KE Cellars

Casino gambling in Texas is a bad bet.

Slot Machines

Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, March 22, 2013.

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Your state senators and representatives are currently in Austin cooking something up that I think we should carefully think about. There is a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution floating around that, if approved by voters, would not only permit casino gambling in Texas, would serve to make the State of Texas the dealer.

That’s because the measure wouldn’t simply make it legal to set up a casino. I might could support that idea, particularly if it were a local option. But that’s not the proposal. Instead, the measure would, according to its language, create “immediate additional revenue” by “…creating the Texas Gaming Commission, and authorizing and regulating the operation of casino games and slot machines by a limited number of licensed operators and certain Indian tribes.”

In other words, put the State of Texas in the position of creating a casino gambling cartel and then profiting from people who shovel the rent money down a slot machine.

I’m not moralizing here. I’m not arguing against gambling per se. I’m enough of a libertarian to say that if you want to piss away your paycheck at the blackjack table, it’s your business. But I don’t think the state should be in the position of hoping that you do. What’s legal isn’t necessarily right. (And it should be noted that I defend gambling as a matter of your business only with the caveat that how you pay for food, shelter, clothing and transportation when the money is gone is also your business.)

As an argument in favor of casino gambling, proponents point to the economic and tax revenue impact of Texans leaving the state to visit casinos in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Better to keep that revenue in the state they say.

But by that argument, you could make the case for the state getting into the prostitution business. States, in my opinion, waste time and money trying, with little success, to stamp prostitution out. The argument could be made that since prostitution is going to happen anyway, the state should form a State Prostitution Commission that would license, regulate and tax the sex-for-hire industry.

I believe that would be wrong for two reasons.

First, my inner libertarian again speaks up. If two parties agree to have sex, it’s none of the state’s business. Whether or not money changes hands is incidental. But that will never make prostitution honorable.

And thus my second argument. It is fundamentally wrong for the state to have a financial interest in you hiring a hooker. Prostitution is not like the responsible consumption of alcohol. Prostitution in any amount is depraved. It is the worst sort of misogyny. Its practitioners almost to a person lead lives riddled by physical and psychological injury. That they choose to do so is their business. But the state should have no truck with it.

Which leads to my argument against the current proposal for casino gambling. By the simple economic fundamentals of a casino, in order for the casino to make money, the player has to lose money. Just as the state shouldn’t hope that anyone would go hire a hooker, it shouldn’t hope that anyone lose money. Some people can afford to lose money. Most can’t.

As for the tax revenue justification: whatever tax revenue a government generates it spends. The country’s current fiscal situation absolutely screams in support of the idea that rather than look for new sources of revenue, government at every level should be looking for ways to need less of it. Feeding the beast only makes him bigger and stronger. Our only hope for economic survival is to starve him.

The state being de facto in the casino business is a bad idea. If the idea survives the legislative session, let’s hope it dies at the ballot box.


  1. L Miles says:

    Paul,

    Congratulations for presenting the right analysis and proper conclusion on this subject. As you know, the Poverty Pimps only gain a greater foothold on the expansion of the Welfare State as more personal irresponsibility plagues our society and as the “poor” look for more “aid” from politicians willing to buy their votes.

    WORKING for the necessities of life is old fashioned and politically incorrect, don’t you know? There is no way that the irresponsible gambler is going to suffer the consequences of his actions as long as the Welfare State and votes are there to lessen the pain.

  2. I am for the state of Texas having casinos. I have been for a long time. I’m sick and tired of the government robbing me every paycheck, then telling me what I can do with what they leave me with.
    I’ve never taken a government check and don’t intend to, but I use the casinos in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado,and New Mexico for entertainment only because I can’t do it Texas. There is an entertainment column in our budget spreadsheet and that is what my wife and I do for entertainment.
    Comparing casino gambling to prostitution is an insult to my intelligence.
    This is just another area government has no business. Make it legal whether Texas government wants to play or not.
    Nobody will ever have to worry about paying my rent or other bills just because Texas legalizes casinos.

  3. I agree with sDrake .
    Living in East Texas where there are buses & limos that pick one up to go to the “boats”, having certain days off of work already placed on the calendars so you can go there,, people merrily telling of the money they “won’ last week & so on; it is a spurious argument & an insult for anyone as smart as you, Paul to use any type of argument against ‘gambling’ in Texas.
    This is so accepted here it is here you speak with”forked tongue”.
    Get serious… lets get is here.

    Some people here wish & do illegal ‘bets’ all over.
    Ever been in a Football pool??

    Many other types are readily done here.( horses,??)

    You are hypocritical.
    I like you, but you are only seeing this from YOUR perspective.
    Lets not pretend this is untenable here.

    It’s here now!

  4. Don Gibbs says:

    To Sdrake: You are one in a million. People of Texas would ultimately be the losers. More poverty, broken homes, more homeless and just think the suffering children suffer when their parent has a gambling problem and many would become gambling addicts!

