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Right this moment, there are four channels on my television showing different poker tournaments.  The nearest gas station doesn't have biodiesel, but they sell ten kinds of lottery tickets.  Most of the attractions that lined St. Louis' riverfront when I moved to the city are gone, but four blocks of downtown are being replaced by a huge new casino.  It'll compete with the new casino that flashes and glitters on the Illinois side of the river.

The NPR program On Point had a program this week about the rapid growth of gambling in the United States.  In less than a generation lotteries and casinos have swarmed over the land.  The progressive position in most locations has been if not "pro-gambling," at least "gambling tolerant."  After all, even those of us without libertarian leanings are still likely to be strongly in favor of individual rights.  I know that I wasted twenty dollars at the first Yearly Kos trying to play poker at 3AM when my ability to even discern the numbers on the cards was severely limited.  The idea that we should have shunned the tables never occurred to me at the time.

But there are some good reasons that progressives might want to rethink our position toward gambling.  Reasons that have nothing to do with "sin" or with any of the traditional evils (crime, drugs, women in spangly costumes, David Blaine) gambling might bring to a community.

  • Gambling spread rapidly starting in the 1980s at the same time that Reagan took the stage.  This might seem counterintuitive.  After all, aren't conservatives supposed to frown on gambling?  Maybe, but decades of experience have shown that conservatives really have only one commandment that counts: thou shalt cut taxes.  Everything else is secondary.  With trickle-down economics trickling away the budgets of states and localities, most conservatives were more than willing to look the other way as lotteries and casinos filled in the budget gap left from vanished taxes.
  • Gambling is intrinsically regressive.  A casino is nothing but a very large machine, and the purpose of that machine it to extract money and bring it to the casino owners.  By its very nature, gambling cycles money from the poor to the rich.  This would still be true even if the rich participated in gambling at a higher rate than the poor -- which they don't.  In moving a state's or locality's funding from taxes to gambling, the rich gain enormously more than the poor.
  • Gambling places all importance on chance, and in doing so it devalues work.  In fact, it makes it much easier to keep paying people miserable wages when they get to rub off a few magic tickets each week.  And stories of the janitor who won ten jillion dollars are just what you need to keep people happy with their lot.  Mix in a few stories of the guy who would have won a billion, only he didn't buy a ticket with his newly rich buddies that week, and you have a perfect mix to keep people worshiping at the quick-pick altar.

We're at the point now where gambling isn't just accepted, it's worshiped.  Democratic lawmakers in Illinois are fighting to add more casinos so they can fund the budget.  Poker players are treated as superstars.  School systems are run on lottery revenue.

Is there any way for the Democratic Party to extract itself from this bad bet?  Could Democrats snag more of the Christian vote by opposing gambling in favor of fairer taxes?  Or is America so addicted to gambling, that there's no point trying to stop it?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Now I'm going to go watch (26+ / 0-)

    Shannon Elizabeth is playing for the national heads-up championship (which even for poker is a very silly contest).  I'm watching entirely for... the cards, of course.

    •  It's a rerun... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat, Hey BB

      not that there's anything wrong with watching it again...

    •  "Paying the Math Tax" (22+ / 0-)

      That's what a close friend of mine calls it.  People who don't understand basic probability and statistics, paying a de-facto tax for their lack of math skills.  

      About the psychology of gambling for money

      Once when I was on business travel in Nevada, I figured this out:  It's about people who normally view money as something serious, even grim, being able to play with it like a toy for grownups.  By analogy, like soldiers playing paintball on a weekend.  

      Competitive gambling such as poker championships, is more in the same category as chess championships, which is a whole different thing.  And horse races are in that category as well, along with betting on sports in general.  But all the card games, roulette, and slot machines: the psychology of  those seems to me to have something to do with turning a deadly-serious thing into an amusement, thereby getting over some of the deadly-seriousness of it.  

      Think of a banker who during the work week makes decisions that put millions of dollars into play on investments that carry risk, and then on the weekend they go spend a few hundred bucks to just have fun with money.  

      When it's at that level I don't see a problem with it, any more than with professional pilots who spend money building radio-controlled large scale model aircraft and flying them on weekends.  

      When it twists the culture into something weird, for example promoting a mentality that everything in life is about luck rather than work (which produces a sense of learned helplessness), then I have a problem with it at a cultural level.  

      The Libertarian Democratic or progressive libertarian position should be

      Treat it in the same manner that porn is treated: legal but limited.  Private casinos, consenting adults, but limited by zoning to prevent it getting out of hand; and limited in other ways to prevent the gambling industry developing the power to distort the political process.  

      There could be small-scale gambling allowed in bars, subject to a license similar to a liquor license, where these licenses are restricted in number to keep it within reason.  And there could be large casinos as part of resort complexes, again subject to zoning to keep them few and far between.  As for internet gaming, that could be subject to age limits that are enforced with a requirement for a credit card.  

      However, don't use lotteries to fund public sector activities.  Use taxes.  That sounds counterintuitive for a libertarian position, but it's not:  if we want competent and effective government, we have to be willing to pay for it in a manner that is equitably distributed and establishes a direct relationship between what we're paying and what we're receiving.  "Indirect" methods for anything are tyrannical and cowardly policy, and that includes "taxes" that "are not taxes" such as lotteries.  

      And re. gambling addictions, use taxes on gambling to fund advertising of recovery programs, and subsidize the costs thereof to make them accessible.  There is no question that gambling addictions destroy lives and families, as does alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, but banning these things does not make those problems go away, and the state has no business interfering with everyone's right to make their own choices just because some percentage of individuals get into trouble with it.  Education is the best prevention, and readily available treatment is the necessary cure.  

      •  What's worse, our capital markets seem to have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Dvalkure

        acquired a casino-like aspect where financial speculation seems more allied to "gambling" than it does to capital formation.  Whenever things become too stable, the financial wizards invent new financial instruments for the suckers to gamble and lose money on.  Look at real estate, once it was both an investment and a place to call home, now it is a "flip this house" commodity that people trade like they were playing a real life game of monopoly.  When everything is financialized, luck is the most important factor, not hard work.  No wonder the country is growing more religious since we have come to rely on the actions of supernatural more than solid reality.  

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:04:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Our capital markets" (0+ / 0-)

          Have never been anything but legalised gambling for the very rich. And the game is routinely fixed. If interested look up the history of why they're called "stock" markets.

          As to why people gamble its' nothing so complex. Just simple hope. They think if i can get lucky just this one day, just this one time, it can change my life. And if not, no big loss (most of the time).

          As to the "math tax" hardcore gamblers understand statistics and probability far better than the above poster most likely. I dont gamble but always find it ironic that you can bet money the person making the snide remark is likely tens of thousands in debt for a status symbol we call a "car" as well as various and sundry other toys whos only purpose is to convey a status and worth they dont feel inately.

          I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

          by cdreid on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 10:14:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you just lost your bet (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cdreid, Dvalkure

            The car is a 1996 van used for commercial purposes, and it's paid for.  No consumer toys on the credit card; total credit card balances of less than $2k.  No mortgage either (in the Bay Area, heh that's funny).

            And the person who came up with the term "math tax" has zero debts aside from a five-figure, not six-figure, mortgage (at a fixed rate), for land he's building on, and he's building with his own hands.  

            Post your email address here and I'll write & tell you where you can send payment of the bet.  

            Oh yeah one more thing:

            Neener,

            neener.

            •  Have a rec (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek

              for the creative use of neener neener!

              I just dont like to see people judging especially about things neither of us understand. I dont gamble but know lots who do. Some are incredibly intelligent and can make my head swim with statistics and probability. And usually the people you see scoffing at them waste as much or more on their own silly pleasures.

              I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

              by cdreid on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:47:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  heh... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                cdreid

                I don't gamble either.  When I've been in Las Vegas on business, I've put a few bucks in the slot machines just because it's the local custom; it's kind of amusing in a way.  But I don't know anything about cards or roulette or any of that.  Keno could be an interesting precognition test: guess the random numbers and win a reward:-)  My precognition scores are statistically significant but not quite enough to guess all the random numbers:-)

                But it's all about consenting adults.  I have my own vices, if you can call them that, and they're all paid for in cash (mmm, pizza, two slices of pepperoni here I come...).   If someone wants to gamble that's up to them.  

        •  right on target (0+ / 0-)

          All of what you posted, especially "Whenever things become too stable, the financial wizards invent new financial instruments for the suckers to gamble and lose money on."

          There is one subset of the financial industry that I'd refer to as oldschool bankers: people who are in favor of stability and prudence, clarity and fairness; who see their jobs as facilitating the financial wellbeing of the communities in which they live.  

          There is another subset who thrive on chaos, exactly as you describe.  

