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Slots, video gambling need to be outlawed I am writing in support of Constitutional Amendment 85, the amendment that, if passed, will prohibit slot machine and video gambling in Montana. Problem gambling is not a chemical addiction, like in the case of drug and alcohol addiction, but it is a particularly vile psychological addiction. The compulsive gambler is drawn into a hypnotic, escapist relationship, which is reinforced by the deluded belief that the big win is just one more quarter away.

Gambling is a more insidious problem than is drinking or drugging. Most compulsive gamblers gamble in secret; often even their spouses are unaware of how much they are gambling. In some ways, it's even more secretive than sexual addiction, which for the most part usually includes a partner of some kind and thus a higher risk of getting caught by one's spouse or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Gambling addicts can also go through a greater amount of money in a shorter time than other addicts. This is why suicide is so high amongst gamblers. If they've completely wiped themselves out, they can't say to themselves, "Well, tomorrow I'll recoup my losses," the way an alcoholic or addict can by promising themselves they'll go straight. The real delusion is that the tax benefits of this blight outweigh the social costs, in ruined families, increased crime and treatment costs.

We are lucky to have a democratic process here in our state. Why don't we find out how the majority of Montanans feel by putting the amendment on the ballot in the next general election and voting on it?

Christine A. Hillegass

Livingston

Thanks for supporting Billings Scout show On behalf of the Boy Scouts of America, Montana Council Black Otter District, we would like to thank the Billings community for their support and participation in the annual Scout Show held at the Shrine Auditorium March 23. Special thanks to Wendy's, Coca-Cola and County Market. Also a very special thank you to our 30-plus committee members who worked throughout the year to make this year's Scout Show a huge success. We also appreciate the many corporations and businesses who donated materials, prizes and monetary funds. The annual Scout Show is a family event with activities for all age levels. It attracts over 5,000 people each year and we're hoping to see this number grow in the upcoming years. We look forward to seeing you at next year's show, March 29, 2003. Thank you again to our wonderful volunteers who helped set up, collect tickets and money, to the 40 scout units who participated in an array of exciting interactive booths and to each scout who sold tickets to promote the show.

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Sandi and Ralph Shirts

Co-Chairs, Scout Show 2002

Billings

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