Friday, April 3, 2015

People Just Wanna Gamble

Three recent news articles made my hair stand on end this week, and they say plenty about the state of gambling here in the US, which, as we all know, is pretty fucked up given Adelson’s RAWA rampage.

The first was a story from the Pew Charitable Trusts called, “States Consider Slapping Limits on Their Lotteries.”  Ignore the faulty graph showing sales per capita (more on that in a moment) – most of the quotes (and backlash) come from two sources.  One is our “buddy” Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling, who really wants to stop ALL gambling, not just set limits to lotteries.  The other battleground is Minnesota, where real buddy Mike Qualley can tell you what the real issue is.  It’s not so much limiting the lottery (though there are folks who are cousins to Bernal on this), but limiting WHO can sell the damn tickets.

Which brings us to story #2 – The New York Times writes about “A Texas Ban on Gambling That Doesn’t Quite Work.”  The ban on slots in Texas can hardly succeed when the counties charge $500 fees each for the machines (to be used only as entertainment with non-cash prizes).  Hell, the STATE cashes in, too - the Texas comptroller’s office collects $10 million annually on eight-liners (slots), pool tables and other devices as part of a coin-operated machines tax.
One county hauled in $1.5 MILLION last year.  There are an estimated 30,000 to 150,000 machines in Texas, and pretty much everyone looks the other way about this.  Counties collect much needed revenue, and people do what they want to do.  Gamble.
Because face it, folks.  People just wanna gamble.  It doesn’t matter what the law or society says – we’ve been gambling ever since we’ve been upright, almost, and we’ll keep on doing it until we die.  No pun, of course.
And because people wanna gamble, governments are gonna wanna get their share.  Nothing new.  Screw laws and morality, what was decided last year, whatever…the desire for money is why people gamble and why governments have tried to get their hands on as much of it as possible.  It’s a dance we’ve been playing in this country ever since we landed (Harvard was build on Lottery money, and the Revolutionary Army was funded pretty much the same way).
Let us play and get out of the way.  Times are changing (except, not).
Which brings us to the third news story that grinded my gears, and I’m not linking to it, since pretty much everyone knows what happened in Indiana.  I won’t comment, but I will pose this query to you:

You own a bakery.  Two guys come into your bakery at different times to order wedding cakes. One asks for a cake with "Good luck Chris and Pat" on it. The other asks for a cake with "Good luck Pat & Chris" on it.

Which is the gay marriage?  Think about it.  Take all the time you need.

Yes, this is how stupid the argument is.  This is what our politicians spend their (already limited time) dicking around with.  Instead of letting us gamble as we please.


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