Saturday, February 4, 2006

We're just negotiating a price

This story has been attributed to several different people, but basically a rich man asks a woman,
"Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?"

"Of course."

"How about $10?"

Outraged the lady yells, "I'm not a whore! What kind of a lady do you think I am?"

"We already know what kind of a lady you are," says the man. "Now we are just negotiating a price."

The Kentucky horse industry and gambling interests are supporting the expansion of gambling in the state, allowing casino gambling and slot machines into the state.

As I've posted before, I am a recreational no-money-bet poker player. I also have played some serious bridge, again not for money. I have known people who were quite capable of playing games of chance and skill without being out of control. If you have some spare money, and wish to entertain yourself by trying to get ahead of the horserace odds, or try to outplay others at poker, I'm not going to critisize you one bit.

On t he other hand, my great-grandfather allegedly gambled away an entire tobacco check one year. There are a lot of people who gamble in many different forms with money they really need for other things.

The problem is that Kentucky, like the lady, is already committed. The state is littered with Bingo parlors from one end to the other, all providing games of chance under the flavor of charity fundraising. The Commonwealth runs the largest numbers racket gaming system in the state, the Kentucky Lottery. There are race tracks and parimutual gambling stations all across the state. Betting is already here, and already legal.

I personally wish slots were banned world-wide. They are a complete ripoff, because they are a complete game of chance. Video poker and slots have been described as the crack cocaine of gambling addiction. That said, bingo and scratch-off lottery tickets are just as purely chance, and probably just about as addictive.

The other big proble m with the KEEP campaign is the dollar figures being thrown around. KEEP is suggesting that Kentucky will receive $430 million a year on a 33% tax. That means the gaming industry would have to pull in at least $1250 million in profits. Even the best games for the house involve 90%+ payouts. Let's we assume that the industry can pull 75% payoffs, which doesn't happen. To generate $1250m in profits, Kentucky gamblers will have to spend at least $6000million (6 billion). Even with much of that money being recycled, it still just isn't going to happen.

I'm afraid that, like the Kentucky Lottery before, gambling will not pay off like its promises. I just hope that the worst of the negatives don't pan out either.

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