          The current climate favors the latter at the expense of the former.  However you'll find the former at small neighborhood credit unions, which are good safe places to keep your savings.  

      •  Stupidity tax (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueDem

        Might be a more accurate description.

      •  it's the state sponsored gambling... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Dvalkure

        that is the absolute worst.  Targeted at the poor where they live and frequent.  The absolutely worst payouts percentages.  "Funding schools" -- that's only after UNSPEAKABLE overhead costs are deducted from the revenue that REAK of corruption.

        End state sponsored lotteries!

  •  Massachusetts too, Deval Patrick is selling (7+ / 0-)

    it as a jobs initiative.  Yikes.  On his behalf, it may be that he just wants to get the state in early so we get the best deal because this tribe here has already won the right to build one in court.  

  •  Gambling is NOT worshipped (5+ / 0-)

    As demonstrated by the fact that it's a lot harder for me to gamble on sports online than it used to be.  Although this is just because the USGOV wasn't getting their cut, and because of that crazy online-poker playing student from Bucknel that robbed a bank.

    "You don't need a weather man to tell which way the wind blows" - BD

    by demotarian on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:53:56 PM PDT

    •  'Zactly. They canned the one form of gambling (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rick, samddobermann
      that takes real skill.

      Harold Pinter: "There are very many sides to America."

      by hhex65 on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:39:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wouldn't even consider Poker gambling (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rick, Scarce

        in tournament form, where you pay an entry fee and the winners divide it. That is no different than many semi-professional sports that have prize money. The fact that there is an elite group of players that consistently do well is very strong evidence that skill is more important than luck at the table.

        Tournament play has a certain quality that cash games don't - I think it is the fact that everybody is equal at the start, no matter how rich or poor the players.

        •  As a gambling addict.... (0+ / 0-)

          Trust me, poker is gambling.
          http://www.campusprogress.org/...

          "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

          by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:36:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No doubt (0+ / 0-)

            It just isn't quite the same form of gambling as most of the other games.  Poker is probably the gambling game with the highest skill quotient, and the fact that you aren't playing against "the house" means that you aren't at an inescapable mathematic disadvantage, but in the end you are still placing bets with an expectation between 0 and 1 against other people.

            That being said, as a (mostly) responsible poker player I hate to see banning as the answer.

        •  Funny, I've thought the opposite (0+ / 0-)

          As a somewhat serious poker player, I'd say the conventional wisdom (amongst serious poker players, that is) is that tournaments involve MORE gambling than cash games.
          The idea being that in cash games, you are placing a huge number of more-or-less equal sized bets and your long-term expectation is simply the sum of your expectation on each bet times the wager (i.e. variance SHOULD drop out of the equation given enough samples.)
          In tournaments, you are often forced by the structure to effectively bet your entire entry fee in small edge situations (approximately 50% chance of winning) and therefore your long-term expectation has far more to do with the results of the individual events.

  •  I was born and raised in Vegas. (10+ / 0-)

    Yet I hate gambling.  I've watched too many family members caught up in a number chasing nightmare of denial.

    I often remind people about Vegas:  those casinos are not made of sand.

    That being said, I don't believe in making gambling illegal.  I just don't believe we should be giving business licenses for it.  If mom and pop want to hold a card game, so be it.  

    But instead we first had the mob, now mega-corporations selling gambling like candy.

    For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

    by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:54:31 PM PDT

  •  I distinctly remember a time... (6+ / 0-)

    ...in the early 1990s when the fastest growing industry in the country was the casino industry - while, at the same time, the fastest-growing employer was Manpower Inc. (the temp agency). And I remember being very disturbed by this state of affairs.

    I have very conflicting feelings about gambling. I'm a casual horseplayer, and on very rare occasions I'll spring for a $1 scratch-off just for fun. But I freely acknowledge that lotteries tend to be just another regressive tax.

    Still, some lotteries have been very well administered (see Georgia).

    Difficult choices in these cash-strapped times.  

  •  "Gambling is intrinsically regressive." (8+ / 0-)

    Yes, yes, yes!

    When will people get it that "the man" always has to keep the little people down and poor so that they can run his shit?

    This nation needs to wake up to the facts about who is really paying to line the pockets of the wealthiest among us.  Well, not among me, but you get my drift.

    The Rapture is not an exit strategy. (-6.5/-7.33)

    by pidge not midge on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:56:48 PM PDT

  •  Opposing gambling isn't a voter winner (9+ / 0-)

    My suspicion is the Democratic Party isn't going to gain any more conservative Christian voters by opposing gambling, but it sure might lose some independent voters. The gambling move got started when conservatism was ascending and I doubt voters want to get rid of it.

    As much as I personally dislike gambling, it isn't a battle I'm willing to choose.

    •  The pragmatist in me favors a balanced approach: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, pontechango, Bush Bites

      reminding people of the dangers, looking for safeguards, without calling for outright bans... kind of like with guns.

      But I do think that it is very appropriate to fight against the expansion of gambling at the local level, and I applaud those who do so.

      For every penny the West gives in aid to Africa a 'counterpenny' is given to tear these cultures apart through war.

      by tecampbell on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:03:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  See my post below... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Elise

      ...opposition to gambling has cost the
      republicans significant support over the years...

      nothing wrong with gambling.. it's the world's second oldest profession...as long as its regulated, it should be fair game...

      Thanks,

      Mike

    •  Regardless (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, Neon Mama

      Even if it did help to gain Christian voters, would we really want that? I'm not really sure, because we already have the liberal Christian vote, and I'm not sure that I'd want the conservative Christian vote, since it would likely be nothing but trouble for us. Still yet, I'm in favor of some sort of action against gambling, merely because it hurts the poor.

      Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

      by rogun on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:28:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you seen Ohio? (0+ / 0-)

      We have our state lottery, but the last three times they got a gambling issue on the ballot they were voted down, every single time.

      We have neighboring states that have casinos, yet we resist.

      No more lies - IMPEACH!

      by Fabian on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:44:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lottery mentality (19+ / 0-)

    Not only has gambling swept the nation, but we have become a nation with a lottery fixation.  Everybody seems to think they are entitled to not just a good living, but a life of effortless luxury.  Houses are expected to double in value every few years.  Every businessman wants to be Larry Page.  Every lawsuit begins with a billion-dollar demand.

    I think it's some kind of sickness, arising from the fact that, for many people, a plain living from ordinary wages is no longer possible.  And the Republicans have fostered the lottery mentality by convincing the impoverished that they should support tax cuts for the rich because, heck, someday you too could be a millionaire!

  •  Doesn't just about every entertainment industry.. (8+ / 0-)

    ...move money from the poorer to the richer?  I pay upwards of $49 a pop for tickets to a baseball game where beer is $6 for 12 ounces and peanuts are $4.50 a bag.  Movie tickets near me are $10.50 for evening shows and $9 for matinees.  Gambling is another form of entertainment, and needs to be budgeted like it.  Come up with what you consider an acceptable amount to spend over a given period of time, and hold yourself to that budget.

    As to lotteries, I would point out that the Hope Scholarship program in Georgia is one of the most popular Democratic programs that state has ever seen, and it's entirely funded by lottery revenues.  I just don't see free college educations as a 'bad bet.'

    The American people are competent. Why shouldn't the government be competent? The people tell the truth. Why should our government lie? -Jimmy Carter

    by JR on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 10:59:42 PM PDT

    •  The difference is... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, darrelplant, Fabian, PsychoSavannah

      that if the Cardinals lose, I'm only out the $49.  If the dealer hits 21, I can be out another $50, and another $50.

      I know what you're saying about entertainment -- that's certainly the line that both the industry and the government take when promoting the idea.  I'm not even sure I disagree.  But it's made very easy to "overindulge."  

      However, how many states are proposing to fund their education systems based on baseball tickets?

  •  You have to be kidding (13+ / 0-)

    Your view point is paternalistic.  Please spare me being protected from playing poker online.  Democrats should support personal choice and freedom.  We should accept the futility of trying to control vices like gambling.  Gambling is not a cure all, nor is it a jobs program, but it is an activity that a consenting adult should be able to participate.  

  •  Excellent (9+ / 0-)

    I hate State run lotteries, for I tire of seeing people struggling to buy food always willing to spend a few precious dollars into the lottery, "just in case."

    I hate it.

    Until our government gets back to the business of serving the PEOPLE, rather than corporations (which is a problem at every level of government, and we all know it is), we will continue to be inundated with this hopeless bit bound to our collective jaw.

  •  I remember when (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    diplomatic, LordMike

    Kansas City proposed casinos in the nineties.  People screamed about crime addiction and prostitution.  Never happened.  

    I think job training programs would be more beneficial than casino jobs.  

