Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Meh of Casinos

I'm going to second this post on how uninteresting casinos have become.  I remember enjoying going to places with a casino because of the novelty.  I enjoy blackjack (and poker, but that takes too much time in a casino) but the last conference I went to in Vegas, I really didn't care much, and when we hit up a nearby casino at a bachelor party I think we spent a total of an hour and a half there, and most of that walking around looking for something to play (no one wanted to drop $25 a hand on blackjack and slots are boring).

There are casinos everywhere today.  Gambling is no longer some exotic activity.  Why would anyone want to go to Atlantic city today?  There are much nicer stretches of beach/shore, and if you want to spend time in a windowless casino, why there's probably one nearby.

The other downside of gambling (including both casinos and the lottery) is the upward transfer of wealth. Basically, the gubment wants money, but taxes is bad so Gambling = Win!  The problem is that the bulk of gambling revenue comes from poor and middle class people (I'll grant there is a subset of wealthy idiots who throw lots of money away at casinos who would never buy a lottery ticket). And, the government revenue comes out of the massive profits the companies make.  Basically gambling as revenue stream for the government is the equivalent of a regressive tax plan, combined with a giveaway to rich people.

I'm not actually opposed to casinos and lottery, but I think that it should be balanced against a highly progressive income tax. 

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