Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 15, 2013

CONFER: Proposition 1 is a losing bet

Niagara Gazette — This November there will be six statewide propositions on New York ballots. Over the next three weeks, I will give you the background – and my two cents – on each, so you can go to the polls prepared to make an informed decision rather than being caught off guard by what’s on the screen before you.

The first of the ballot items is also the most well-known and, for some, the most controversial of the bunch. Prop 1 would allow for the creation of seven casinos across the state, including four upstate.

Gov. Cuomo and company believe the gambling resorts will be the panacea for what ails our moribund economy, so much so that they worded the official ballot text in an overly positive (I would say manipulative) way, indicating the casinos would serve the “… purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated.”

As a libertarian, I am not offended by casinos or the act of gambling — it’s a free country, people can do with their hard-earned dollars what they darn well please, even if it consists of giving it to “the House.”

Even so, I will be voting against the measure. I disagree wholeheartedly with the belief that it will benefit the economy.

A casino doesn’t create wealth like a mine, farm, factory or department store does. It takes it away from participants and gives them nothing in return. There is no product created, no actual service rendered. Gambling is a wealth transfer, a sort of tax or penalty on the poor (who are hoping for the best in an effort to get out of their financial situation) and the very rich (high rollers with money to blow) with the casino and state coffers as the beneficiaries.

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