It’s time for gambling equality in Indiana
Whether gambling happens on a riverboat, a resort, or at a racino, there is no significant operational distinction to quibble about. Given this lack of significant distinction, it’s time for gambling equality between all these establishments.
Personally, I don’t really care whether we have any gambling establishments at all or if we have tens of thousands of them (we do to some degree, by the way, given the popularity and availability of state lottery tickets). I don’t really gamble so it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve always found it to be a novelty at best, and an abuse of perfectly good resources at worst. And although there are certainly some negative externalities to be considered when the wrong people gamble, especially too many of them in one community, we cannot allow ourselves to have a nanny state making ridiculous distinctions between establishments and telling people what is best for them.
This sentiment is amplified given Ohio’s recent moves to allow more types of gambling at gambling establishments. We have yet to see conclusive data, but it’s reasonable to assume Ohio will drain customers who want more variety in the same place away from Indiana establishments. Add to that Ohio’s moves to cater to nonsmoking gamblers, and Indiana’s racinos may face quite the challenge. Jobs are on the line and this issue is definitely not as complicated as some would have you believe.
This brings us to some key questions we need to answer going forward:
1) Do we really want to waste more time nitpicking the differences between gambling establishments, or are we better off just treating them all equally, giving each location the full array of gambling options that Hoosiers condone?
2) Don’t we play a game of picking winners and losers by not leveling the playing field for gambling establishments? Doesn’t it seem artificial and unreasonable to tell some gambling establishments that they can have certain games and tell others that they cannot?
3) Don’t we want to give a simple yes to the jobs that live table games will create and move on to more important issues?
4) Can’t this be the first step to revisiting many of Indiana’s gaming policies? Matthew Tully may actually raise a good point when talking about too much gambling influence during the legislative sessions, so perhaps the next step can be to pass laws that treat all gambling establishments equally when it comes to lobbying restrictions. Furthermore, we should also consider moving gambling revenues out of the general fund so we are not dependent on them.
With all due respect to the very well-intentioned opponents to “expanded gambling” in Indiana (some of them are here at HoosierAccess), gambling is gambling no matter where it takes place and no matter what the variety of gambling games. Whether it’s wagering on prize fights, sporting events, horses, dogs, pull tabs, slot machines, live tables games, or any other form of gambling, it’s not worth Hoosiers’ time to split hairs on why places like racinos shouldn’t have live table games. It’s time for gambling equality in Indiana and then we can more easily find ways to move on to bigger issues.