by Cliff Judy
Four Wichita pastors spoke out against a casino in Sedgwick County and Sunday liquor sales. They say gambling and Sunday sales would hurt the black and Hispanic community.
The pastors spoke to a small gathering in front of Century II Monday morning. They're hoping to urge a large voter turnout for the August 7 special election.
While some spoke of the possibility of future problems, Reverend Peggy Elliott talked about her father who was a professional gambler and committed suicide.
The pastors pointed to a study from 2001 showing blacks and Hispanics are seven to eight times more likely to become addicted to gambling than white people.
Pastor Bryan Mann says it's really more of an issue of income than race, but the study shows a casino could present a problem in some of Wichita's communities already suffering from poverty. He sees the potential for poorer people to gamble off rent or food money.
"You get desperate when desperate times come," says Mann, "and it's just another way for people to throw their money into a hole that's not going to be productive for them."
The Sunday liquor sales issue is not yet on the August ballot. Opponents need to get 6,700 signatures by July 2 to put Sunday sales to a vote.