    "Sometimes I wish I could change my nickname" Me

    by givemhellHarryR on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:00:33 PM PDT

    •  Gee... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I wish that would happen in Chicago. Daley has
      been shell-gaming taxes with TIF's so much, we
      don't have enough money coming in just to keep
      the basic services going, and he wants a City-owned
      casino.

      Why, oh why, can't we just attract a nice battery
      factory or three?

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight.

      by JeffW on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:17:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um, It's called "gaming." (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, MajorFlaw, tecampbell

    With the name change it doesn't sound half as bad.  No different than a trip to Disney World.

    "My candidate is going to SAVE THE WHOLE WORLD with his fart-powered car!" --Plutonium Page

    by Joelarama on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:01:12 PM PDT

  •  Oh come now DT (4+ / 0-)

    Your true agenda of keeping the Native American down is utterly transparent. ;-)

  •  It's like Nietzsche said... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melo, rogun

    ... Man would rather will nothing, than not will at all.

  •  You're right. It's wrong. (16+ / 0-)

    And I'm a gambler.  

    It's incredibly corrosive to have our government sponsoring self destructive (and yes, narcotic) behavior, in the form of casino gambling, and generating money in a such a super regressive fashion, simply because they don't want to raise tax the citizens who can truly afford it, and are benefitting most from government policies.

    It's a loser.  It's unethical.  And people interested in Democracy and Justice, have no business advocating it.

  •  Metaphor for the downfall of American culture (3+ / 0-)

    we'll gamble on anything except the shared burden of taxation funding wealth producing infrastructure.  Look up America in the dictionary and the synonyms include irony, stupidity, unrepentent greed, corruption, and overconsumption . . . to the point of death of a society.  IMHO.

    "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

    by rrheard on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:05:59 PM PDT

  •  I think many things can be said about gambling (7+ / 0-)

    and casinos...

    ...but the bottom line is, adults make their own choices.

    Prohibition didn't work.

    Criminalizing drugs has filled our prisons, destroyed countless families and drained our government coffers.

    What it comes down to is the old sixties saying, "You can't legislate morality."

    So, I say, let the casinos do what casinos do - and let the smart people avoid them.

    Otherwise, you just wind up with bookies and illegal gambling and the foundations for organized crime.

    Let's focus on getting back Habeus Corpus, stopping the insanity in Iraq and getting that chimpanzee out of the White House.

    Why do I think tinfoil hat makers are about to make a fortune?

    by moosely2006 on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:06:39 PM PDT

    •  We have 43 state lotteries (7+ / 0-)

      and half that many states already with casinos.  I dont care one whit about the morality of gambling.  I do care about replacing our tax system with a less than flat funding mechanism.

      •  I agree we should have a flat tax (0+ / 0-)

        and so did Mark Twain.

        But when you try to stop people from doing what they want to do, they'll do it anyway. Thus, Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

        The Rethugs might be framing casinos as replacing sections of our tax systems (especially in regards to what happened in CA, where the legislators immediately used school-slated money "replaced" by casinos for other things instead of letting that money augment school funding and programs), but the effort should be on earmarking gambling revenues toward specific programs - and not allow any replaced funding to go to other programs, thus making the benefit revenue neutral.  

        It's our business to watch where the money goes, not how it is brought in. Someone is going to make the casino money. It might as well be the government rather than private parties.

        We'll probably have to agree to disagree on this one, DT.

        Why do I think tinfoil hat makers are about to make a fortune?

        by moosely2006 on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:35:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gamblin issues hurt Republicans... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Elise, Bush Bites

    ...In 1998, we won the governorship and several seats in Georgia due to Republicans' opposition to the lottery...

    Last year, Republicans attacked a portion of the base that is generally very republican... poker players... they passed a bill essentially outlawing online poker... Considering that most, if not almost all, avid poker players are republican "libertarian" types, they really kicked some of their most loyal voters in the face...

    Novick called the ensuing voter backlash the "green velvet" revolution... republican poker players who campaigned for democrats as revenge...

    One easy way to get a bunch of votes is to simply allow regulated online gambling back...  We could gain a ton of potential republican voters with that one simple bill.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  •  Leave poker out of this. (8+ / 0-)

    Poker isn't gambling, it's a game of skill. Yes, there is luck involved, and on any given night, a bad player can beat a good player, but it definitely requires skill to be a winning poker player long-term. Games like craps, roulette, and slot machines are in an entirely different category than poker, in that they are based purely on chance. If you don't like poker, don't play. But leave those of us who enjoy it and are skilled at it to our game.

    The Constitution may not be perfect, but it's a lot better than what we've got!

    by buddhistMonkey on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:11:10 PM PDT

    •  If memorizing statistics is skill... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, pontechango

      But, in all seriousness, I agree. Poker stands out as one form of gambling that doesn't have an intrinsic house slant.

      All other craps, blackjack, roulette, slots, etc. all favor the house by a small percentage.

      If your idea of fun is memorizing very large statistics tables, then Poker is most certainly a game of skill. people who play blindly are going to lose.

    •  You are dead wrong (0+ / 0-)

      Poker is gambling.  I know because that's the only form of gambling I'm addicted to.

      http://www.campusprogress.org/...

      "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

      by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:51:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's "gambling" (0+ / 0-)

        because you lose at it? You jumped in to real money gambling with very little understanding or experience at the game. You'd fail at practicing oral surgery, operating a bulldozer, or even at playing tons of other games with that approach. In an individual game luck plays a significant part. You can get it all in with the best of it and still lose. When you lose again and again and again and again, you are not playing correctly.

        (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

        by TrueBlueDem on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:44:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and you are an insensitive jerk. (0+ / 0-)

          and explaining this matter to you makes no sense... You don't know what it's like to not be able to sleep, eat, or do much of anything because of a gambling addiction.  You don't know what it's like to have your life going perfectly fine and then have it shattered before your very eyes because the meaning of self-control means nothing to you.  How dare you tell me what it means to have an addiction.  You are missing a seriously huge sensitivity chip and I'm ashamed you are a Democrat.

          "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

          by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 08:06:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So because YOU are .... (0+ / 0-)

        a degenerate gambler, the rest of us who enjoy a game need to be punished. Tell it to your G.A. group.

        •  when the hell did I suggest banning?!!? (0+ / 0-)

          Omg seriously you are a huge, i'm not even going to say it.  grow a freaking soul.  All i said was the expansion of gambling institutions without thought of the ramifications is grossly irresponsible.  so because YOU are a degenerate reader I should have to explain myself to you?

          "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

          by laurenpatrizi on Thu Oct 18, 2007 at 08:55:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  lottery and 1984 (8+ / 0-)

    The lottery was a fairly important element in "1984" who's purpose was to separate the proles and their money.

  •  To a certain extent (5+ / 0-)

    regressivity is hard to avoid in a capitalist economy.  Any sort of "sin tax" and that's essentially what lotteries and taxes collected from gambling are, will be regressive taxes.  Gas taxes, cigarette taxes, liquor taxes, all of them disproportionately impact the poor.

    It's futile to try to eliminate all forms of regressivity.  The best that can be done is to mitigate it with highly progressive funding structures in other areas.

  •  I Certainly Haven't Done the Research (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Janet Strange, PsychoSavannah

    so perhaps I'm completely mistaken, but I've never discerned any real correlation whatsoever between state-sposored or -promoted gambling and Democrats or progressives in power.  Does the available data really support the proposition that this is in any way associated with Democrats?

    And whether it is or isn't, I don't know how we can effectively make an issue out of this without coming across as a bunch of elitists who want to regulate personal behavior because "we know what's good for you and have to stop you from your own bad habits."

    Personally, I wish we could unwind the presesnt situation and vastly diminish the prevalence of casinos and lotteries, but at this point, I doubt that government could readily be weaned off the gambling teat.  Lotteries are probablly the most pernicious in this regard, as they are most often sold/promoted as being a supplement to state aid to education, but the data on that definitely seems to be that once the state's share of the revenue begins to flow in, the rate of increase in education spending in the regular state budget decreases significantly (and sometimes, these "savings" have been passed back as a tax cut, which tends to make effective tax rates even more regressive).

    I just don't see how we can get out of this mess anymore, at least not in the near term, especially given federal court rulings regarding Native American gaming rights (i.e., casinos to be allowed in states that permit virtually any other form of legalized gambling, right down to scratch-off lotteries).  Thus, absent outright state bans, legislation probably wouldn't hold up in the courts, and the thought of a constitutional amendment brings up unhappy memories of Prohibition.  So I'm at a loss.

  •  Gambling is fun... (4+ / 0-)

    ...because of the rush.

    But I'm too responsible to go to casinos, I'm at the group of buddies playing cards level.

    There's something attractive about invincible ignorance... for the first 5 seconds.

    by MNPundit on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:15:45 PM PDT

  •  IF the casinos had to rely on people like me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherwoodB, MajorFlaw, debedb

    to make a profit, they'd close 'em all down.

    "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert

    by InsultComicDog on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:17:34 PM PDT

  •  the purpose of that machine (7+ / 0-)

    A casino is nothing but a very large machine, and the purpose of that machine it to extract money and bring it to the casino owners.  By its very nature, gambling cycles money from the poor to the rich.

    Very good observation, but is that not true of just about every company selling us the crap that we buy every day of our lives?  Computers, phone service, food, healthcare, and just about everything we ever see in tv ads?  It never stops.

    Hawkish on impeachment.

    by clyde on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:20:48 PM PDT

  •  I'm okay with gambling - (7+ / 0-)

    well, I'm okay with other people gambling if they want to. I don't do it. I think it's a waste of hard-earned money to be honest. I gambled at the slots at YKos in 2006 trying to win a car - I got to $6 and I hadn't won yet and I was bored and I realized that I could think of 20 more exciting ways to spend $6. That was enough gambling for me then. On my 21st birthday my friends took me to "the boat" (the very glittery one you're talking about there on the IL side of the Mississippi River, btw), and I spent $10 and got annoyed when I realized that that was like 1/5 of a pair of jeans or 1/7 of a pair of shoes or something like that. And I thought, "well, that was a waste of money!" - and demanded that we leave and go somewhere fun because it was my birthday and I wanted to dance instead of gamble. Dancing is free - and WAY more entertaining anyway!

    But yeah...I don't mind the gambling thing. I'm not interested in telling people what to do - and the taxes on gambling do help fund schools and more. I wish more people felt the way I did about gambling...but perhaps then it wouldn't be very popular :-)

    I will say that I don't think I'd call gambling "progressive" - or support for gambling "progressive" either. I think most of the time politicians see it as a practical way to bring in some extra money.

    I touched the Universe -- And back it slid -- and I alone -- A Speck upon a Ball -- Went out upon Circumference -- Beyond the Dip of Bell --

    by Elise on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:23:37 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, there is a cost of freedom... (5+ / 0-)

    And these are the costs. Some people will make bad choices, but they were the ones that could choose....

    And sure there's a psychological aspect to the whole shebang... but it's still not a basis for any sort of legislation prohibiting the entire practice.

    ESPECIALLY when it comes to poker, a game where it has been consistently proven that players of skill clearly profit while players without skill do not, with individual games being meaningless - poker is a LONG RUN "game" rather than a true "gamble."

    Anyway.

    That's me.

    -ig

    When the going get weird, the weird turn pro.

    by inspectorgadget on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:24:58 PM PDT

  •  Please excuse the snarkiness (5+ / 0-)

    but around this house we call the lottery a tax on people who can't do math.

    An indictment of both our education and revenue-generating systems.

  •  !! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah

    i've been occassionally musing with friends about how american society's 'philosophy' now is 'double or nothing'... 'DOUBLE OR NOTHING!! WHAT ARE YA, CHICKEN?? MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!!'

    appealing to the 'fuck you, i win' demographic... fume.  >:(

    'i believe we should only tax the stupid people... but then again, we already have the lottery.' - emo phillips

  •  This is backwards (19+ / 0-)

    The point is not that it is regressive. The point is the reason why it's regressive -- in other words, why do the poor gamble more? Not just because of the promise of the riches, but ultimately because of the belief that only a remote event can change the current dead-end circumstance. I think if you change that -- reduce the number of truly dead-end circumstances which push one to seek what seems as the only reachable escape, gambling is reduced to just another form of entertainment.

    And while we're at it, aren't TV and pro sports also enterprises that are (a) addictive and (b) funnel money from poor addicts to the rich providers? How about that...

    •  Great comment. (10+ / 0-)

      I absolutely agree...it's about changing the circumstances for people so that they aren't put in the position to feel like they have to gamble in order to win. Work should equal winning.

      I touched the Universe -- And back it slid -- and I alone -- A Speck upon a Ball -- Went out upon Circumference -- Beyond the Dip of Bell --

      by Elise on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:32:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise, MajorFlaw, StrayCat

        I don't care for gambling, but my parents like it -- but they don't really have any illusions about being able to buy Trump Tower tomorrow, they just like going there a couple times a year to chill out. Why not...

      •  When I taught elementary statistics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Elise

        one moonlit evening a week, & the subject of "expected values" came up, I'd have the class compute the expected value of various state lottery tickets. We'd come up with a value like -$0.85 for the million-dollar drawing: over a long period of time, other things being equal, you'd lose 85 cents of every dollar you spent on tickets.

        Then I'd ask, So should you buy a lottery ticket or not? I'd always get a chorus of No.

        But, I continued, I buy one every week. (I don't really, but that's more out of indolence & inconvenience than intent.) Why would I do that?

        (Occasionally some one in the back would shout, Because you're stupid? Always got a laugh, & no one laughed harder than me.)

        Look, I'd say, I make more than enough to cover my expenses. If I buy a lottery ticket and lose, how much am I going to miss that dollar? But what happens if against all the odds I win a million bucks? Among other things, I'd have enough to retire the very next day--in other words, it would change my life completely.

        At a certain level, the sudden influx of a sum of money can make a qualitative difference in a person's life. I'm willing to lose a buck a week in exchange for a chance at that sort of change.

        Of course a lot of folks who can't really afford that dollar a week buy lottery tickets too. But it's really for the same reason--winning $X million is the one measurable chance most of them have of "making it" in current society.

        That actually goes for lots of high-risk high-reward behavior. Even when government programs help to level the playing field for kids raised in poverty, what are their alternatives?

        * Work hard at school for 16 years & you qualify for a white-collar job where you'll work your butt off to afford to raise a family & buy a house & car & give your kids a decent start in life; or

        * Get rich quick by winning the lottery; or becoming the next Michael Jordan/Alex Rodriguez/Peyton Manning; or becoming a drug kingpin.

        We know how long the odds are against becoming a sports superstar...but when has that ever stopped a kid from dreaming, completely convinced that he's gonna be the one who beats the odds. And we know a drug dealer's life expectancy is pretty short, and there's lots of competition for the really lucrative positions. But hey, all teenagers think they're bulletproof, gonna live forever, & destined for that top slot...

        Part of the problem is that people have been conditioned by advertising over the last half-century to demand instant gratification (they can't sell it to you now unless you have to have it right now). Part is that economic markets that are "winner-take-all" (more accurately, "top-few-take-lion's-share") are becoming more & more prevalent throughout the society...

        May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

        by Uncle Cosmo on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:23:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is 100% correct. (9+ / 0-)

      Gambling isn't the problem, it acts as a focus to highlight the real issues in the society.

      I do not feel that the government should tell people not to gamble - I'm not certain that I like the idea of state sponsored gambling: scratchoffs and lotto - but in general, if someone wants to go to the Horse tracks and place a few wagers - I think that is a great time out.  An entire evening can be had, taking $20 bux and it isn't hard to just enjoy the excitement of watching your horse and the rush of choosing a winning longshot.

      But when people are doing it because they feel that there is no other option to "get out of" debt, trouble, dead-end - then they start seeing that $20 bux isn't gonna make them rich and they borrow against the next paycheck so they can wager $1,000.

      Flowers Bloom for my Ex - though Honeybees are pretty cool too.

      by Yoshi En Son on Tue Oct 16, 2007 at 11:43:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd much rather see (8+ / 0-)

    Democrats pushing for better pay for more math teachers so that they can teach people how to figure out the vig on a Hard Eight roll themselves. Then we can let people decide for themselves if they want to make sucker's bets or not.

  •  How refreshing dt, thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smintheus, PsychoSavannah, StrayCat

    It is an important subject that never get attention because it has so rapidly become the fabric of America. Insidious at best, destructive at its core. The poor lose, the rich win.

  •  Does Missouri still limit how much you can spend (0+ / 0-)

    on gambling? While it may not be the perfect answer, I always considered that better then nothing.

    Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

    by rogun on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:03:55 AM PDT

    •  Um, I don't know. (0+ / 0-)

      That sounds really hard to get a handle on. I mean, what's to stop someone from giving someone else money to bet? Heck, you could be dragging more people into gambling that way. No, I don't like that idea at all.

      •  I don't remember exactly how it works (0+ / 0-)

        but I believe they tracked every cent you spent in casinos and the casinos would cut you off when you hit the limit. The reason that others couldn't give you money is because you didn't use money, but purchased credit, instead.

        I probably have some of this wrong, because I only did it once many years ago and it may not even work that way any longer. I just remember it being quite a bit different then what I'd experienced elsewhere, although I haven't gambled in over a decade and may be wrong on that too now.

        Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

        by rogun on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 11:54:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  give them bread and circuses (8+ / 0-)

    gambling is the circuses and bread will be all they have to eat soon enough.

    Several studies have demonstrated that casino clientele are disproportionately poor and they frequently gamble "too much" while insisting they like it for various reasons.

    A study quite a while ago in Georgia found that the scholarships from the lottery money were mainly used by middle class children. That they were going to GA schools rather than going out of state. Very few were going to poor children. The conclusion was that the lottery acted to transfer wealth from the poor to the middle class.

    Getting tuition funds doesn't cut it when you have to support yourself. They don't know about all the financial aid, jobs etc because they aren't being groomed for college.

    I had a tax client who came to me for tax prep for years. She got caught up in it badly; her family had to take away her bank card and checkbook but she still managed to gamble.

    One year she came and happily told me how she had won a big prize -- $4,000 which the casino had withheld taxes from. She also had taken about $20,000 from her 403B (like a 401k 'cept for gov't jobs) because she really, really  needed it.  After I explained how bad that was and that she'd have to pay a 10% penalty on it plus how it was a dumb thing to do.

    Then I asked if she could back up her gambling spending because we could offset the winnings against the expense, she said she had most -- all the casino ATM receipts -- so I told her to go home and add them all up and phone me with the amount.

    Now she knew she had a gambling problem. But she was shocked and embarrassedly told me she had receipts for over $26,000 not including cash she brought. I pointed out that she could have bought a whole lot of fun for that $22,000 she had given away to the casino operators.  

    I hope to hell that cured her, but I lost track of her after that.

    Most people don't know how much they are spending and how badly they are hurting themselves.

    The biggest problem is winning, especially early on.  I bought a few tickets when they first went on sale for the heck of it, knowing I was throwing my money away and that only a small portion goes to the schools. First they take out expenses including rater lavish salaries for the high mucky mucks. Then what's left over gets split. Any way, I got a few $1 scratchers and low and behold I won $10 on the first. Who hoo. So I bought a few more . . .  But I bought just a few a week and only scratched one when I finished a block of work on my gd thesis.  And I would sit a daydream a bit about what I would spend it on -- so I was buying some day dreams in a time of stress.  got boring after a while.

    We have to stress that paying taxes are what you do for the privilege of being an American. It's the patriotic thing to do. Right after we start making America mean something besides torture, invading other countries, talking like a bullyboy and being scared of everyone who is not just like us.

    Long way to go.

    sam

    Do NOT donate to the DSCC or the DCCC, think Lieberman & BlueDogs. Support DNC and progressive candidates directly!

    by samddobermann on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 12:43:08 AM PDT

    •  Curse you samddobermann --for typing faster and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah

      using "free bread and circus" reference --- both firsterer and betterer than I.

      De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

      by Neon Mama on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:25:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I type extremely slowly; that took me a long time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peace voter

        However, I had been thinking "Bread and Circuses" forever while watching the gambling mania grow.

        We, in NM have lots of Indian Casinos. They are wildly popular because they do give lots of jobs to their tribe members who have had extremely high unemployment rates historically.

        A few tribes have been making great use of their money. Any Sandia Indian can go to any University or other school they can get into all expenses paid and they have worked to improve their lower schools and health care.  They also figured the craze would burn out in a decade or so so they should bank and build infrastructure. Smart cookies.

        Do NOT donate to the DSCC or the DCCC, think Lieberman & BlueDogs. Support DNC and progressive candidates directly!

        by samddobermann on Thu Oct 18, 2007 at 11:36:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gambling is "free bread" and tv "free circus" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, Cassandra Waites

    Keeps the hopelessly enslaved masses from rioting. It worked in Roman Empire for a while.

    It can't and doesn't bring in enough to run a state school system -- as they promise to get it passed. This lie then makes it harder to get school bond issues passed.

    St. Pete Times published good research on how state lotteries had harmed other states previous to Florida with this false promise. Showed it took about 10 years to get ugly.   This was the THIRD time lottery pushers came back at voters here-- after two rejections.  They won. Within the predicted 10 years -- it got ugly here too.

    There is NO FREE LUNCH. If you want educated populace, you have to collect taxes.  Bridges that don't fall down cost money. Education is cheaper than jails. Preventive medicine covered by S-CHIP is cheaper than drastic intensive care AFTER child's family is bankrupted enough to qualify for medicaid.

    Penny poker among friends is cool. State sponsored gambling sucks. Casinos are great for folks rich and connected enough to get license by donating to right politicians.

    The first few states got bigger cash due to lack of competition. States who do it now --- just make smaller pieces of the pie for all at the trough. Warning --this opinion is free unless routed thru Nigerian internets tubes.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 01:18:23 AM PDT

  •  Studies show that gambling has a negative impact (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smintheus

    on the economies of the communities where it infiltrates.

    Gambling should not be so widespread. I'm not going to say to shut all of it down, leave Vegas there for folks to have fun... bingo is fun for some people, but gambling is a disease that has spread too far now.

    They use greed to get into communities, saying that gambling will pay for schools, for services. That is BS.

    <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

    by bronte17 on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:17:11 AM PDT

    •  Guess I disagree with your arguments. (0+ / 0-)

      First, it will never be "just in Vegas." Even before Indian gaming, gambling was expanding rapidly.

      Second, just because the governments abuse the money that comes in doesn't make it a good case for stopping gambling.

      I mean, you could say the same thing about taxes too, but you don't want to stop taxing people because of the abuse, do you?

      •  I'm over in another diary right now (0+ / 0-)

        and so posted a quick opinion here.

        Check out Scholar Google for some research into the topic.

        <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

        by bronte17 on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:17:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't want to appeal to the Religious Right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karmafish

    That's not an argument that works for me.

    Frankly, one of the reasons I enjoy gambling is that it's opposed by the Religious Right.

    A liberal is a conservative who's been hugged.

    by raatz on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 02:28:59 AM PDT

    •  We need a "Jesus Casino" to really tick them off (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      melo, Karmafish, Neon Mama
      •  Great idea. For the really big bucks, patrons (0+ / 0-)

        must dress up as a "centurian" and "cast lots" at the foot of a big "cross."

        Ah the memories of my childhood protestant preachers railing against the "evils" of gambling, based on the above image.  Then they found out how much money the catholics were raking in with their bingo games and started their own which were "okay" since profits went to "good cause". Over the years various "charities" held "casino" or "Vegas" gambling nights with "play money."  Small step then to justify "state" gambling for a good "cause."

        I've sometimes wondered how much our "embargo" of Cuba had to do with Castro throwing out the mafia crews running casinos in Havana?  Keep the suckers on our shores?  Fleece our own flocks?  Can't you just smell the "family values"?

        De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

        by Neon Mama on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:08:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Devilstower, et al, (4+ / 0-)

    this is an interesting discussion.

    I live on the MS Gulf Coast where "dockside" gaming has been legal since 1989.  One of the first pieces of "recovery" legislation immediately after Hurricane Katrina was to allow the casinos to move their gaming facilities ashore 800 feet; previously, the gaming facilities had be be on the water, usually on a barge, while the rest (restaurants, parking, lodging, etc) could be located ashore.

    Even more interesting (from my perspective) is that the coastal county of Jackson (where I live) will be voting on a non-binding referendum this Nov concerning the Mississippi Choctaw Nation opening a casino on some land they own near the intersection of I-10 and Highway 57.  

    In both of these cases, justifications from opposition and support have been thrown about like you wouldn't believe.

    I would love to participate in this discussion today, but I will be unable to post from my work computer (I'm on a .mil account).  I will, however, be checking the comments throughout the day.

    v/r

    I had come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data.

    by TheBigKahuna on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 03:07:37 AM PDT

  •  Most Disgusting Lottery Ticket Ad (8+ / 0-)

    Here in Indiana, the Lottery Commission has been running one of the most disgusting lottery ads I  seen to date.

    A bunch of moronic Hoosiers are entertaining themselves by standing around in a parking lot in a circle scratching off lottery tickets, carrying on like it is a tupperware party on drugs.

    Yes, a perfect values system for the lower class workers. Get your check. Cash it for a stiff fee a the local check cashing store, because you have no credit or bank account.

    Then take that cash and go buy a stack of lottery tickets and stand there and scratch them off, laughing and smiling and happy because you just KNOW you are about to win a big jackpot you can retire on.

    And of course discover you now have no money left until your next payday. And there is no milk in the fridge for kids. And those tax credits for health insurance don't go a long way when you don't have any money to cover the expenses to begin with.

    Disgusting.

  •  I want us to lose our "nanny state" image. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueDem

    Gambling bans also tend to feed into the "nanny state" image that I hope to hell we start to lose.

