Who doesn't like a get-rich-quick scheme? Not many in Kansas, based on the numbers.
There are five Indian casinos. The Kansas Lottery had almost $250 million in sales last year. Another $350 million was generated at the three state-owned casinos. Online gambling has become pervasive, if not entirely legal yet.
And then there is the entirely underground economy of "entertainment purposes only" electronic games found in bars, grocery stores and clubs throughout the state. No figures are available to measure the volume of revenue poured into these; suffice to say it's significant.
But try to raise funds for a church or organization with a raffle, and suddenly there is a puritanical spirit frowning upon the practice.
That could change, if voters see fit in Tuesday's general election. There is a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution that would permit Kansas lawmakers "to authorize charitable raffles operated or conducted by religious, charitable, fraternal, educational and veterans nonprofit organizations."
A no vote would continue prohibiting everybody except certain Native American tribes as well as the state from having legal games of chance.
It is time for the hypocrisy to end. How the state ever believed it could prey on the instincts of gamblers without giving the same privilege to others long has baffled us. We do not predict any increase in the number of gamblers statewide should this measure pass, but it certainly will make it easier for groups to raise needed funding.
We would encourage voters to check the "yes" box on amending the state Constitution.
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Closer to home, patrons of Ellis USD 388 will be voting on a $9 million bond issue.
A slightly more expensive version was rejected soundly last year, but the needs remain the same and everything is just one year older.
District officials plan to build classrooms and office space at Ellis High School, then move the junior high there. The money also would be used to pay off the $1.3 million in HVAC improvements and replace the HVAC at Washington Grade School. Building and equipping a secondary gym, football field, track, pressbox, bleachers, concessions and restrooms also are on the list.
"I look at it as a reinvestment in our community and our school," said Gail Brack, co-chair of the bond committee. "In two years when it's done, we're going to see classrooms, we're going see a gym, we're going to see a football stadium. And with paying off the existing HVAC loan, that money becomes available for other district needs. We're going to see something for our money and our taxes."
Not passing the bond issue certainly would save money for homeowners in the Ellis School District -- but only in the short run. At some point, if these issues aren't addressed, it will not be possible for USD 388 school board members and administrators to maintain structures that have outlived their expected functionality.
As such, this ballot question entails much more than district facilities. It is a vote on the future of Ellis itself.
We would encourage voters in the Ellis school district to vote "yes" on the bond issue in Tuesday's election.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry