Gambling hypocrisy: End this charade
By licensing casinos, Pennsylvania makes legal in them a form of gambling that's outlawed in bars, restaurants and private clubs — where municipalities charge hundreds of dollars annually to register video poker machines, electronic slots and other devices. It's blatant government hypocrisy at both the state and local levels that needs to end.
The machines that municipalities register almost always are marked “for amusement only” — pro forma nods toward the illegality of payouts to winning players and such modifications as “knock-off” switches that erase game credits. Matching those nods are the winks from local officials who cynically pretend it's all on the up-and-up while reaping registration revenue — and are quick to pontificate when law enforcers raid such machines in their communities. Witness Thursday's big gambling raid in McKeesport.
Meanwhile, law enforcers and the casino industry warn that these machines are rigged so the house always wins in the end — as if that's not just as true of casino gambling. And struggling small businesses risk fines and loss of liquor licenses for daring to seek a tiny piece of this gambling action, worth $13 billion-plus since Pennsylvania's first legal casino opened in 2007.
It's time to do away with all the pretenses surrounding this issue. Legalize video poker and slots for restaurants, bars and private clubs and let Pennsylvania's government-sanctioned casinos compete — without legally enforced hypocrisy that ensures only their houses ultimately win.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- The Corbett administration gives itself a headache with selective transparency
- The Thursday wrap
- An ObamaCare ‘re-do’?