    It's not helping us to tell people we're doing this and that for people's "own good."

    They still resent it and vote for the Repubs just to spite us.

    •  For the most part, we have no idea (0+ / 0-)

      what is in somebody's "best interests". It makes me so angry to see that bullshit phrase thrown around here so often. Some dude sitting behind a computer thousands of miles away knows exactly how everyone should live. Right. It smacks of arrogance and delusion.

      (-2.38, -3.28) Independent thinker

      by TrueBlueDem on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:55:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The jackpot mentality (7+ / 0-)

    I agree with this post completely, and I think it's one sign of the times.

    We've gone from a society that rewarded hard and smart work for all income classes, to one in which nearly all the rewards go to the top.  How do people reconcile this situation?  By developing the "jackpot mentality".

    This is what the American Dream has come to under right-wing ideology.

    •  That Hits the Nail on the Head (0+ / 0-)

      Rather than the American dream including working at becoming good at what one does, investing, perhaps going into business for oneself and reaping the rewards , the new American dream is to win the lottery and be set for life.

      I don't like referencing the Bible much, but two stories in there (at least) bear on this attitude.  First, of course, the Garden of Eden - where after gaining the knowledge of good and evil, it became their responsibility to work for a living.  Then, Jesus admonished his followers not to pay too much attention to laying up treasures because where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also.

      So the message is that humans should pull their own weight, work for a living, and not be blinded to the good by their drive to amass wealth.  And somewhere in there, there is something about being honest and not stealing or lying or cheating.

      The Lottery, and other gambling, reverses that by nurturing the dream of something for nothing and creating a condition where the winner will live off of the efforts of others.

  •  Lotteries are the worse (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, StrayCat, Neon Mama

    My friends calls Lotteries "Volunteer Taxes" and his right

    the fact is the poor buy a majority of the lottery tickets

    this money is suppose to go to schools but as the NY Times recently noted

    For years, those states have heard complaints that not enough of their lottery revenue is used for education. Now, a New York Times examination of lottery documents, as well as interviews with lottery administrators and analysts, finds that lotteries accounted for less than 1 percent to 5 percent of the total revenue for K-12 education last year in the states that use this money for schools.

    In reality, most of the money raised by lotteries is used simply to sustain the games themselves, including marketing, prizes and vendor commissions. And as lotteries compete for a small number of core players and try to persuade occasional customers to play more, nearly every state has increased, or is considering increasing, the size of its prizes — further shrinking the percentage of each dollar going to education and other programs

    Not only is the lottery not giving a large percentage of the revenue but the money it is giving is now REPLACING not adding to education budgets -- in others words states are abdicating their budgetary responsiblities to fund education and replacing it with lottery money -- this is not the promise of what the  lottery was suppose to do.

    •  That is exactly what California's experience has (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      been 24 years after the lotto was initiated.  Now Schwarzenegger wants the lotto to be run privately and the proceeds to go toward his universal health care plan.

      There is a lot of concern that betting (pun intentional) on the proceeds of the lotto as a predictable and consistent revenue stream is a bad one and the health care plan will eventually have to find another source of funds as the schools have had to do.

  •  Compulsive Gamblers Are Being Created (6+ / 0-)

    I've been involved with Gambler's Anonymous and I've personally seen dozens of people whose lives have nearly been destroyed by gambling.  And there are thousands more out there.  The lucky ones make it into the program and find improvement, but it's a long and ongoing struggle, and relapses are common.

    There's a particular mindset that is vulnerable, and they can't just "turn it off".  

    To emphasize the chemical or biological, I'll tell you that there's a drug for Parkinson's disease and Restless Leg Syndrome that has a potential side effect of causing people to become compulsive gamblers.  I saw a 50-year-old man who lost his house after taking this medication.

    Gambling is a plague.  It's an illness.  It's depressing to see it grow like this.  It's another bullet in the gun of our suicide culture.

    Poor me, I dig myself holes! Somebody marry me, I'm getting old! -- Sole

    by MediaRevolution on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:22:12 AM PDT

    •  After reading the first (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MediaRevolution

      bit of Devilstowers list of "downsides" to gambling, I was waiting for the "creating compulsive gamblers" bit.

      I have had quite a few discussions with a relative of mine. She is a (self-proclaimed) addict, and strongly in favor of prohibition - be it alcohol, nicotine (!), cannabis, other drugs - or gambling. I will call all these "X" below.

      I have often been arguing the case for the other side - my main arguments being:

      - Personal freedom - I REALLY don't want the government to tell me what to do, as long as I am not harming others. - Detachment from organized crime. - Possibility of government control (safety of drugs, "fairness" of games). - Possibility of taxation, with revenues being (partially) used to fund addiction programs and educational campaigns.

      My relative, on the other hand, argues that:

      - Prohibition would help her, and some other addicts she knows  - the fact that X is legal/socially accepted means there is a lesser barrier to using it. - Society should legislate from the perspective of protecting its weaker members, not from allowing "more freedom" for the stronger ones.

      I am far from convinced by her arguments - but I do think she has a point.

      The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

      by Lesser Dane on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:14:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not prohibition necessarily...but gambling kills (0+ / 0-)

        But some serious awareness of the problem would be great.  We certainly should be avoiding state-sponsored gambling like lotteries, and the government shouldn't be going out of its way to advocate for more gambling.

        From Canada's Safety Council:

        Suicide attempts among pathological gamblers are much more frequent than among the general population.

        Suicide attempts are more common with pathological gambling than with any other addiction.

        In a Quebec study of college students, 26.8 percent of pathological gamblers had attempted suicide, compared to 7.2 percent of college students who had no gambling problem.

        A survey of Gamblers Anonymous members in the United States found that 48 percent had considered suicide and 13 percent had attempted it.

        Poor me, I dig myself holes! Somebody marry me, I'm getting old! -- Sole

        by MediaRevolution on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:49:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If you read my post below.. i am a gambling addic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MediaRevolution, Neon Mama

      You have no idea what it's doing to my generation!! I'm 22.. and everyone i know gambles... las vegas is more of a destination of choice now over cancun. It is out of control.. I'm not saying ban it, but the expansion needs to stop!!

      "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

      by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:47:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nanny state vs personal responsibility (3+ / 0-)

    I'm not taking a stand here, just genuinely seeking an understanding.

    Am I the only one who sees a parallel between the gambling issue and the sub-prime mortgage issue? In both cases, people were led by institutional entities to do unwise things with their personal finances. On the one hand, you feel that people should have the personal freedom to make these choices; on the other hand you feel that people should be protected from being preyed on.

    And if people do make unwise choices, we as democrats often feel that they should be "rescued" rather than hung out to dry and suffer the consequences.

    So does that mean that if we promote gambling through state action, that we will also have the responsibility to rescue people who lose their assets through the unwise actions of themselves or their close relatives?

    Or do we say that was their choice and so be it?

    I can see the conservation viewpoint, too. They say look at two people with the same income. One is prudent and purchases a small house because he looks at adjustable rate mortgages and considers the consequences if the rate goes up. The other buys a big house because he is not prudent and is enticed by the bankers to buy more than he can really afford. Now we want to help the guy in trouble hang onto his big house while the guy who was prudent is still stuck living in his little house. This doesn't seem fair.

    Somehow, I feel there's a difference between the person who over-extended his mortgage because it was the only way to get a place to live, and the guy who bought way more than he should have because he was greedy. But how to make this distinction when dealing with a bailout?

    I am not trying to be provocative here - just expressing the thoughts I have had when trying to consider the morality of these issues.

    I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

    by lesliet on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:28:42 AM PDT

  •  Go to Clusterf*ck Nation (4+ / 0-)

    by James Howard Kunstler to get a similar take on gambling.  There is no hope for a nation that sees gambling as a budgetary savior.

  •  Americans are brought up like that (0+ / 0-)

    People think that some day they will be able to earn a million dollars (or win it) or they will be the next Ameican Idol, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, or Brittany Spears.  It's what keeps the people from complaining too much about the inequities built into a free market economy.  People have been told that if they play their cards right, if they go to college, if they work hard, they too can live the American dream.  But of course, that never does happen for the vast majority of people.  

    * 3827 * http://icasualties.org/oif/

    by BDA in VA on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 04:40:56 AM PDT

  •  Chicago deserves a casino (0+ / 0-)

    I find gambling a total bore, but millions of people enjoy it and it's time for Chicago to get their piece of the profitable pie.  Why should we continue to export that revenue to Indiana?

    •  if you like our clean city (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neon Mama

      i would suggest gambling is not a good idea.. and the homeless population is about to get a lot worse if we put a casino in chicago..  Don't cheapen our city with a casino!

