Here in the state of Maryland, one of the referendums on the ballot tomorrow is to introduce slots into the state. As I'm not a gambler, I really don't have an opinion. So I would like to know what you think (whether you live in Maryland or not)
As far as I can tell, here are the pro's and con's of slots in Maryland:
- Slots will bring in more revenue for state schools. (Given that I was pulled out of Maryland public schools because I got my ass kicked as a third grader, that point is a big pro.) Maryland actually ranks well nationally for its education, as listed on its website: here. (links to PDF). I am fully in support of money for education, so I cannot find any fault with this pro.
- Gamblers who are currently leaving the state of Maryland to gamble in West Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey, will instead bring revenue to the state of Maryland. Maryland residents have been promoting the school systems of other states because Maryland has not had any type of slots gambling. We do have a lottery, but nothing more active in gambling other than horse race tracks.
- Increased tourism. I don't understand myself why people would come to play the slots, but apparently they will. Again, I'm not a gambler, I don't get it.
- Gambling is a close to a victimless crime/vice as its going to get. Its not like its selling crack in the inner city middle schools. Gamblers are going to find a way to gamble legally or illegally. This way, the state of Maryland gets a bit of a cut.
- Slots will supposedly help Maryland's horse racing legacy. I really don't know a lot about it, except that Maryland hosts the Preakness Stakes, part of the Triple Crown, along with the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. That and Maryland's official sport is Jousting, which also requires horses. Apparently, the horse racing industry is suffering in Maryland, and slots will attract more gamblers and thus more people to gamble at the horse race tracks as well, thereby increasing the purses for the winning horses and bringing more prestigious horses to race.
- Gambling is detrimental to society. It is not victimless--families with members who can't control their gambling suffer, especially children. (This is the counterargument for Pro #4-- is Gambling even a vice? Is it victimless? good question!)
- Gambling targets the poor/less economically stable. The chance for "the big win" can lead to irrational gambling. Money that should be spent on food for one's children is instead going to slots. (Assuming of course the family was too poor to afford gas to Delaware to gamble anyways.) Gamblers will find a way to gamble, but not having slots in Maryland could help deter people from squandering their savings and their rent checks.
- The state of Maryland estimates that the slots program will push in $660 million dollars into the school systems. 660 million dollars is a lot of money, even with a budget at over 5 billion dollars. However, I highly doubt more than a fraction of that 660 million will actually go to the schools and to the teachers who desperately need the money. On the pro side: Even a fraction will help.
- The largest of the new casinos will be placed about ten minutes from my home, which means that there will be even more traffic congestion than we already have (and this area is the worst of my daily commute, by the way) and my county will be responsible for the maintainance of these slots.
Now for your opinion (and feel free to leave a comment anonymously if you prefer...)
- Does your state/region have slots or other legal gambling?
- What is your opinion on legalized gambling?
- Do you see legalized gambling as a means to raise money by other means than taxing the public?
- Do you see legalized gambling as something that could lead to the destablizing of society and our cultural values?
- If you knew for certain that all the profits made from slots would go to the schools, would you override your personal feelings about slots and agree to them?
- Do you enjoy slots?