October 14, 2009

Ban Video Poker - Keep The Lotto!

All the fuss about video poker is odd to me - so I’ll be the devil’s advocate. The politicians and the reverends are either in agreement or at odds on issues that are supposed to concern everyone – not just their circles. Some people banked on the Olympics – it didn’t happen. There’s money in them thar TIFS – but it’s going to be circulated in the circles – not with us even though its our money. So we’ll resort to hand-wringing in government meetings that will only result in more taxes and increased CTA fares and it’ll be blamed on Rio. What rot.

Yes, there are foreclosures and bankruptcies galore – and according to the hoopla, gaming will ruin what’s left of society. We have kids legally allowed drop out of school. We have kids having kids at 15 yet no one screams about statutory rape; they scream about NO abortion and just say NO!

We’ve been a decadent society for a very long time, so what’s wrong with gaming? No one is getting self-righteous about the almighty Illinois State Lottery. How many people who can’t afford Lotto tickets buy them anyway? Who is accountable for those poor souls spending their SSI, Social Security, unemployment checks or meager minimum wage earnings on Lotto? It’s legal and it’s a form of gaming isn’t it? The hell with the rent, the groceries, the after school for the kids, Lotto is Legal. So Mom and/or Dad buy a few Lotto tickets, a six pack and expect the government to dish out more. Actually, it’s the middle class that’s carrying the burden.

And where does one find out just how much of the Lotto pot is really funneled back into education? Pray tell us if you know how to find the data.

Instead of setting up tacky video poker machines, why not just develop a casino in Chicago for those who choose to play? Most casinos have their own security don’t they? Most casinos have employees – they don’t run on air. Let the tourists play a little blackjack or spin the roulette wheel before they pay those exorbitant hotel taxes and oh those additional phone charges. Let the locals spend their high end paychecks at the tables and promote the city while they drink their Scotch and imported beers.

Meanwhile, the low end paychecks will still be lost on the Illinois Lottery since its legal.

Where’s the self-righteous objection to that?


The North Coast said...

Great post, totally on target.

We might as well forget about trying to legislate people's morality or destructive personal choices. We have no right to, and the results are police corruption and the enrichment of criminal cartels.

To me a casino is strictly a zoning and land-use issue. Just don't put some ugly stationary barge on the Chicago River. A land-based operation is fine.

The vid poker is too easily accessed by minors. It's like selling liquor out of a vending machine. We don't sell cigs out of machines any more for just that reason.

We should give up prohibition of personal vices, whether drugs or prostitution or dice games, and instead focus on directing these activities to areas and venues that will minimize their negative impact on the surrounding community. It has never worked and never will. Some people just plain have a hard time taking the pain and disappointment of daily life without such props as booze, drugs, gambling, and store-bought love. The building-code and land-use approach would work much better to control stuff like this and keeping it from becoming an environmental hazard.

Toni said...

I'm not sure why you manage to tie the police into this...since they don't create areas or own the buildings that house these so called 'criminal cartels'. Politicians and their clingers-on are involved in dictating and promoting which areas become home to certain social issues. Then they move on...to create certain laws which prohibit what police can or cannot do. The cycle goes on.

Or course, you know the rest of the saga...don't complain or you'll be tagged.

The North Coast said...

Political and police corruption were rampant in my home town. Many local police, who in my city were steeply underpaid, agreed to let many lucrative vice operations alone as long as they got their quid pro quo. Once knew a gaming house operated by a woman near where I worked, that took in $100,000 on any given evening, and the cut to the local police was something like 20%-cheap anti-hassle insurance. Same with drugs and prostitution. The rule is keep it out of sight and pay your dues.

It is the same here with prostitution operations. Police and political corruption both. Remember how, when there was a "sting" on a Gold Coast call girl operation, the "johns" were never named? And that ring had operated profitably for years with full knowledge of its existence by local authorities, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

This is not to say our police are categorically corrupt. They surely are not. But out of 13,000 officers, a number are sure to be vulnerable to the lure of easy big bucks, and illegal operations serving basic human cravings are very lucrative.

Toni said...

umm, and politicians have never allegedly taken a little donation for a little favor, or done little favors for 'friends' and colleagues who agree with whatever is presented to them? And in turn those little friends spread their little rivers of nonsense at every election? Needless to say, the campaign is never over!

And yes, thank you for getting back to the city of Chicago. St. Louis should have some bloggers who can take up the vices of their town.

The North Coast said...

Corruption among the politicians is a given. I never said our politicians weren't corrupt. I am not defending our filthy politicians.

ALL of our authorities are extremely corrupt, at every level. There's no way our police could be completely clean with the level of corruption we have at every level of politics everywhere in this country. There has always been a considerable amount of police corruption in this city, and while they may still be much cleaner than our politicians, that is not saying much.

Until the population starts exercising what little power it has and starts THROWING THE BUMS OUT at election time, corrupt we will remain.

Toni said...

OK, now that's off your mind -
what about the Lottery being a form of gaming? I think that's what the post is about....

Any idea how much money is really funneled into education?

The North Coast said...

Really, Toni, I believe that the lotto ought to be terminated, and so should all state subsidies and incentives for horse tracks and casinos.

Zone an area of the city for casinos and let a private company build one, and our more self-destructive citizens can go piss their house payment money away there.

Given the amount of money that that people spend on lotto tickets, we should have the best education in the world. We should be able to fund every pre-school, kindergarten, elementary, middle, high shool, and college student up to $40K a year with the money the lotto rakes in.

So why hasn't that happened? What happens to all that money? It surely isn't being paid out to winners, because there are precious few of those.

All the lotto has accomplished is to turn the state itself into a gambling addict. We've turned into a Casino Society and now two generations of people have grown up in the idea that money is made not by production but by scoring at games involving moving symbolic money around and putting it on the right markers.

Notice that the more the state takes in from the lotto, the poorer it is. Worse, though, by the introduction of the lotto, the state began to sponsor gambling, and it's not really such a big leap as all that from promulgating the lotto, to subsidizing the failing, privately-owned horse tracks that have been decimated by casino gambling.

There's no way that gambling can be defended as a moral behavior. It's a social disease that has destroyed as many people as substance abuse, and it's criminal for the state to sponsor it.

That does not mean that it should be prohibited. If some random citizen wants to lay his house on the line in a card game or lose his kid's food money at the horse track, well, that is his constitutional right and only one of a dozen ways he can destroy his life, and those of his dependent loved ones- and there's nothing the rest of us can really do to stop it.

But the state doesn't have to sponsor this crap. I watch all the little cubicle rats from AON come into the little store on Argyle and drop what looks like a week's pay on scratch-off tickets, and I can tell how much economic benefit THEY derive from it by looking at their shabby clothes.

Time to get the state out of gambling and back to basing their financial plans on reality.