Saturday, January 9, 2010


Legalizing Poker and Blackjack Today, Marijuana Tomorrow?

CNBC reports:
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania legalized poker, blackjack and other table games at slots casinos Thursday, upping the ante in the increasingly fierce competition among states for gamblers' money.
It may be more than six months before the first cards are dealt, but millions in license fees are expected to begin pouring into the state treasury much sooner.

The table games bill was a critical component of the October deal that ended Pennsylvania's 101-day budget stalemate, and came about largely because other means of raising tax revenues proved politically unpalatable.

The new law is the latest attempt by recession-slammed state governments to fill budgetary holes with gambling revenue.

Indiana is considering allowing riverboat casinos on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River. In November, Ohio voters passed a ballot measure to put casinos in four cities. Kentucky's governor wants slots or table games at racetracks and Chicago plans a new casino.

Closer to Pennsylvania, Delaware recently began allowing parlay betting on sports at its racetrack casinos, and a new report says it may have to add two casinos to keep pace with neighboring states.

Last month, voters approved table games for a horse track in Charles Town, W.Va.

And Maryland voters have approved up to 15,000 slot machines in five areas, although progress on implementing gambling there has so far been slow.

"I see it as a border war more than a national picture," said University of Nevada-Las Vegas professor Bill Thompson, an expert on the gambling industry. "It is the gambling war of today — three years from now it might be something else."
I wonder what that could be? Hmm what if people are really really mad in about 3 years, the economy is still awful, states are all up to their eyeballs in deficits, and young people--for whom the unemployment rate might be 50% or higher in some demographics--are getting ready to riot?

Is there some way the people in charge could get everyone to chill out?

I'm drawing a blank.

It remains to be seen whether this is evidence of the good kind of competition (ie. lower costs, more choices, etc) or a perverse sort where States are just trying to establish another method to extort their citizenry through stupid hugely minus expected value games (ie. lottery, roulette wheels with more than one green, huge rake/hourly "seating fee" at the poker tables, etc).

If the latter is the case, then the internet will still be king, at least for me. I play online poker and the convenience and value vastly trumps anything any midwestern brick and mortar casinos can offer. I have a "rakeback" arrangement where the site remits a portion of my rake (the small % up to a specifc amount, usually $3, that the online site takes out of every pot) back to me every Friday.

Hopefully this doesn't lead to further calls to stamp out online gambling considering it is so much more convenient and has a massively lower cost structure than real life games. But I won't hold my breath.
The historical method has been to send them into foreign lands to rape and pillage.

I don't know what the modern equivalent will be.
It sounds like the only basis on which states would consider legalizing these horrible, horrible, human activities like gambling is if license fees begin pouring into the state treasury. That's really the only issue: as opacity wrote, extort their citizenry.
If they don't want civil unrest, why don't they stop provoking us?
Of course it's about money for the government. That's why I think they'll legalize pot and tax the heck out of it. Young people will vote for Obama if he legalizes pot even if they've been unemployed for 4 years.
Unemployment is 50% for blacks without a high school diploma.
Legalized pot is most likely going to be on the ballot in California in 2010. (They claim to already have enough signatures.)

Also: the suckage of being long-term unemployed is worse than the awesomeness of marijuana. Fact.
Bob, love your site. Seriously, how can Obama legalize pot? He can't close one prison. He can't lever sunshine into healthcare hearings. He cancelled stimulus 3 long ago. Assuming kids have wanted pot legal since the 70s or so, what has changed? What will Obama do that the young now want? Stop war? Produce jobs? School loans? Make them give up 15% more income for insurance?

Legalizing/taxing makes sense, but Obama probably can't handle a change that big. Just sayin'.

Best wishes from Kansas!
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