The Next Prohibition: Casinos?

Includes: BYD, HET, LVS, MGM, WYNN
by: Myron Shlapak

In the bad old days, there was Prohibition of Alcohol, which was blamed for all manners of Sins and Moral decay. To some degree that was true, as Alcoholism is a very serious problem/illness and does severely impact those closely associated with it. Even to this day Alcoholics Anonymous is probably one of the most consistently growing organizations worldwide.

There is a new "Daemon Rum" on the Horizon though. This Daemon is much more powerful than the old one and has slowly worked it way through society to the point where it is considered a good neighbor and beneficial industry. Even religious organizations cater to this Daemon and our politicians look to it to aid education and our Senior Citizens, as well as assist in balancing budgets without raising unpopular taxes.

The Casino Industry, which I personally support on an almost daily basis, has grown to the point where gambling halls are almost as prevalent as State Lottery outlets. Who has not heard the stories of people buying a $1.00 lottery ticket and winning a million? Or the recent $750,000.00 winner of a Slingo Jackpot who came too early to buy his girlfriend a pair of designer jeans and picked the right 2cent slot machine to play.

What benefit does a Casino bring to society, other than entertainment and the occasional Cinderella story?

  1. The casino industry provides many-high paying construction jobs.
  2. The casino industry employs thousands of people directly and many more thousands indirectly, through the furniture, food, gaming, transportation and entertainment sub-sectors.
  3. The casino industry provides significant revenues to the hosting communities through taxes and secondary commerce.
  4. The casino industry provides uplift to the over-all community by encouraging new development.

The detriments of the casino industry are many as well, similar to those we see with Alcoholism. Gambling is addictive.

  1. The casino industry uses resources, financial and manpower, that could have been spent on more productive endeavors, such as building better widgets.
  2. The casino industry encourages people to gamble by offering various promotions such as free rooms or even cash.
  3. The casino industry raises surrounding property values impacting those with low or fixed incomes when property values are reassessed for property taxes.
  4. The casino industry indirectly promotes local crime, for as Willie Sutton said, when asked why he robbed banks, "That is where the money is."

The backlash as people lose their homes due to non-payment of mortgages, taxes or maintenance will grow. Some will blame the Daemon Gambling Halls as the cause of this. Should this start appearing in editorials or the pulpit you will know that it will soon be making an appearance on the ballot as well. Nevada Casinos will continue unhindered as they have a long history of legal gaming. But the Riverboat casinos and the new Racinos may find that they are banned by public opinion and are forced to close their doors as laws are rewritten. The Indian Reservation casinos may not be impacted as they are considered a sovereign nation. But if the local state outlaws all gambling, including lotteries, then they are in the same boat.