Saturday, February 05, 2005

The house always wins

Dennis Roddy travels to West Virginia's Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort to see what the future holds for Pennsylvania:

The criticism of slot machines, which are also credited with saving West Virginia's horse racing industry by drawing new marks to the casinos and the adjacent tracks, is that they drain money from people who could better spend it on things like washers, dryers, cars, groceries, mortgages and medicine.

"A lot of people get hurt here, my friend," Poulos said. He told of a banker pal who took all of two years to extinguish his pension savings.

At the same time, Hancock County's economy wasn't exactly building new pensions at the time MTR Gaming Group turned 342 racetrack jobs into 1,700 casino positions.

It's not gambling I have a problem with. I've done it myself. It's gambling as an economic development strategy and vehicle for tax "reform" that gives me pause.


Blogger fester said...

Agreed, it is not gambling that I disagree with, as I have been known to loose two sodas worth of nickels playing the slots while cruising to the Bahamas, it is the dishonesty with which it is sold. I have massive doubts that Pennsylvania will have a per-machine take that is higher than Vegas, I have massive doubts that there will be billions (yes an exaggeration) of new high paying cost-free jobs will be created, I have massive doubts that there will not be an expansion of the problem gambler population etc. Yet, these assumptions are made in justifying the PA bill, and we will see these hopes dashed, with a public policy response of doing more of something stupid for if we cloud harder and louder, it will work goddamn it.

7:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As my nom de blog implies, as I travel around the country being a software ronin, I play poker at casinos as I visit new areas, and collect poker chips as memorabilia. Not counting Vegas, I have been to about 100 casinos from NJ, to NM, from Foxwoods to Artichoke Joe's in Reno.

Ya, I see alot of people that actually believe they have some sort of metaphysically right to be luckier than the next guy. I count on these people to give me a small long run profit at poker. I have run into a lot of people with gambling problems, amoung other things, but I defend an individual's right to be personally stupid, and think Big Brother should butt out.

If gambling insured economic development, then Atlantic City would be the garden spot in the garden state. In fact, I see a small obvious nuisance factor associated with every casinos anywhere.

By the time, gambling is in full swing in PA, Fast Eddie with be long gone, and no one will ever measure predicted tax revenue to actual. I seriously doubt if the revenue will live up the promises.

- Amos the Poker Cat (Yes, I actually once got a cat because of playing poker. No, he was not the bet.)

7:42 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Thanks for bringing up Atlantic City, which brought in gambling decades ago because it was losing tourist dollars to other seaside towns.

Unfortunately, the money from the casinos stops flowing about a block from the boardwalk. After that, Atlantic City deteriorates into a slum, for lack of a better term.

We--lawmakers, I should say--had the option of limiting slots to race tracks. With four existing tracks and two more outstanding licenses, that would have been plenty of gambling, without bringing blight to our cities.

8:41 AM

Blogger Furrow said...

This all reminds me of the QED coverage of the gubenatorial debate way back when. They had an audience in the studio to watch the debate on TV, and afterwards, local party talking heads chimed in, and eventually the audience got to ask some questions.

I was in the audience.

One thing that always stuck with me was how both local talking heads tut-tutted gambling even while, according to both gubernatorial candidate websites, increased gambling was supported. The GOP head, a woman whose name I cannot remember, went so far as to say gambling was morally wrong. I was holding a copy of both candidate's websites. Her candidate supported gambling, it was right there in black and white. How can they do this stuff with a straight face?

Cut something, tax something, but spare us from gambling.

5:47 PM

Anonymous Amos the Poker Cat said...

Jonathan, I tought you would have hailed AC as a model "high-density, pedestrian-friendly" development? I mean, look at all the street walkers?! ;-)

I actually did not find AC nearly as blighted as most people make it out to be. There are 4 vietnamese restaurants around AC. One is very good, Little Siagon at 2801 Arctic Ave. They even have Banh Mi, vietnamese subs. Wooo-hooo.

Speaking of subs, AC also has the "famous" White House Sub Shop with Sinatra's last towel. Tacky is not just for Vegas, anymore.

2:42 AM


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