Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 28, 2012

Betting on Texas

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

— So, the pro-casino folks are gearing up to promote gambling in Texas when the legislature comes back into session in January.

Personally, I like gambling, although I seldom do it. I don’t do fantasy football or baseball or fantasy celebrity dodge-ball (that would be the BEST fantasy sports game ever. Think about it.), although I buy the occasional lottery ticket and have been known to buy raffle tickets on various quilts.

But this whole notion of not having casinos in Texas is absurd.

Casino parking lots in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and even Mississippi are packed full of cars with Texas license plates, folks who have wasted good slot machine money to drive to another state to shovel money into those state’s coffers. Trust me on this: Not having casinos in our state doesn’t mean our people aren’t gambling.

And while the well-meaning Mrs. Grundys will argue that gambling causes social ills, such as addictions, that was a different time, Ma’am. If someone is a serious problem gambler in 2012, that person is on-line gambling his or her life’s savings away from the comfort of home, where the commute to hell is easier.

Look, I’m not going to wax poetic on all the stuff we could spend the money on, however, we are currently 50th among all the states in how much we spend per capita on mental health, just sayin’. But I would rather see our money spent here, rather than in Louisiana or Oklahoma.

A conservative estimate of allowing just a few “destination” casinos in Texas is $1 billion in new state revenues, mostly in up-front fees from casino operators, according to a report for the Texas legislature done in 2011. That doesn’t include the hotel taxes, the sales taxes and the jobs. That’s just the creamy delicious gravy.

Sure, government sometimes needs to take away some of my freedom to protect me from my own bad decision-making. For example, I wouldn’t wear a seatbelt if I weren’t afraid of tickets. Seatbelts are designed for tall men, and every seat belt I’ve ever owned has laid across my throat like a sword just waiting for the chance to cut off my melon in case of an accident. Consequently, I don’t find seat-belts comforting, but I wear one and acknowledge that it’s probably a good idea.

But this patronizing malarky where government thinks they should take away my decisions just in case I’m an idiot, when at least some evidence points to the contrary?

Back off, Bubba, I’m milking this cow, you just hold the head.

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Janet Jacobs is City Editor of the Corsicana Daily Sun. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” to this article? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com