Wednesday, October 7, 2009

MN Lottery sales go up and expect a push for more gambling in Minnesota.

The Minnesota state lottery reports record sales of lottery tickets, $481 million sold in fiscal year 2009. And a record $123 million going into the state's coffers. The result? Expect a push for more gambling in Minnesota.

Reasons there will be a big push for expanding gambling in the state are the state's ongoing budget deficit and the need for a new Vikings' stadium. One's already hearing on sports talk radio, the answer to building a new Viking stadium is one arm bandits. And Rep. Tom Hackbarth recently proposed a constitutional amendment to place slot machines at the horse race tracks. This would put the Vikings and the NFL in a tough spot, because the league is very nervous about any link between football and gambling. If this were to pass, it would mean gambling efforts directly subsidizing a NFL football team.

Beyond those issues, gambling is simply a bad idea. We already have too much gambling in Minnesota. Gambling constitutes a tax on the poor who gamble in disproportionate numbers to others in society. And the social costs far outweigh any social benefits, e.g. crime, family break-up to mention a few. It's a corrupting influence on society and should be rolled back not expanded.

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