  5. C M Solomon says:

    I am appalled that anyone can’t see the difference in personal liberty and State sponsored (profiteering) enterprises that exploit moral depravity (gambling). If you want to gamble and are honest, it is your obligation to make sure that the State doesn’t subsidize it in ANY way through the myriad of Welfare programs. I have two suggestions to ensure that the Welfare system is not burdened with an EXTRA load of recipients due to gambling induced poverty.

    1) Register all Welfare recipients so that IF they enter a gambling establishment they are forced to use their Lone-Star (free food) card to make ALL wagers. That way they have to choose to spend their “allowance” on food or gambling. If they waste their “benefit” on gambling then they go without food. Think about it before you condemn this idea.

    2) Force a 30% tax on all wagers (non Lone-Star users) to fund the waste, fraud, and abuse in the Welfare System in order to reimburse the State for the inevitable increase in Welfare claims and expenditures. That way, you that insist on gambling for “entertainment,” bear the cost to the State for the increase in Welfare claims that are bound to follow as families are plagued with poverty that was unnecessary. Because of the natural attraction of gambling to solve the financial plight of the poor that have low moral character and are willing to let the Welfare programs solve their lack of discipline and financial responsibility, the gambling public should pay the FULL negative cost to the State.

    80% of the time I buy groceries at Walm@&t, I see the Lone Star Card used to buy groceries directly in front of me. The buyer is a well dressed woman and usually has a few kids with her. Often there is a man lurking 15 feet away from the check-out waiting for her to finish. If I follow them to their car there, is a late model and medium priced vehicle, newer that mine. The man is the driver. My guess is that this happens tens of thousands of times a day in Texas and is a typical case of a woman claiming a Welfare benefit (as a single mother) when a man in the household is perfectly capable of bearing the food cost for the family.

    Our Socialist (so-called compassionate) government has replaced the Husband-Father role in the “poor” family in our society, and we (the fools) are paying for it. Where is the investigative journalism to expose this fraud? It is time for prosecution of these cheats and seizure of their assets and shutdown of the agency and fines for the bureaucrats that approved it. The longer we ignore this fraud the plunge into national bankruptcy will continue. Why exacerbate it with State sponsored gambling?

    By the way, did you know that 70% of children in certain demographic parts of our population are born out of wedlock? 80 years ago it was 2%. Is the country FINISHED and we don’t care because MORALITY is inconsistent with our obsession with self-pleasure?

  6. Folks, have you not noticed that there are more people on welfare in Texas now than ever before. Your view that government is to legislate morality is unbelieveable.
    You are probably the same people who complain about government removing God from our society as well. You CAN NOT have it both ways.
    Just drive through the parking lot of any casino in Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Colorado. You will see Texas license plates more prevalent than the state you are visiting.
    I don’t care if the state of Texas “sponsors” gambling or not. I’m saying the government should have no right to tell me what I can do with my money especially if I want to play poker in my home with friends. Do you folks realize THAT is illegal in the state of Texas. Rediculous.

  7. To Don Gibbs: “1 in a million”?? I think not. Most people who use casinos as a stop on a vacation or as entertainment DO NOT experience a “gambling problem” you describe.
    As I said in a post that was not posted, I don’t send my reps to govern by legislating morality.
    Many of those against casinos are the same ones who complain about the government removing God from our schools and fed buildings.
    You can’t have it both ways.
    You also cannot save an addict from being an addict whether it be drugs, alchohol, gambling, nicotine, or anything else. THINK personal responsibility, NOT government intrusion.

  8. Mr. Gibbs…with all due respect sir, do you not realize there are buses full of people leaving major metro areas of Texas several times per day carry Texas people AND their money to surrounding states and their casinos. There are also charter planes doing the same thing.
    I took pictures of the parking lot at the Isle of Capri in Lake Charles, Winstar in Thackerville Oklahoma, and Horseshoe in Shreveport, La and sent them to the state legislature. The percentage of Texas license plates was 78%. Not allowing casinos, poker, etc. in Texas by law, and thinking it is going to stop people from gambling is like thinking passing more gun laws is going to stop the criminals from killing people. Sure, there are some who can’t control their actions in either case, but keeping law abiding responsible people from enjoying themselves on occasion won’t fix their problem. Surely you know you can’t legislate away stupidity.

  9. Mr Gibbs you are just stupid you can just go to any c store and gamble or just go online. The people have the right to vote you can vote no and i will vote yes just let the people vote i watch bus after bus taking people to oklahoma with texas money.

  10. T.D. Havard says:

    We already have legalized gambling, it’s called the TEXAS LOTTO and was supposed to be the cure all for our financial woes. How’s THAT working out?

    Man, I’ve about quit going into quick stops for having to wait while some character spends boo coo dollars on lottery tickets.

    As the saying goes “It’s a free country.” In the society we now live in, gambling is gonna happen but don’t blow smoke about how it’s gonna help Texas blah, blah, blah. Just go blow your money.

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