Who’s the Bigger Junkie? Degenerate Gamblers or The States Looking to Profit Off Them?

by Jan 1, 2019Opinion Pieces

When legislators introduce gambling legislation, the talking points are usually fairly similar. “Gambling is something people want and are already doing illegally, so why not regulate and tax it to protect consumers and bring in new revenue?” they say.

On the surface, it’s a win/win for the people of the state. But if it’s so great, why haven’t we already passed legislation to make it legal? Why now? What’s changed?

Growing Debt

The new interest in gambling appears to have less to do with consumer protections and much more to do with funding. This was highlighted in an article I recently read that focused on expansion of gambling in Pennsylvania by Bill Grinstead:

“In all, the state has already profited a tidy sum, and not a hand of online poker or casino has even been dealt. Lawmakers had a goal of making money fast, and by all accounts, have partially achieved it.”

Sounds Familiar? Right?

If you’ve ever known a problem gambler or have spent time around the field, this concept of using gambling as a way to solve financial difficulties will sound familiar. It’s the path every gambler takes and is part of what makes gambling addiction so unique.

Trying to solve a financial problem with gambling is bad for problem gamblers and I fear it may be the same for states.

Quick Fixes. Long-Term Headaches.

When gambling is seen as a quick fix, the underlying problems are not addressed. It’s a temporary solution and when rushed it can have many unintended side effects.

So, why will it be any different with states? Every gambler thinks “this time will be different” and it seems states are taking up the same philosophy.