Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gambling in Massachusetts

I had to run to the store for milk and bananas.  A man outside the door was collecting signatures to ban casinos from Massachusetts.

I refused to sign.  Honestly, that makes me angry.  Not because he's protesting the evils of gambling.  I understand that gambling can ruin lives and entire families.  I understand and agree, but I also understand that people trying to stop casinos are fighting the tide.

They aren't  shoveling shit against that tide, they are trying to hold the tide back with their fingers, and they will lose.

I've said this to people like this man before and I'll say it again here:  don't fight casinos.  Fight what they can do.

For example, try to eliminate alcohol in the casino itself if you feel that contributes to bad decisions.   The casinos wouldn't like it and some might not even apply with that limitation, but so what?  Someone will do it.  Limit the hours they can be open.  Put any limits you want!

I think more useful would be to limit losses.  Require people to purchase cards (as many casinos do now anyway) and limit the amount of money that can be put on that card in an hour or a day or a month.  Require strict identification and  audit the casinos regularly.  Put stiff fines in place for non-compliance.

What figure?  I don't know.  If you make it $5.00 a day the casinos couldn't make any money at all, but limiting to $100 a month isn't so bad.  The casinos of course would want more, but again, so what?

I've heard the argument that the casinos could not operate that way. Of course they could - there are plenty of low margin businesses that thrive.  The owners don't make millions, but they make a living.  I don't know what the figure needs to be, but I believe that it could be low enough to help protect against ruination and still offer a profit to operators.

Stop trying to stop the tide with your bare hands.

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