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« Escape From New York | Main | A Word On Taxing and Spending From Bruce Bartlett »

Ohio Betting On Casino Gambling

With budget deficits and declining tax revenues, many states are seeking financial relief wherever they can find it. Of course, considering spending cuts doesn’t seem to enter into the equation for most, but I digress. Some are looking at gambling, in one form or another. Ohio is looking to expand gambling in this election cycle, yet again.

Now, there’s several different forms in which state sanctioned gambling can take. Let’s look at two.

State Lotteries.

Lotteries aren’t new to this country. In fact, lotteries have been used in financing both private and public ventures from our early history. In early America. they played a major role in financing roads, libraries, churches, colleges, canals and bridges among other things. The American Revolution even used a lottery to help underwrite the war effort. Many states now have a state lottery, and some folks are talking about a national lottery.

But studies have shown that state lotteries can actually have a negative affect on a state’s economy, and most often at the expense of the poor, whom are more apt to make lottery purchases.

Lottery spending also takes money out of the private sector that would have been spent on consumer goods and services. That of course, then costs jobs and reduces tax revenues from businesses and consequently from workers in the form of income tax.


Another form of state sanctioned gambling, is casino gambling. Opponents say that casinos breed crime...prostitution, violent crime, and costs jobs. Not to mention the problems associated with gambling addiction.

Proponents say that casinos actually create jobs, directly and indirectly. Naturally, the casino itself employees people. Then there are the utilized vendors and their employees. There’s the hotels and motels, the restaurants and gas stations, the grocery stores and convenience stores, the increased need for housing of said employees, and workers to build and maintain the housing, and so on and so on. And as far as the addictions are concerned, some say that those with compulsive behavior will exhibit that behavior in one form or another whether gambling is available or not. If they're not able to blow their money on gambling, they'll blow it on big screen televisions and other items at Wal-Mart or somewhere.

Here in Ohio, we have had a lottery for years. Although it’s generated billions of dollars for the state I’m not sure the state has been truly benefited. Initially, the sales pitch for the lottery was that the profits would fund our schools. Yet our schools are in financial trouble still, even though they receive lottery money as well as the lion’s share of our property taxes.

After past failures, next week we'll be asked once again to look at the casino initiative. Although it’s been soundly defeated in past elections, I’m wagering that Ohio’s 10.1% unemployment rate will ensure a very different outcome this time. If not, wanna go for double or nothin’?

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Reader Comments (17)

As i've discussed before, our economic structure is due for a reset, but haven't we had enough gambling for a while from Wall Street?
Is this the direction our nation is going?
Farm, factory,

oh, yeah, vote YES on issue 2!

October 28, 2009 at 13:05 | Unregistered Commentergriswold3 if increased gambling is going to just suddenly rake in the dollars.

October 28, 2009 at 13:34 | Registered Commenterwesmorgan1

Gambliing industry must not have considered current disposal income.
Being that gambling is a value capture industry, there first has to be value creation. Thar ain't no value creation here.

October 28, 2009 at 14:00 | Unregistered Commentergriswold3

i bet it works.

October 28, 2009 at 16:40 | Unregistered CommenterBEEFCAKE

What odds are you giving?

October 28, 2009 at 17:02 | Unregistered Commentergriswold3

oh, yeah, vote YES on issue 2!

Gris, enlighten me on issue 2. I'm late to the controversy.

November 2, 2009 at 10:08 | Registered CommenterGrayRider

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