Are Slots a Net Benefit to Communities?

I’m a Maryland voter. On the big-ticket issues I’ve already made up my mind, but on “Question 2” I’m undecided. Maryland wants to introduce legalized slots gambling to the failing horse-racing industry. The funds will go towards education, but also towards subsidizing the horse racing.

I live in a neighborhood that’s pretty distressed, and I’d like to see it bounce back. If Question 2 is going to make education better in my neighborhood, I’ll vote for it. But if it’s going to add token funding increases and also increase crime, I’d rather vote against it. My problem is that both arguments seem plausible and I haven’t seen any studies demonstrating the effects of legal slots on regional crime and education.

SDMB has the power to convince me to vote Yea or Neigh. Do your worst!

I’ll say, IMHO, no net benefit. Some money will indeed go to education, as it did here in California from our lottery proceeds. Not enough money to mean a lot, at the end of the day, and arguably the new money that came to education simply replaced other money that now goes to other budget items.

I don’t know about slots by themselves, but look around at all the Indian casinos that have sprung up over the last many years. They’ve possibly had some good results for some tribal members, but not uniformly, from what I can tell.

Has legalized gambling made Atlantic City into a better place? I’ve never been there, but I’ve been told the results are pretty mixed. Would more kinds of gambling there make much difference? Doubtful.

They are particularly evil. In Australia, which in my state, is awash with slots (pokies here) the highest revenues are generated in the least financially well off areas. 85% of problem gamblers lose their money on pokies. I’ll provide a couple of links

a politician who doesn’t like them

Socioeconomic Banditry

Slots are just another way to distribute money.

Almost all of the money generated by slots comes from ordinary people, or poor people.

Almost all of the money generated by slots goes to a small group of intensely wealthy people.

A small portion of the money generated by slots goes to the government to fund education and horse racing, or whatever.

Just look at it from that perspective when you’re deciding. Voting yes will make a small number of people exceedingly rich, ruin a few peoples lives, make lots and lots of people poorer, and give the government a bit of extra cash. I would vote no.

A good place to start would be directly north of you. Pennsylvania recently legalized slot machines, and we have had no end to the corruption since, and little of the return that was promised.

It’s great that 48% of the take would go to education, but my understanding is that in other jurisdictions that have dedicated lottery or other gambling proceeds to education, education funding from the general fund has gotten cut substantially, so it’s more or less a wash for education.

And I continue to not see why any of this potential revenue stream should be dedicated to the Maryland racing industry. 7% of the take would go for racing prize money, and another 2.5% would go to improving the racetrack facilities.

The UK National Lottery has been running for a few years now.
It’s a goldmine for the operators and the Government. (As usual with Governments, you probably share my opinion about how well they spend it.)

As Mosier says “Voting yes will make a small number of people exceedingly rich, ruin a few peoples lives, make lots and lots of people poorer, and give the government a bit of extra cash.”

I’m no longer in Maryland, but I’d be in favor of it, just on the general principle that it’s not the government’s business to keep adults from ruining their lives by doing something they want to do. If there is a demand to play slots, people should be able to play slots. I’m against restrictions on the sales of alcohol and tobacco (other than saying you can’t sell them to minors) for the same reason.

All of it comes from people who want to play slots. Who are we to tell them they can’t spend their money the way they want?

When you win at gambling, whether it be slots or poker or the state lotterey you’re not taking the casino’s money or the government’s money, you’re taking it from those poor schmucks you see standing in line every time the jackpot bets big.
Encouraging gambling is encouraging people to take advantage of one another.
When the state promotes gambling by allowing casinos to wrap it in “taxes for education” they just make it easier for us to rationalize.

It’s human nature to gamble, it’ll never go away, but I think it’s wrong for the state to promote it.

I think it depends on the the location of legal slot machines. If lots of Marylanders are driving across state lines to play slots already, Maryland is getting quite a bit of the negative externalities associated with gambling, but none of the positives, so they may as well legalize.

In Omaha, for example, the Iowa side has full bore casinos right across the river from Nebraska. I think Nebraska should legalize casinos along their side of the river, which would be built only a few hundred meters from the casinos already in Iowa. May as well keep some of the money in the state.