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Phenomenal And Chronic Hypocrisy

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In Thursday’s Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi takes Massachusetts Senate president Travaglini to task for a Senate action adopting the legalization of slot machines at the state’s 4 horse tracks, and for his disguising this action as a way to fund larger health care expenditures.

Joan is 100% correct. This is a classic case of the pure rhetorical horse manure that is always used to promote gambling. Pardon me, “gaming”! Excuse me for using an archaic and pejorative term. Joan notes:

Backers claim that slot machines would generate roughly $350 million in tax revenue a year. Such estimates ignore warnings that slot machines and other new types of gaming are a direct threat to the state lottery — and therefore, a threat to the financial stability of local government.

Indeed. The unfortunate and growing linkage between state lottery revenues and state and local government budgets has been noted before on this blog.

The pith of the state lottery is an unconscionably regressive tax that is administered through professional promotion of vice by an agency of state government. The “gamers” are not the only junkies here. Our state and local governments grow increasingly addicted to the revenue stream provided by the stinking lottery.

Joan should speak to the Globe’s editors about this topic. We would all be wise to recall that the formation of the state lottery was opposed mainly by nasty scolds on religious right, and vigorously supported by our so-called progressives including, I believe, the Globe’s editors. Fittingly the whole scheme was promoted to the electorate as a painless way to create better schools and colleges, since the lottery revenues would be “dedicated” to fund education, just as today we hear that future slot machine takings will be used to fund more health care.

The promotion of gambling by the progressives and politicians in Massachusetts is a case of phenomenal and chronic hypocrisy.

From: Squaring the Boston Globe

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  • Nancy

    Politicians love gambling because, regressive or not, it’s revenue they can get their dirty sticky fingers on without having to publicly raise specific taxes, allowing them to avoid voter backlash – the ideal politicians’ scenario. Proponents argue that it isn’t a tax, because participation is strictly voluntary. However, if state-sponsored gambling doesn’t meet its ‘sales’ quotas, the state then pours out even more money on advertising in an effort to whip up public interest & participation. Where do they get the money for advertising? Where do you think? So in the end, the gambling becomes an end in and of itself, & the only winners are the politicians & the gambling concern owners.

  • Silas Kain

    The way to render the gaming industry sterile is to not play to begin with. The problem is we’re so eager to win that quick fix and build our personal fortunes that we’ll sacrifice almost anything to do it. G-Tech is right over the border in Rhode Island. They service a good portion of the world’s lottery systems. Ironic, isn’t it, when you take into account that Rhode Island and Louisiana are in competition for the most corrupt state in the Union? We don’t need slot machines in Massachusetts and bringing them in just adds the Bay State to the corruption race. We need an overhaul of state government staring with the Governor and ending with every state legislator from Charlestown to Stockbridge.

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