Fleecing the Suckers

David Blankenhorn exposes the moral corruption that lies at the foundation of our culture’s gambling craze.

This class divide, when it comes to who is being fleeced by slot machines and who is benefiting in some ways from the fleecing, is the dirty little secret of state-sanctioned gambling today, and one of the deepest reasons for its bipartisan popularity among state politicians looking for ways to pay for state government without raising property taxes for the affluent.

Contrary to the claims of their political sponsors, the casinos now rapidly spreading across our country do not exist to provide jobs, grow the economy, or expand entertainment options for the American public. (Much research suggests that casinos do not contribute to economic growth over time, primarily because they don’t produce anything of value.) State leaders today in both red and blue states, from Mississippi to Massachusetts, are supporting casinos for one reason only: to take money from the vulnerable and unwary, overwhelmingly via slot machines, and deliver a large portion of that money to the state.

They should be ashamed of what they are doing. . . .

But they aren’t, and that’s the tragedy of our modern American political class. For all their stern lectures about income inequality, their only real concern is lining their own pockets.

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