Bill Fasy  -- April 20, 2010

 

I think most of you know that I search for an apt quote or two for my introductions. When doing research for tonight’s introduction, I had a hard time deciding which one to use as it seems that lots of people have something to say about gambling.  I couldn’t pick just one, so here are a few …

  • A dollar picked up in the road is more satisfaction to us than the 99 which we had to work for, and the money won at a track or in the stock market snuggles into our hearts the same way. (Mark Twain)
  • The urge to gamble is so universal and its practice is so pleasurable, that I assume it must be evil.  ~Heywood Broun
  • The typical gambler might not really understand the probabilistic nuances of the wheel or the dice, but such things seem a bit more tractable than, say, trying to raise a child in this lunatic society of ours.  ~Arthur S. Reber, The New Gambler's Bible
  • They gambled in the Garden of Eden, and they will again if there's another one." -Richard Albert Canfield"
  • And finally, I am not sure I totally agree with Jeopardy’s venerable Alex Trebeck on the first part of this, but the second part is dead on…
  • "I don't gamble, because winning a hundred dollars doesn't give me great pleasure. But losing a hundred dollars pisses me off."

Seriously, gambling has existed since ancient times, and there is evidence that most cultures supported it in some form or another.

It is said that Zeus, Hades and Poseidon are said to have split the Universe by sharing heaven, hell and sea with the roll of the dice.

Archeological evidence suggests that the earliest caveman was a gambler.

At the height of the Roman Empire, lawmakers decreed that all children were to be taught to gamble and throw dice.

In the New World, Native Americans, believing that the gods themselves invented games of chance, played dice with plum stones painted white or black.

Legislation on gambling has been around almost as long as gambling itself.

During the Revolutionary War, when lotteries bankrolled the Continental Army, Washington himself bought the first ticket for a federal lottery in 1793.

All 13 original colonies established lotteries, usually more than one, to raise revenue. Playing the lottery became a civic responsibility.

Proceeds helped establish some of the nation's earliest and most prestigious universities -- Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Princeton, and William and Mary.

Then, by 1860, Delaware was one of only three states with state-authorized lotteries. 

In 1931, Nevada legalized gambling again, followed by New Jersey’s Atlantic City in 1978.  Delaware legislature authorized what is called “video lottery”.

In each of these cases, economic conditions have had a great deal to do with the legalization of gambling.

During the “great depression”, there was a resurgence in legalized gambling as tremendous financial distress gripped the country. Interestingly, legalized gambling was looked upon as a way to stimulate the economy.

Massachusetts decriminalized bingo in 1931 and it became legal in 11 states by the 1950s, usually only for charity purposes.

Horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering made comeback and in 1930s, 21 states brought back racetracks and eventually, new laws. 

No matter what, our opinions of gambling may be, three things are sure:

·        it is legal,

·        it brings in tax revenue

·        It is big business

And, precisely because it is big business, the current discussion in the Delaware legislature is causing quite the stir –

Is, as one side puts it in their ad campaign “three is enough”

or

Should we expand the number of casinos? 

If we have more, where should they be and who should decide that?

Some say the current system is a monopoly;

Others say the State shouldn’t tinker with the success. 

Tonight, we’ll hear from a prominent opponent of casino expansion – Bill Fasy.  Bill is the President of Delaware Park Racetrack and Casino.

He is a CPA, he attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and Drexel University, and has a Masters degree.

Bill started his Hospitality and Entertainment career in June 1979 as a co-op student at Drexel University and has worked in all facets of hotel and casino operations including stints with:

·        Carnival Cruise Lines

·        Resorts International

and

·        A Bally’s he was responsible for financial operations of a 1,250 room hotel, 2,000+ slot machines, a spa and 100+ table games.

William Rickman, Sr. hired Bill away from his position President and CEO of a small gaming development company where he was Chairman, President and CEO of the parent company and several subsidiaries.

Next month, we’ll hear the reasons why we should expand the number of casinos in Delaware from legislative proponent Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf;

However, tonight we’ll hear why, in the opinion of some, three existing casinos in Delaware are “enough”. 

To give us that case - please welcome Bill Fasy to The Committee of 100 podium.

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