Governor concluded his remarks by stating “We already fight gambling addiction here in our state. This will make it so much worse. It will put it in our communities, it will put it all across our state. That’s why I’m against expanding gambling in the state of Nebraska.”

Governor Kay Orr said “There’s a false narrative out there from the other side that wants to expand gambling, and we’re grateful for any help we can get to educate the people so we don’t take that step. By text or phone call I did get the support of Governor Heineman, Senator Bob Kerrey, and Senator Johanns. They join me and others in support of our effort to educate the people of the state of Nebraska.”

Nate Grasz, Policy Director for Nebraska Family Alliance, said “Without question, the gambling initiatives on the ballot are bad for families, bad for business, and bad for Nebraska. Casino gambling creates social costs that ruin lives, families, businesses, and communities. But gambling operators don’t pay for these harms. Taxpayers do. We cannot lower taxes by draining more money from local economies, driving people deeper into poverty, and increasing addiction, social costs, and destroyed families. When it comes to casino gambling, the house always wins. So in order for the gambling interests to win, it’s our own citizens who must lose.”

Dan Hazuka, GWTGL board member and a victim of a family member’s gambling addiction, said “My father was an alcoholic and he gambled everything away, so I really can understand it. We lost everything. If you think for one minute we are going to lower our taxes because of this, you’re wrong. They keep saying “keep the money in Nebraska,” well it’s not going to stay here. It is going to cost for every dollar that you bring in three or four dollars in social costs. I am positive of that.”

Watch a video recording of the press conference on the KETV Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ketv7/videos/1868023366674087

Vote NO on Initiative 429 – Living Word Ministries Radio Interview with Pat Loontjer

Vote NO on Initiative 429!

Why are ballot initiatives #429, #430 and #431 BAD FOR NEBRASKA?

Pat Loontjer, Director of Gambling with the Good Life, joins Debbie Blank of Living Word Ministries on their radio show to explain THE TRUTH of how unlimited casinos will pop up in Nebraska, taxes will increase, and many families/business will be destroyed if #429 is allowed to change our constitution to allow all forms of gambling.

Protect Nebraska from Unlimited Casino Gambling – Vote NO on 429, 430, 431

Protect Nebraska from Unlimited Casino Gambling – Vote No on 429, 430, 431

1. Nebraska’s leadership is united against gambling, trust them.

Who is for casinos? Gambling operators. They stand to make millions.

  • Nebraska’s leaders oppose 429, 430, and 431: Governor Pete Ricketts, Congressman Tom Osborne, Senator Bob Kerrey, Senator Mike Johanns, Governor Dave Heineman, Governor Kay Orr, Ron Brown, Warren Buffett, Chuck Hassebrook, Johnny Rodgers and many others.

2. 429 allows 24/7 gambling anywhere across Nebraska, including your community.

The initiative abolishes our constitutional protection against casinos. Instead, unelected commissioners could allow gambling at any “licensed racetrack enclosure.”

  • A “racetrack” could offer 24/7 casino gambling 365 days/year by holding just one race per year. Such “licensed racetrack enclosures” could open across the state.
  • 429 authorizes every kind of gambling—slot machines, sports betting, online gambling—with no oversight from the legislature or public.
  • 429 also automatically and immediately allows tribes to operate their own casinos – unlimited, untaxed, and no local control.

3. Casino gambling will INCREASE Nebraska taxes.

Casino gambling creates social costs that ruin lives, families, businesses, and communities. But gambling operators don’t pay for these harms. Taxpayers do.

  • Iowa has raised taxes since gambling moved in.
  • Think “ABCs”: Addiction. Bankruptcies. Crime.
  • Casino states tax their citizens more heavily than states without casinos, concludes Creighton University Economist Dr. Ernie Goss in a 2019 study.

4. “Keep the Money in Nebraska” is a lie. Casinos drain money out of economies.

“Slots in Nebraska will just drain more money out of the state,” says John E. Anderson, University of Nebraska Department of Economics.

  • CEO Warren Buffett says, “It’s just a big loser for everyone…you don’t need more of it.”
  • When Detroit voters approved casinos to “stop” $500 million going across the river to Windsor, Canada, more people got hooked on gambling and gambling losses increased to $700 million.
  • Just one casino in Omaha would increase gambling losses in Omaha by 66% and add $132 million in social costs while Nebraskans will continue to gamble in Iowa, according to a 2002 Omaha Chamber of Commerce study.

Protect our constitution. Protect Nebraska’s Good Life.

Vote NO on 429, 430 & 431

Protect Nebraska’s Constitution — Protect the Good Life

Protect Nebraska’s Constitution
Protect the Good Life

Vote “NO” on #429, #430, #431

Voters will be asked to amend Nebraska’s constitution to legalize all forms of gambling on the 2020 ballot. If approved, casinos could be built not only at racetracks, but anywhere Native American tribes own land in Nebraska—whether at a racetrack or not—permitting casinos to be built across the entire state.

1. Casino Gambling Will NOT Provide Property Tax Relief

Casino gambling creates economic and social costs that ruin lives, families, businesses, and communities. But gambling operators don’t pay for these harms. Taxpayers do.

