Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Star's Biddle Makes Light Of Pea Shake Houses

The Star's RiShawn Biddle has no problem with pea shake houses being illegally operated in residential areas of Indianapolis because only a "weird distinction" in the law makes such operations illegal while other forms of gambling such as the Lottery and off-track pari-mutuel wagering are permitted. He doesn't even mind that state and local officials frequent the establishments known to draw drugs, guns and prostitution into the inner city residential neighborhoods where they are illegally operated. Biddle writes:

All those folks at the Statehouse and around the state handwringing about how franchising the state lottery to a private company will lead to the expansion of gambling should take a walk down the streets of Indianapolis. Gambling is already available in all forms, legal and otherwise, and isn't about to disappear.

Just blocks away from the Statehouse at the corner of Washington and Illinois, sits an off-track betting shack run by the parent company of the Hoosier Park and the legendary Churchill Downs horserace tracks. You can bet on the ponies during lunchtime while enjoying a meal. Across from the City-County building, you can stop by one of two convenience shops and pick up a lottery ticket just before heading to a council hearing or a meeting with the mayor. And for those who stick to churchly affairs, there's the weekly bingo games that subsidize the spiritual work of the faithful.

Further out of Downtown, in some of the city's poorest Black neighborhoods, you can put down some bets at the local numbers racket or peashake house, where the odds of winning are usually better than a $1 bet with the Hoosier Lottery and perhaps, even meet up with a state or local official. Sure, they are illegal, but only because the state makes a weird distinction between legal forms of gambling and those it finds distasteful or difficult to tax. Then there is sports betting, which is discussed rather openly in just about every bar and office in town.

One can argue that expanding gambling will breed compulsive behavior. But those folks are going to bet no matter whether gaming is legal or not. If anything, by making all forms of gambling legal, state officials can actually place a tax on those operations to help fund programs to stem compulsive gambling and keep the operations free of organized crime by regulating who can actually own a casino. And if the lottery is handed off to a private operation -- with provision for a second lottery operation to reduce the monopoly aspects of the franchising -- then the state is no longer in the business of self-enrichment -- along with picking and choosing winners and losers -- in gaming.

So legalize the peashakes. Place some slots Downtown. The state has long ago allowed gaming to become a feature of the economy and society of this state. Might as well place another bet.

Do you think Biddle's views explain why the Star has reported nothing on last weekend's bust at a west side pea shake establishment where Sen. Glenn Howard (D-Indianapolis) reportedly showed up to protest the raid because police were finally acting on neighborhood complaints? I suspect if RiShawn actually lived near one of these pea shack houses instead of the comfortable northeast-side suburb where he currently resides he would feel differently about the matter. Notice how much time he's devoted at Expresso to blogging against the blight caused by the homeless people whom he encounters daily near his place of work?


Wilson46201 said...

Some wry wit observed that with the inauguration of the Indiana Lottery, Governor Evan Bayh ran the biggest numbers game in town ...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Biddle, make pea shakes legal. As far as drugs and prostitution. You have the same thing at the river boat casinos, hotels, and in regular bars and restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what you think the ultimate outcome in regards to pea shake houses should be, at the present time they are still ILLEGAL. They are a violation of state statue and are subject to the penalties that come with them. Save your racial, political, or gambling viewpoints for real issues. The people who run and frequent these establishments are committing a crime, no matter whether or not we think it should be one or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Gary on this one - these places are dangerous and a nuisance that draws crime. I live near enough to some to see it.

If they're illegal, shut them down (along with the VFW halls and the other illegal joints.) If you want them to be legal, then pursue that, if it's so bloody important. But this ambiguous, "ignoring the problem" doesn't help the neighborhoods at all.

I don't have some bone to pick about the morality of gambling - there are plenty of legal gambling joints you can go to if you need to throw away your pocket money that badly.

Wilson46201 said...

A lot of the moralizing about peashakes illegalities strikes me as being akin to the pious hotheads who were actually trying to impeach and convict a President over alleged perjury concerning a blowjob.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, he has outdone himself. Wilson actually compares illegal pea shake gambling in poor inner-city Indianapolis neighborhoods to Clinton's blowjob? Wow, it just gets more and more ridiculous everytime he opens his mouth.

indyernie said...

"A lot of the moralizing about peashakes illegalities strikes me as being akin to the pious hotheads who were actually trying to impeach and convict a President over alleged perjury concerning a blowjob."

Wilson he was impeached, the "blow job" happened. He lied about it, "alleged perjury" no Clinton did it. What bothers me is... what the Hell dos it have to do with pea shakes?

Wilson you are trying to divert the subject of this thread.

Black folks in Indianapolis can take care of themselves...I have been told that they wish you would go away and let them settle their own problems.
Not one African American has told me that pea shakes are a good idea...except those involved in the game.

It’s kinda like having a whorehouse on the corner, it effects the entire neighborhood.
But your boy Clinton would like that ...Party Central.

Anonymous said...

Everytime Rishawn says something really intelligent he turns around and says something stupid like this to undercut his own credibility. Really sad.

Anonymous said...

Are innocent office pools legal when bets are made on the super bowl game, world series in baseball, NBA finals, NCAA finals, holes on the golf course? How about bribes to politicians? Shall we lock them all up?

Anonymous said...

Another illegal thing that the police look the other way about are the supposed charities at the intersections asking for money. This is very dangerous and needs to stop. 62nd & Keystone, 38th & Keystone. Someone is going to get hurt.

Anonymous said...

11:21 is right. These guys in orange vests are getting more aggressive. They don't just stand on the concrete dividing lanes--they walk right up to your window and, if it's open in warm weather, they stick their bucket in your window. It's ridiculous.

Peashakes are illegal now. Shut em down. And they're safety hazards...the buildings in which they operate are not zoned for such activity. At bingo halls, VFWs, etc., altho the illegal activity should be stopped, the facilities are properly set up for crowds. As such, they're regularly inspected for continuing compliance.

Oh wait...I forgot...if you're violating zoning ordinances, in this city, under this Mayor and certain DMD hearing officers, it doesn't matter.

Do we havhe to have a nightclub fire, like the one in Delaware a couple of years ago, to wake us up to illegal occupancy violations? Who'd be in trouble then? The city, for letting them operate illegally.

Hey Wilson--how about we open up a peashake next door to your ramshackle? Condoms, broken bottles, needles in your yard and on the street...loud activity on weekends...prostitution, large amounts of cash in and out...all the activities which make a neighborhood prosper.

Or would momma object?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the people defending the peashakes, including Wilson, wouldn't mind having one next door to their house. Go ahead and tell me you wouldn't mind all the things that 6:37 listed.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when Biddle comments on other people's writing without linking to the posts he's writing about.

Fucking arrogant bastard.

Gary R. Welsh said...


You know you've really gotten under RiShawn's skin when he talks about what you write without mentioning you by name. I wear it like a badge of honor.

Anonymous said...

It's simple. Cops want to practice their stormtrooper tactics anywhere, anytime, and upon anyone who is convenient and, particularly if the "victim" is at all, weak and/or marginalized in some manner. "Protect and serve" -- give me a break! "Control -- that's the motto of most cops.