Opinion

Vegas On The Potomac

P. H. Guthrie Freelance Writer

It’s for The Children™ – that’s how the MGM casino, opening on Thursday at National Harbor, was sold to the Maryland public by a bipartisan group of Annapolis hacks. Politicians pimping vice to their constituents always brag about money going to education. Ask Colorado pot junkies how much – cough, cough – they’re learning. If the pols get around to legalizing prostitution, the tag line will be B.J.’s for B.A.’s.

The politicians got the money, then they reduced education spending out of the general fund, diverting the ‘surplus’ cash to their pet projects. Gambling tax revenue doesn’t spring from pig dung and pixie dust; it comes from people losing money. Casinos and their pro-gambling creatures in Annapolis and elsewhere pretend that gambling creates jobs. Murder creates jobs too – the coroner, the investigator, the undertaker, the florist, the coffin maker, etc. Anyone for subsidizing that? Besides Chicago and Baltimore, obviously.

Casinos aren’t the only culprit. Lotteries were also set up for – you guessed it – The Children™. The first recorded use of lotteries was in China during the second century BC; they’ve been spitting out poverty ever since.

According to a Duke University report, 54% of lottery sales come from only 5% of players (roughly 2.5% of U.S. adults). These scratch-off screwballs are predominantly low income and poorly educated, and view the lottery as some sort of primitive financial planning. Rent, food and other necessities are sacrificed to a hopeless and wasteful fantasy, fueled by billions in advertising aimed at poor and minority neighborhoods.

Rather than simply offering existing gambling addicts a legal outlet, lotteries and casinos create gambling addicts, breeding bankruptcy, crime and shattered families. One of the few heroes in this sad tale of Potomac greed is Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who advised Marylanders that more gambling “will not produce one dollar of new spending for education, and [that]. . . this industry is a shady and sleazy practice.”

Politicians love gambling because it sucks money out of the public, providing lucrative opportunities for fundraising and graft. Casino operators need government protection to lie to and cheat the public, and they’re generous to elected officials who grease the racket. Governments and casinos are the perfect inbred pair – both turbo-charged engines of economic destruction. Their offspring are the poor who can’t afford to lose, and the addicted without the will to stop.

The Democratic Party of the Clintons has as much chance of championing addicts over wealthy campaign contributors as Monica Lewinsky has of branding mouthwash. The Republican Party gives lip service to family values, even as the president-elect is a casino owner, and their party poohbahs breast feed from billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Anderson.

The Republican Party could regain trust among its value voter base by opposing both too big to fail on Wall Street and too small to succeed on skid row. Conservatives must promote hard work as the key to prosperity to stop the spread of social ills. If people accept gambling as the path to upward mobility, they’ll be ripe to swallow the even greater con of socialism.

They say bad legislation and prostitutes get respectable with age; likewise games of chance aren’t going away. Lotteries won’t be abolished and successful casinos won’t be torn down. Although new games and new locations for gambling should be adamantly opposed, the popular will is not present for abolition. That does not mean, however, that their hustling cannot be decisively checked.

Gambling needs to be regulated, not simply on the industry side, but on the consumer side as well. Any individual gambling in any given location should be required to use a specialized debit card issued by his or her state of residence. Gamblers should have to qualify to increase monthly spending limits based on credit score and income.

States opposing gambling could refuse to issue cards, eliminating the argument that people can just travel out of state. Furthermore, advertising outside the point-of-sale should be banned. If the ‘gaming’ industry wants us to stomach their excrement about only existing for entertainment, they should welcome any modest measure that ensures fewer people head to the parking lot to commit suicide.

Gamblers have children too.

The author has worked on numerous statewide political campaigns in Virginia, South Dakota and Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in The Federalist, the Daily Caller and other sites. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area. He also enjoys playing poker. Follow him on Twitter @PHGuthrie