      "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

      by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:45:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where do you live? (0+ / 0-)

        I live in Uptown, which I wouldn't call "clean," but I would call the epicenter of the homeless problem in Chicago.  My opinion, after decades of observation, is that homelessness is not caused by gambling debts.  Temporary homelessness perhaps, but entrenched homelessness is caused by drugs, alcohol and sheer laziness.  I see no link between homelessness and gambling.
        Estimates are that a Chicago casino would generate $2 billion/year in revenue.  That's enough dough to help any homeless person that wants help, plus enough to fix the CTA.
        People in Chicago that want to gamble already do.  Now, however, they go to Indiana.  What's wrong with keeping those revenues here?

        •  You may not "see" a link, but studies do. (0+ / 0-)

          I'd send you most of the links but there is a block on my computer to gambling-related sites.

          http://www.highbeam.com/...

          I live in Lakeview, where there is an ample amount of homeless people.

          There is a sufficient link between gambling and homelessness. just do a google search.

          I take the CTA everyday, thankfully  now I'm still on ym UPass.. However, i will be graduating in less than a year.  I will sooner pay the doomsday prices than have a casino in chicago.  There's a reason why the shuttles to Indiana casinos are free and go after the poor.

          "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

          by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 08:12:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Shell shocked victims (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smintheus, Minerva, SherwoodB, Neon Mama, JeffW

    I will never forget the visual of walking into my first casino. It was Foxwoods in Connecticut. I was being a good sport by accompanying my much more excited wife. As we walked through the parking garage towards the entrance, the folks around us were chipper and festive.  This was in stark contrast to the stream of folks coming OUT of the casino. Every single one (and I mean EVERY one) looked either shell shocked, depressed, or just distracted; Obviously from getting their pockets picked clean. What kind of "entertainment" leaves people feeling worse after they participate in it?  Oh, wait, I know. The answer is "an addiction." (The alternate answer is "Being a Cubs fan", but I digress)

    Gambling is not the answer to any question, other than "is there a faster way of wasting money than flushing it down the toilet?".

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, then what do humanitarians eat?

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:37:30 AM PDT

  •  Invstigative Reporting... (0+ / 0-)

    in America has brought down many many regessive ideas in the public mind, from Slavery to Food Safey to Unjust War. The list is endless, and that is where we must begin to dismantle Gambling Nation. It is a tough nut to crack, since many "religions" from Native American rituals to Catholic bingo sanction some form of gambling, but I have the idea that enough reporters typing constantly in an unlimited amount of time will turn the tide on the rosy glow of America's gamblng addiction.

    Let's find and post some recent feature stories of lives ruined, families split, children harmed, income lost, the American Dream twisted, and mental health compromised. It wont be that hard to find.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 05:44:58 AM PDT

  •  North Carolina Lottery (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Devilstower, Neon Mama, JeffW

    This is a very important diary.  In my state of NC, the legislature sneaked in a lottery vote with some tricks "to fund education".  They are mostly "pro-business", and they used the argument that our neighboring states have them and we were losing potential money form our residents who cross the border.  They promised some huge return to the state coffers.

    Many of our progressives were aligned with the Fundies against it, but it still got sneaked through.

    The Governor then played some shell games and reallocated some education funding since the lottery would bring in the money.

    Now the state recently reported that we are not going to get anywhere near the anticipated revenue.

  •  Gambling is Not Economic Development (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    Short version: Gambling was promoted across the nation as a method of economic development.  But in reality, gambling takes money from gamblers and gives it to the game operators.  There are, of course, inducements such as intermittent payouts.  And there are jobs created, but those jobs produce nothing anyone can use to feed, cloth or  house themselves.

    Nothing is added to the economy.

  •  I like to gamble (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueDem, GoldnI, Neon Mama

    I do it sparingly and for amusement only.  Be it the nickel slots or video poker or just a kitchen card game with friends, it's an enjoyable pasttime for me.  The fact that some people can't control themselves with it is a shame, and I hope those people get help--but really, I don't see why their problem should interfere with the fundamental rights of myself and others to enjoy an activity that, in and of itself, causes no harm.

    By all means, I don't think government should be in bed with gambling outfits.  Funding schools with state-run lotteries is of dubious merit, and I'd much rather see those funds come from elsewhere.  But in the face of massive shortfalls in budgets, can we blame them?  It's easy to call it short-sighted when you're sitting on the outside and aren't one of these officials who is under enormous pressure to find money from somewhere.  As another commenter said above, we need to treat the disease, not the symptoms.

    Gambling, whether online or in casinos, is enormously popular.  Democrats would be suicidal to come out in opposition to something like that.  Moreso, it would simply be wrong for the Dems to stick their noses into people's pasttimes.  It would play right into the old canard that the Dems want a nanny state.  I'm all for curbing the tax breaks for casinos and the like, but prohibition would be a horrible idea.

    I finally put in a signature!

    by Boris Godunov on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:34:11 AM PDT

  •  On Point (0+ / 0-)

    is the best show on radio -- Tom Ashbrooke is an excellent, fair and very smart host, and Jack Beatty is a great, liberal commenter (who, based on his comments, reads the blogs regularly).

    The Democratic Message: Security, Privacy, Justice

    by Upper West on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:35:09 AM PDT

  •  A very interesting question... (0+ / 0-)

    Could Democrats snag more of the Christian vote by opposing gambling in favor of fairer taxes?

    I'd bet the answer is no, that cutting their masters' top marginal income/estate/inheritance/capital gains tax rates trump all else.

  •  BINGO! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    Not only is the lottery not giving a large percentage of the revenue but the money it is giving is now REPLACING not adding to education budgets -- in others words states are abdicating their budgetary responsiblities to fund education and replacing it with lottery money -- this is not the promise of what the lottery was suppose to do.

    This is what has happened and is happening in Oklahoma.  As stated, this is not what was promised.

  •  Gambling is entertainment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoldnI, MichiganGirl

    And isn't "the rich benefiting from the poor" any more than people selling alcohol, or fast food, or anything that might not be in the best interest of your health.

    I don't disagree with the idea that gambling still causes some problems. But crusading against gambling as a whole is a mistake. Much smarter to focus on a narrow aspect of gambling and target it.

    there are only two sides -- with the troops or with the President

    by danthrax on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:42:48 AM PDT

  •  You're last point is key (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    I remember my last months in Belgrade saw new casinos popping up and explained to my wife that this was a bad economic sign.  Casinos cater to those looking for their break, which everyone gets every now and then.  But, this is looking for a big break, i.e., "I've got a few pennies left in my pocket, a couple hundred on my credit card, no prospects professionally, and if something doesn't happen soon, I'll be dead financially.  Might as well go down in style and take my chances.  If I fail, I am in no worse a situation.  If I succeed, I'll be better off."

    It is often a last ditch hope for those who are in proximity, i.e., despite cheap tickets and hotels and meals, Las Vegas won't draw those looking for one last chance.  If it's a couple hours' drive, that's doable.  The more the casinos pop up, the more they will draw in, and they usually locate in places where those down on their luck live/ congregate, e.g., rural areas, Atlantic City.  When you see them encroaching on the suburbs, then you'll know we are in trouble because it means the owners smell the desperation.

    Give me ten lines from a good man and I'll find something in there to hang him. - Cardinal Richelieu

    by lgrooney on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 06:56:56 AM PDT

  •  One of the worst things about gambling (0+ / 0-)

    Is how it spreads like some kind of disease from state to state.
    As a hypothetical, let's say pennsylvania doesn't have a lottery but New Jersey does.  A whole lot of people from Philadelphia are going to start going across the Delaware River to buy lottery tickets, thus draining money from Pennsylvania into New Jersey.  Pennsylvania then has to start its own lottery, just to keep from losing revenue, even if Pennsylvanians don't really want a lottery.
    I would love to see some kind of law passed saying that you have to live in a state to play its lottery.  I don't know what kind of problems there would be in doing that, but I'd love to see it happen.  That way, states could choose not to have lotteries and not worry about whether their neighbors have them or not.

  •  It's Just One Symptom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    We're at the point now where gambling isn't just accepted, it's worshiped.  

    What is really worshiped is Mammon, Money, Conspicuous Consumption. Not to be Puritanical about it, but pretty much everything in our society is geared to more, more, more, latest and greatest, here's the new stimulus du jour, and don't pay attention to the Man Behind the Curtain who's picking your pocket (unless you want to be Just Like Him!)The American ethnic is less and less about cooperation (although that's sometimes trotted out as a cover story)and more about competition: 'I got mine, screw you, buddy.'

    Was the guy's name Reverend Ike who preached that LACK of money was the root of all evil, and he'd sell you prayer cloths to rub on your forehead?

    Gambling is just another gimmick, not a financial plan.

