Cheeseburgers and Legalizing Online Gambling

John Stossel is a business anchor for Fox News, and when it comes to the concept of legalizing gambling, he’s a savvy and straight forward guy.

In a recent interview with Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor, Stossel brings up several good points as to why the government should legalize gambling and leave “consenting adults alone.”

The government’s main problem with legalizing online gambling is that it’s a public safety hazard. Mainly one person could go out, be irresponsible and lose all his money and wipe out his family. Ergo, the government says that gambling is a danger to others.

But then Stossel points out that adults can go out, get drunk and crash their car. That would wipe out a family too, in addition to potentially wiping out the lives of others. Yet, as long as you are 21, you’re legal to drink alcohol.

To counter that, it was pointed out to Stossel that the government understood that and enacted prohibition. Stossel then asks us to consider how prohibition turned out. Americans still wanted to drink and they found ways of doing so. Just like how right now Americans want to gamble in online casinos from the comfort of their homes, and they are finding ways to do so.

The problem with this is that the money being made off of Americans gambling isn’t going back into America. It’s going to other companies overseas. We are, in essence, funding other countries.

O’Reilly then brings up the point that if it’s bad for you then it should be banned. Stossel counters that by saying that everything would be banned for public safety because some many things that we like could have a bad impact on us. Like cheeseburgers. Overindulge in those and you could give yourself a heart attack, die and hurt your family. Because you died from a long-term cheeseburger overdose.

Stossel sums himself up by implying that the government can’t mother us all, and to “leave consenting adults alone.’

I like this guy’s point of view. There are a good many things that we do that are harmful to us that are legal, such as cigarettes and liquor. Granted those have age limits on them, but if you’re at least 18 and 21 respectively then you’re legal to use them.

Stossel has another good point about legalizing online gambling. The tax revenue is going overseas rather than funding our own country. And if Americans are going to find a way to play games like blackjack, slots, roulette and poker then go ahead and legalize it and bring the revenue into our own country.

Besides Americans will find a way to gamble online if they really want to.

States Need Revenue

Since the recession, states around the U.S. are having trouble with their budgets. Trouble as in there isn’t enough money. And we’re not talking falling short a little bit, but a lot. As in millions—or billions in some places—short.

With states being at such a loss in terms of money they’re forced to cut programs and jobs, including programs and teachers in our children’s schools. And since cutting jobs hurts the economy even more and cutting education programs hurts our children, states are beginning to look at other ways of bringing in money.

Legalizing or expanding gambling offerings, such as blackjack tables, is being looked at or acted upon in at least eighteen states this year. And it’s only March.

While I’m not going to complain about a wider selection of casino games and it being easier to play blackjack, just how desperate are states for more income?

Check out what Rep. Kraig Paulson, the Republican leader in the Iowa House said: “Absolutely, we’re addicted to gambling dollars.” And this man is an opponent to expanding gambling in his state. But he also understands that his state needs revenue as well.

So what all are states up to?

-Iowa has begun a new state lottery.
-Pennsylvania has legalized table games, like blackjack.
-New York is adding 4,500 video lottery machines.
-The Governor of Connecticut wants his state to offer Keno in restaurants.
-More lottery machines have been installed in Florida. Florida is also trying to reach a deal with the Seminole tribe in regards to blackjack tables at their casinos.
-Kansas has increased its promotion of Dodge City.
-Missouri is switching and upgrading its slots game offerings to include fancier, more entertaining slots.
-And Maryland is adding 10,000 slot machines.

For citizens that are opposed to opening up gambling offerings, take a moment to consider another option: raising taxes. Suddenly, while you still aren’t in favor of things like blackjack tables, expanding a state’s gambling offerings don’t seem so bad. Because nobody wants to pay more in taxes.

Turning to gambling isn’t a sign that states are loosening up their morals. Legalizing and expanding their gambling offerings is a sign that states are looking for ways to increase their revenue while not hitting their citizens any harder. Yes, gambling will take more of their money, but it will be money willingly offered by citizens, whereas no one likes to pay taxes.

So when you’re not happy to hear about more blackjack tables or some other form of gambling coming to your state, think of the alternative—you could be paying more in taxes.

Hawaii Looking to Legalize Gambling?

What could be better than Vegas?

How about a Vegas with a beach?

If it sounds good then you better jump on the wagon for those that support Hawaii in their consideration to legalize online gambling. Who knows, within a year or two you may take a plane to these beautiful islands, enjoy the beach by day and play some blackjack by night.

Yes, Hawaii has now joined the list of states that are looking to change their stances on gambling. And like other states that are considering legalizing gambling, including blackjack, slots, roulette and poker, Hawaii is looking at it as a potential boos to their budget, which is coming up short by a lot.

