A shell game
Kudos to the Trib for pointing out the NFL's hypocrisy in prohibiting players from having any interest in a gambling enterprise, while ignoring the fact that team owners like the Rooneys own racetracks. The issue has come up because Steelers running back Jerome Bettis has been lobbying on behalf of a proposed racetrack and slots parlor. (I seem to recall that Art Rooney founded the Steelers with gambling winnings.)
The NFL, understandably, wants to prevent players from betting on sports or being associated with sports betting. But as the Trib's editorial points out, the slots parlors will not include sports gambling.
Speaking of gambling, the Trib also tells us today that the members of the state's Gaming Control Board, which will regulate the state's slots parlors, will be allowed to own interests in said slots parlors. Excuse me? How do I get named to this board? What's more, state legislators, who worked doggedly to pass slots legislation, are allowed to own up to a 1 percent stake in a company with a slots license.
Now I understand how this all works. State legislators minimize opposition to slots by promising that the state tax revenues they generate will go to property tax relief. In order for the slots to generate those funds, millions of Pennsylvanians will have to gamble away their hard-earned money, probably negating their much-hyped tax break. And at the end of the day, this money ends up in the pockets of state legislators and their hand-picked appointees to the Gaming Control Board. (Legislative leaders appoint four of seven members; the governor picks three.) You have to admire the sheer audacity of it all.