The second part of the so-called sin tax triad that we'll talk about today is gambling.
We all gamble in some way, shape or form. Whether its between friends, a football pool (popular in my neck of the woods), lottery, casinos, bookies, etc., it doesn't matter what the event is, we will gamble on it. It's sort of in our genetics, kind of like a bad social gene. Most of the time, we have fun with it and don't thing about the consequences.
Note: I will not get preachy about gambling here, because I do play the lottery, numbers and Powerball. If you can control it, more power to you. If you can't, there are programs that can help you. There are also people who are more than willing to put you into permanent traction because you can't control it as well.
For politicians, gambling is the perpetual Free Money Friday. Why? Because on both sides of the political spectrum, politicians are incapable of fiscal restraint. Instead of actually doing something for the people that elected them (i.e. curb spending, reduce expenditures, increase revenue, help business create jobs, etc.), they want to either maintain the status quo or, sadly, increase the deficit spending.
And what better way to do that, than to have all kinds of state sanctioned gambling for people to blow their hard earned money on.
Today, I would like to offer the wonderful state of Connecticut on how the insidiousness of state sanctioned gambling has permanently affected our economic engines. And I'll bring a unique perspective to this issue, because I've seen it grow from the ground level as a retailer and as a customer.
State sanctioned gambling was first introduced on our state by the first female guv'nor in CT (a Democrat) in the mid-70's, and she got it to pass the legislature with that time honored tradition of saying that the revenue was for "education" (major lie). For the first decade or so, it was just a weekly game, with winners randomly drawn to participate in the larger pie-in-the-sky monthly drawings. By the mid-80's, the weekly was replaced by numbers and instants.
With the instants, they first had 1 new game at a time being played. By the turn of the decade (90's), they had more than one going at the same time. That was followed by such things as forcing retailers carry both numbers and instants (previously you could go either or), bar codes on tickets, multiple games in price ranging from $1 to $30, and finally, cash lotto, lotto and Powerball.
Currently in our state, there are roughly 50+ instant games going on at the same time, as well as numbers (daily and nightly), and five other kinds of computer games.
Just to give you a idea on how much a cash cow state sanctioned gambling is, let me give you an example of what an average $1 instant game generates for the state:
1} An average printing run for a game is roughly 6,000,000 tickets.
2} Out of that 6,000,000 ticket run, they paid out a nicker per to retailers for commission, which is $300K.
3} Total prizes awarded is on average, say $500K. That means a top prize of $100K with the remainder being parceled out in dollar values from a free ticket to about $50K.
4} That leaves a net profit of $5.2 million that goes to the state coffers. Money that more than likely, you will never see trickle down to you.
More food for thought: All electronic games (e.g numbers and Powerball) generate even more money to the state. About five years ago, the state cut the commission paid to retailers by 25%, with the reason being they wanted to "balance the budget".
So here in Connecticut, for every ticket that you purchase from a machine, the retailer will earn a flat rate of three cents per number ticket and a nickel per lotto/Powerball ticket. The rest goes to the guv'ment, and in the case of Powerball, the state of Iowa.
Free Money Friday, in the form of state-sanctioned gambling, means that politicians never, ever, ever have to go through the process of fiscal responsibility, because so long as dolts like you and me, spend our hard-earned money on this garbage, the less we have the right to squawk about.
Or, do we?
Up next: More Free Money Friday, in the form of Native American Sovereign Nation Casino Gambling, or for those of you who don't have any Native American Sovereign Nations, State Sanctioned Casino Gambling.
(c) 2015 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.