  • More gambling = higher taxes. For every $1 of gambling revenue the state must spend $3 on social costs.
  • A 2019 study by prominent Creighton University economics professor Dr. Ernie Goss concluded casino states tax their citizens more heavily than states without casinos.
  • Iowa has raised taxes since gambling moved in. We call it the ABCs: Addiction. Bankruptcies. Crime.
  • Gambling interests claim “property tax relief” but cannot prove it. It’s a hoax.

2. Keep the Money in Nebraska is a Lie

“Slots in Nebraska will just drain more money out of the state,” says John E. Anderson, University of Nebraska Department of Economics.

  • In 1996, Michigan voters approved casinos to “stop” the $500 million going over the border to Ontario, Canada.  With the increase in gambling, now $700 million leaves the state.
  • In 2003, a study for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce concluded that just one, average size casino operating in Omaha  would increase gambling losses in the Omaha metro area by 66% and result in $132 million in social costs.
  • CEO Warren Buffett says, “There’s nothing getting developed. It’s a transfer of money…You don’t need more of  it”.

3. #429 Changes our Constitution to Legalize Limitless Forms of All Casino Gambling

  • Legalizing even one slot machine automatically allows Native American tribes to open as many casinos as they  want –  untaxed, unlimited, and greatly unregulated.
  • Changing our constitution will allow slot machines, the “crack-cocaine of gambling,” sports gambling, and full- blown casinos across Nebraska.

 “Fellow Nebraskans, we implore you to join us in protecting the integrity of the Constitution and the “good life” in this state by voting “no” on any and all proposed amendments to expand gambling in this state.”
– Tom Osborne & State Senator Ernie Chambers

Nebraska should not be for sale.

Don’t let gambling interests change our constitution and state forever to line their own pockets.

 Vote “NO” on #429, #430 & #431

 

Update on Casino Petition

The Winnebago tribe has spent $2 million dollars to pay for the signatures needed to change our Constitution and get the casino question on the ballot in November. They hired out of state students to converge on every city and it looks like they may have reached their goal. If these signatures are valid (and there is some question about that) we will be in for the fight of our lives.

The petitions will allow full blown casinos at the current six racetracks. What they are not telling the voters is that if the Constitution is changed it will open the state for unlimited Indian casinos (which are virtually untaxed & unregulated). This will be a disaster and change the face of our great state forever.

If the Winnebago were willing to pay over $2 million for just the signatures you can only imagine what they will put up to get it passed

We are considering all of our options should we have to launch a full-blown campaign to inform the voters and prevent its passage.

As we wait for the final count we ask for your prayers. God has blessed our state for the past 25 years and we are asking for His mercy once again.

Blessings,
Pat Loontjer
Executive Director “Gambling with the Good Life”

GWGL Update from Pat

Greetings, it has been awhile since I last caught you up on what’s happening in the
“Gambling World” or even better the “Anti-Gambling World”.

We are now in our 25th year of success – no expanded gambling in Nebraska in the last 25 years. This is a miracle and one for which we give God all the glory.

But, do you think that the gambling interests have given up?  No way! They are back again this year, greedier than ever.

Here’s what we are facing in 2020:

 

  • LB 980 by Sen. Tom Brandt
    Loosen restrictions on special lottery & raffle permits plus allow for on-line betting– this hearing was held on Jan. 27th and we sent two letters to the committee expressing our concerns that credit cards not be permitted with any form of betting. No action has been taken as yet.

 

The following Bills will be heard by the General Affairs committee on Feb. 10th at 1:30 PM in room #1510. We welcome attendance, testimonies, letters and most of all prayers that none of these Bills will be passed.

 

  • LR 295 CA by Sen. Justin Wayne
    Constitutional amendment to allow the Legislature to authorize, regulate, and tax any game of chance. This would have to go on the 2020 Ballot.
  • LB 971 by Sen. Justin Wayne
    Legalize sports betting by way of the State Lottery
  • LB 990 by Justin Wayne
    Permit sports betting, fantasy sports & poker as legal games of “skill”

 

Other gambling activities that we are monitoring:

  • The illegal Ponca Casino in Carter Lake is up and running but there are 2 lawsuits pending that we hope will shut them down. The court system can be very slow at times.
  • The Nebr. Racing Commission voted to put the “Dead Horse” slot machines in the Grand Island racetrack. These are full blown slot machines that play 30 “games” – 1 of which is old horse races, it is a farce. There are now 2 lawsuits to stop them, one of which is the Attn. General’s. So far, no machines have been installed yet so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
  • Then last but not least is the Winnebago tribe’s petition that is being circulated thru- out the state. They have put up $1.5 Million dollars so far to pay for this plot. (poor Indians) If they get enough signatures, get it on the 2020 ballot and it passes, we will have full blown casinos all over the state. What a disaster!

Well, that’s all for now – WHEW ! We thank you for your support all these many years and ask for your continued prayers that God will see fit to spare our great state this year and for many more to come.

Blessings, Pat
402-551-2776