The possible addition of slot machines at Kentucky's racetracks has sparked considerable debate throughout the state and in the pages of this newspaper. While the American Gaming Association does not take a position on expanded gambling, we would like to correct the misinformation included in the June 8 opinion piece, "Facts on gambling you haven't heard."
Author Jim Stivers should have done his due diligence before presenting the information about slot machines he found online as fact. His op-ed is littered with inaccuracies, all of which have been disproved by reliable, peer-reviewed research.
As just one example, Stivers' claims about increased rates of pathological gambling are unfounded. Volumes of research confirm that, despite the tremendous expansion of the gaming industry over the last 30 years, including increased access to slot machines, the rate of pathological gambling has remained virtually unchanged at approximately one percent of adult Americans.
Even more convincing than research, however, are the real stories of how casinos have become valuable community partners where they operate, creating jobs and boosting local economies. Frank Siffrin, manager of North Strabane Township, Pa., said of casinos, "You couldn't ask for a better neighbor."
Tom Garrett, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis said, "There's a feeling among some critics that if you make gambling legal, the entire town will go to ruin. That just isn't the case." Certainly, Stivers is entitled to his opinion. But his baseless conjecture about slot machines and addiction should be regarded as such. His "facts" deserve no place in any reasonable conversation about expanded gambling.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEOAmerican Gaming Association Washington, D.C.
Plan B claims false
On May 18, the Herald-Leader published a commentary, "Plan B approval a tragedy not a triumph." The author warned of emergency contraceptive Plan B's "known abortifacient" properties and its apparent dangers.
Although these claims are found using Google or other non-scientific search engines, peer-reviewed, scientific journals present original research about Plan B that reaches very different conclusions.
Reliable sources consistently maintain there is no evidence that Plan B causes abortion. In fact, the only known mechanism of action is its prevention or delay of ovulation. Prevention of fertilization is another probable mechanism. Although no one knows beyond a shadow of a doubt whether the medication has any action once fertilization has occurred, research leans heavily toward the probability that it does not.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to substantiate the statement: "Plan B is a carcinogen." It is disturbing that an attempt was made to frighten potential users into believing they'd get cancer if they took the medication.
Professionals who have true expertise about Plan B agree that it is extremely safe and effective. It provides a last chance to prevent — not end — an unwanted pregnancy.
Because it is more effective the sooner it is taken, over-the-counter access has long received support from many professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics.