Deregulation hurt

A.C. casino industry

Regarding the Feb. 14 story, "Whelan: Caesars restricting casino sale":

The story concerned reports that Caesars Entertainment Corp. is trying to prevent any buyer from operating Atlantic Club as a casino.

It was the deregulation of casinos that has allowed this to happen. The downfall of this industry started with deregulation years ago, with the loss of regulations governing how many square feet in a casino could be used for slot machines, table games, etc. As a result, some properties became slot houses. This caused job losses.

Now surrounding states have gambling. Our casino industry needs to reinvent itself so that smaller properties can flourish.

The latest round of deregulation added to the demise of smaller properties and the loss of jobs. The Casino Control Commission was no longer required at each property. This has meant less supervision on the gaming floor. Now a pit boss can cover more than one pit, and supervisors watch more games. With the lack of supervision from all angles, this could lead to more crime. Who is serving as the watchdog?

In the beginning, our casinos may have been over-regulated. Now we have gone too far in the other direction. If we correct this, maybe we can again be the star Atlantic City once was. Not the same, but better, and with more full-time jobs.


Ocean View

Pitts adds to problem

of race relations

Regarding the Feb. 16 Leonard Pitts Jr. column, "Labeling our kids 'thugs' leads to violence, denial":

In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder said that as far as race is concerned we are "a nation of cowards."

There is some truth to this. Much of the fault lies with black leaders who have used the race card whenever it suits their purpose. Pitts is no different. This column, about the Florida man who shot and killed a 17-year-old, is proof.

Michael Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder, and I agree with the verdict. But Pitts tries to alienate Caucasians from people of color to further his agenda, to blame white leaders, conservatives and the tea party for all ills.

Seventy percent of black families have no father figure in the home. Instead of working to improve this situation, black leaders use the race card. There will always be racism and anti-Semitism. You cant fix stupid or bias in some people. However, since the 1960s, civil rights have improved. Our government has spent billions on entitlements and other programs, yet we have not found the answer to fixing crime and poor living conditions in some inner cities.

Remember when Rodney King was beaten by Los Angeles police and asked, "Why can't we all just get along?" Well, Pitts' column is one reason why.



Legalize marijuana

to fight heroin addiction

With drug abuse becoming prevalent in Ocean County, it seems that the legalization of marijuana is the only viable solution.

Ocean County held New Jersey's top ranking in deaths attributed to heroin and prescription drugs in 2013 with 112 deaths, more than double the 53 deaths in 2012. After losing two close friends within two months of each other, I feel that we, as a community, must look toward non-traditional solutions for such a heart-breaking epidemic.

Ocean County currently has 10 centers for rehabilitation and help. As we watch the death toll rise from overdoses, I cannot help but think we could use a few more.

Toms River recently opened a new center called Sunrise Detox. One day of inpatient treatment costs $1,700. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a 90-day program to be effective, leaving the patient with a $153,000 bill.

Legalizing marijuana could easily fund new treatment centers and help patients receive assistance.

Last year New Jersey had 1,188 overdose-related deaths from heroin and prescription drugs. In the same year, marijuana was responsible for zero deaths. It's time we seek a healthier alternative.

Using one drug to combat another is unorthodox, but I think the benefits of legalizing marijuana are very apparent.


Point Pleasant

Gambling exclusion list

cannot be temporary

Regarding the Feb. 17 editorial "Casino self-exclusion/Reduce stigma":

The self-exclusion list was not a bad idea when it started, but we have learned a lot over the years.

No addicted gambler ever gets cured, so to have self-exclusions of varying durations - one-year, five-year and for life - is a joke. The people who set up this system do not understand addiction. No one with a gambling addiction will be able to go back to gambling after a year or five years without falling back into that addiction. Many people on the exclusion list are gambling right now.

Casinos are taking a real gamble by letting back people who have been on the self-exclusion list. A player who loses a lot of money might sue the casino, saying that it knew he or she had a problem.

By the way, I am the first person ever to sign up for the New Jersey exclusion list. If you need help for a gambling problem, call 888-LAST-BET


Lake Worth, Fla.

Arnie Wexler is the former executive director of the New Jersey Council on Compulsive Gambling.

Thanks, Hamilton Twp.,

for recognizing veterans

I would like to salute Hamilton Township for its proposal to set aside as much as $855,000 of annual contracts for veteran-owned businesses.

It's about time that our municipalities acknowledge our veterans, just as Stone Harbor and Sea Isle City did with their decisions to offer free beach tags for vets.

We veterans paid the price for people to enjoy these beaches along the Jersey shore, and politicians should recognized them for that. They sure don't want to wake up a sleeping giant.



Disabled American Veterans

Chapter 44

Del Haven

Christie implausible

on bridge lane closings

Gov. Chris Christie has said he had no knowledge of the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that caused four days of traffic tie-ups.

It requires an enormous leap of faith to accept this. Are we to believe than none of the thousands of people inconvenienced called Trenton to voice a complaint to the governor?

One can only conclude that either our governor is not being truthful, or he is totally incompetent and actually did not know anything. No other explanation is plausible.

This is important because Christie is seen by the Republican Party as a leading contender in 2016 for the highest office in the nation.

How about someone giving the public the truth? Or is that not possible?