Wednesday , February 28 2024
Less drinking, more gambling? There's no angle from which this makes sense.

Vice Capades: NYC to Gamble on Temperance

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is sure a funny guy. He’s so concerned with the health of the citizenry that, on the heels of campaigns targeting sugary drinks and smoking, he wants to cut back on the availability of alcoholic beverages at local stores. Yet, at the same time, he wants people to gamble more!oceans-11

Last month the Mayor indicated his support for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to bring a casino to Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, never to be outdone in enthusiasm for large, ill-thought-out projects, has lately suggested Coney Island as yet another new gambling mecca.

So…gambling? Totally cool. But drinking? Not so much. Specifically, a Health Department Request for Proposal includes the goal of “reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density.”

This push-me-pull-you vice squad thinking smacks of drunk and disorderly logic. If the goal is to improve health, shouldn’t the nannies-in-charge support that goal across the board? In what universe does it make sense to frown on alcohol consumption but encourage casino gambling? Both lead to addiction for some users. Both cost indulgers money better spent on other things.

Each is a well-weathered figure in the pantheon of old-time vices. And, to turn things around, both raise money for the government through taxes. There’s no angle from which this makes sense.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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