  •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    I have long been opposed to gambling- I don't care if revenues pay for education or universal health care or even a complete and total withdrawl from Iraq... it is a REGRESSIVE tax, period.  And progressives are suckers for going along.

    As far as the libertarian in me- it ain't libertarian to be for laws that allow Harrah's, etc. to run gambling enterprises but barr me from running a pokeer game in my basement.  Its all or nothing.

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 07:26:33 AM PDT

  •  have you folks ever been in a casino? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueDem, GoldnI

    I guess the crowds of people in there are just wrong.  Shame on them for being so stupid

    The Democratic folly:  WE know best what YOU should be doing and what activities you must enjoy.  Go read a book.  Or a blog...

    •  Hi pitbull, (0+ / 0-)

      My experiences in casinos is that when I look around, I am amazed by how few people are actually smiling. You know, that thing that happens to your face when you are enjoying yourself. I think may of the people here at Kos have a point that addiction drives the gambling industry as much as entertainment does. It is a tough call. Nobody wants to tell people what they can and can't do.  Having said that, how would you feel about legalized brothels and opium dens? I wouldn't imagine it to be beneficial to society. Peace.

      If vegetarians eat vegetables, then what do humanitarians eat?

      by bigtimecynic on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 10:40:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  all this says to me is that (0+ / 0-)

    if a state government is not committed enough to raise revenues in a fiscally and morally sound fashion for important education and social service programs, they don't believe these programs are important enough to fund in the first place. And shame on Governor O'Malley here in Maryland also for trying to bring more gambling into our state. The City of Detroit put casinos all over the place and the downtown area still looks like Gotham City - it has does nothing to help that city recover economically. The Gamblers Anonymous website describes gambling not as glamorous and exciting, but as "one of the most baffling, insidious, compulsive addictions" there are. It is a progressive illness that only gets worse (MUCH worse) over time, never better. The Democratic Party needs to stop supporting these gambling expansion initiatives now. These initiatives don't solve economic problems and they spread nothing but more misery wherever they go.

  •  gambling a losing battle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    just like gambling more often than not leads to big losses for the gambler, fighting against it is a losing battle for democrats. the christian right goes from church on sunday to the indian reservation on monday, and I don't mean to do volunteer work.

  •  I'm pro-gambling and progressive... (0+ / 0-)

    I think we should have MORE casinos and MORE opportunities to gamble.  Why should the government tell me how to spend MY money?  It's mine - I earned it, and I should be able to spend it however I please as long as I don't hurt anyone else.  

    Gambling taxes are different from most other taxes (income, sales, property, payroll) because it is voluntary.  You only pay if you play.  So, who cares if it is regressive?  People are voluntarily giving their money to the government.  That's good, and better than other types of taxes (although those are also necessary).

    •  Swap (0+ / 0-)

      It hurts because it's used to increase state income without actually raising taxes. Lotteries and state-run gambling have generally been used as attempts to capture shore up revenue streams that are insufficient to pay for education, economic development, etc. without having to push through an unpopular increase in income or some other type of tax. "Let the gamblers pay it," say people who don't gamble who aren't touched at all for services they still use.

      It's also a horribly inefficient method of revenue collection. Any revenue raised through gambling typically has to pay a large percentage to the "house". In the case of lottery tickets, for instance, the store or bar selling them gets a cut of every dollar.

      I certainly don't have a problem with people gambling. But it's not an equitable, efficient method of raising revenue. It's just politically easier, because the people who don't deign to participate in state-sponsored gambling and can go to a private casino to gamble will support anything that doesn't raise their taxes.

      I think there will be a staggering loss of human life out of all proportion to the stakes involved... Sen. George McGovern, March 1965

      by darrelplant on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems in PA adore gambling (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks to the abysmal leadership of Ed Rendell. One of his deputies, Don Cunningham, ran recently for Lehigh County Executive and was seeking support from activists. I emailed his campaign Chair to ask where Cunningham stood on gambling (Bethlehem and Allentown were both angling for new slots parlors at the time), which I view as regressive taxation and highly destructive to society.

    In response, I got the most sleazy, unprincipled, gushing praise of all things related to "gaming" (they refused to use the word "gambling", however many times I pointed out that "gaming" means to "manipulate illicitly", as in "gaming the system").

    My response was that Cunningham is a disgrace to the Party, and there's no way in hell I'd support somebody who proposes to fuel gambling addictions.

  •  Addictive personalities. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cdreid

    Gambling, drugs, alcohol, fundamentalism, Bushism, it's all the same. Whatever they get into, they abuse due to underlying psychological problems. Limit the activities, regulate, and tax the hell out of them and use the revenue to treat the addicts.

    Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
    --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

    by dallasdave on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:32:30 AM PDT

    •  "the addicts" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid, MajorFlaw

      you know we're human beings..you say it so nonchalantly.

      "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

      by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:43:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure what to make of this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cdreid

      It's a funny little post.

      I have an addictive personality.  I sometimes get addicted to activism and to reading stuff on dailykos, for example.  So I supposed it's possible to get addicted to Bushism.

      I'm trying to imagine taxing the hell out of Bushism and using the revenue to treat the addicts.  :-)

      Poor me, I dig myself holes! Somebody marry me, I'm getting old! -- Sole

      by MediaRevolution on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:57:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a gambling addict (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MediaRevolution, Neon Mama

    http://www.campusprogress.org/...

    And when the government thinks it's "okay" to tax my addiction and my personal trauma, i find it repulsive.  People can do what they want, but when they see the true and horrible suffering of people like me as a legitimate source of revenue I get fired up.  

    I don't have an addiction problem in casinos, I've actually never been in a casino. I had a problem online that I need to forever stay away from.  Gambling is huge now and just because that's a huge trend doesn't mean we should bankrupt some of the most vulnerable among us to fund the government.

    Seriously it is inherently anti-progressive to fund things off the back of poor people.

    Oh and one more thing... let's legalize pot and tax it.  Oh wait, "that's addictive and evil".  Whatever.  Gambling is a bajillion times more insidious than marijuana.

    "He keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." --Jon Stewart

    by laurenpatrizi on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 09:41:20 AM PDT

  •  Ironically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    it has always been grass roots morality/religious movements that banned or limited gambling. Of course it is in reality an addictive tax on the poor something like smoking. Extremely regressive. Its' too bad the right has managed to con the religious into following its false prophets into everything Christ was against in the name of "family values". So were the left to come out against gambling it would be the false prophets of the fundamentalist churches fighting to the death for gambling.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever TJ

    by cdreid on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 10:18:36 AM PDT

  •  S-CHIP funding flaw (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    In all the celebration of S-CHIP expansion, we lost sight of a funding downside; that monies come from increases in the tobacco tax. If we are all concerned about the effects of gambling on the poor, shouldn't we all be championing a different funding mechanism for S-CHIP expansion? Smoking is an addiction just like gambling.  Then again, there is a direct correlation between smoking and the need for health care, so maybe there is more justice in that than I initially realized.  Damn!  I hate arguing with myself!

    If vegetarians eat vegetables, then what do humanitarians eat?

    by bigtimecynic on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 10:33:33 AM PDT

  •  I can live with state lottereies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carver

    GA's funds universal Pre-K and also provides scholarships for any kid with B average.  If you graduated  with less than a B, you can still qualify by pulling a B average in your first 30 credits. That helps a LOT of working poor kids who don't qualify for Head Start and who otherwise wouldn't do Pre-K, which means starting a rung behind others.  It means more kids going to college and tech schools, which I also think is good. My husband's VA ran out and without the scholarship, we'd be screwed.

    The only other way to do this is raising taxes, whcih the state Repubs won't do, which means two excellent programs would disappear. I'll live with the regressive nature of the lottery because the good outweights the bad.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 11:30:33 AM PDT

  •  Personally, I don’t care one way or the ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    ...other about gambling because I don’t gamble.  However, I do recognize it as a potential danger to those with an additive personality and that it is a tax on those who can least afford it.  I don’t believe in prohibition as it rarely works and is an infringement on personal choice.
    Some ways I would address the issue (if I was the dictator) are: (1) increase the taxes on the gambling industry as they do not produce a taxable product. (2) Stop advertising state (or multi-state) lotteries, this would include eliminating the monthly gimmickry of lottery tickets which contributes to the cost of administering the operation. (3) Change the payoff from one huge payoff to ten or twenty equal payoffs (rather than a 3 million dollar winner have 10 $300,000 winners)  (4) Require state budgeting be based on revenues from non-gambling sources, reserving lottery and casino taxes for supplementing budgets, paying for unfunded Federal mandates (NCLB) and emergencies.    

    The only shame in ignorance is taking pride in it.

    by carver on Wed Oct 17, 2007 at 11:54:02 AM PDT

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