Here are a couple of scenarios that those who are pro-gambling are putting forth to show how much money could be generated and how it can be spent for the good of Hawaii:

In one scenario Hawaii would establish a gaming commission to issue a single five year license for a casino on Oahu. Just this one casino could provide 4,000 jobs. As for generating revenue, one casino with blackjack, slots, roulette and poker could generate around $100 million for Hawaii through taxing the casino rather than Hawaiian residents.

Another scenario would allow for casinos on Hawaiian Islands, more than one. These casinos would be handing over 80% of their taxes to Native Hawaiians. This should be a scenario that perks up the ears of Native Hawaiians as it could be used for more Hawaiian homes, financing for start-up businesses and improved health coverage—something that’s on the minds of many Americans right now.

However, those who are pro-gambling are butting heads with those who feel that legalizing casinos to have blackjack, slots, roulette and poker would only overrun the islands with crime and ruin the picturesque vacation destination that Hawaii offers. They also feel that the family-friendly environment would disappear along with their heritage.

They seem to be missing the fact that Hawaiians fly to Vegas regularly enough for Vegas to be called Hawaii’s ninth island, showing that Hawaiians like to gamble. Online offerings such as online blackjack and online slots are easy enough for Hawaiians to access. And let’s not forget that gambling is in their history—this goes back to when Hawaii was a kingdom with betting on horse races.

With the need to fill in the rather large holes in the Hawaiian budget, Hawaii should give some very serious consideration to legalizing gambling. It would provide them the revenue they need without having to tax its residents (no one likes that) and generate new jobs. Creating jobs and not over taxing residents will go a ways to stimulating the Hawaiian economy—not to mention the money tourists would be putting into casinos.

Florida Government Still Bickering Over Blackjack

I’m a little astounded by Florida’s Legislature. And I can say they defiantly must be on the side of all the pari-mutuels. Look at them: they are against allowing the Seminole tribe to expand their gambling offerings with blackjack tables, yet they are just fine looking at legalizing online gambling for Florida residents. But then the pari-mutuels would be able to host online gambling operations for the state. Not surprised at all.

And normally, other than wondering whether Florida will ever have blackjack tables at the tribal casinos, I wouldn’t really pay all the much attention to Governor Crist bickering with the Legislature. But there is an aspect to allowing blackjack tables that genuinely interests me: the money the Seminoles would be paying to have blackjack and a percentage of the proceeds would go into the state’s education budget—you know, to educate children.

So really what the Legislature, and Crist as well since it takes two to bicker, are really missing is that Florida has a chance to improve the education of Florida’s children. It’s not just the blackjack players in Florida that would miss out if the tribe and the Legislature can’t agree—it will be the children.

As a push, Crist is proposing a $535 million increase to the state’s education budget. And that money can easily come from the Seminoles paying for blackjack. But the Legislature, who seems to be favoring the pari-mutuels, are bulking at that increase, and saying that the increase would be nice, but are unwilling still to allow the Seminoles to have their blackjack.

It makes me want to ask the Legislature if they’re really okay letting the education of Florida’s children suffer for whatever incentive there is in fighting Crist and the Seminoles. Thoughts anyone?

Delaware Joins Quest to Gamble

Joining the list of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida and Kentucky (maybe on that one) is Delaware. They not only have one bill, but two. One is aimed at legalizing table games like blackjack and poker in their casinos that already have slots, lotteries and horse betting. Oh and dice, the bill would also legalize dice games in these casinos. But Delaware blackjack fans can begin to hope for blackjack tables of their very own.

The first bill, the one to legalize table games, comes from the House Gaming and Pari-mutuels Committee. The other is from the Delaware Senate.

The Delaware Senate is putting forth a bill that is aimed at preventing cheating in these new table games. Very conscientious of them really. Other states are trying to legalize table games or online gambling, and here is Delaware not only trying to get their table and dice games, but they are trying to make them fair games. Very conscientious.

Like other states that are looking at trying to legalize table games and online gambling, Delaware’s motives are similar: revenue.

With the United States sunk in a recession, many states are looking at alternatives they probably wouldn’t consider to fill in the holes in their budgets. State programs need funding—our children’s schools among them.

If the House Gaming and Pari-mutuels Committee’s bill is passed then Delaware casinos will have to pay $13.5 million to have table games such as blackjack. And here’s the breakdown of where the casinos’ revenues would be going if they install table games: 66% to would be kept by the casinos, 29% to the state and 4.5% to horse racing.

There is some concern that the state won’t be receiving the funds that they deserve. But I’m sure that will be discussed—at length—in future legislature sessions. Although the State’s percentage is the second highest rate of return of any state who is legalizing blackjack, poker, etc.

And so Delaware joins the ranks of states looking at games—online or not—such as blackjack, poker, etc for revenue.

Who will be next?