Government loves gambling
by Mark Luedtke
Last week we saw government’s love of gambling in action as we watched the fervor over the Powerball jackpot. It started at $450 million, but as government propagandists advertised it, it jumped to $500 million and then topped $550 million. Politicians were salivating at getting their hands on their cut of that pot. Walk into a gas station and look at the big, colorful racks of Ohio Lottery tickets for sale. All that’s missing from the casino experience is flashing lights and a lever. They should make an electronic dispenser where a gambler can pick the tickets he wants on a slot machine-like screen then pull the lever and have them dispensed to provide a more casino-like experience.
Michael Rozeff explains that, when operating lotteries, the government is acting as a business: “The states are acting like businesses when they improve their distribution methods by offering lottery tickets in convenient locations like supermarkets and gas stations. Minnesota is innovating with ticketless sales with debits and credits done electronically to one’s accounts.”
At the same time, developers are opening casinos and racinos all over Ohio. Clearly, the government loves gambling.
On the other hand, government also breaks up gambling rings. In May 2010, Dayton Vice Police broke up gambling game in the 1700 block of Springfield Street. This was the culmination of a six-month-long undercover investigation. For people who don’t understand the nature of government, this might seem like the height of hypocrisy.
Murray Rothbard called the state a “gang of thieves writ large.” In his essay “The Anatomy of the State,” Rothbard wrote, “The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively ‘peaceful’ the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a ‘social contract’; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation.”
You can think of the state as a super-mafia. The state has become such a successful criminal organization it has even taken control of the legislative process so it can legalize its crimes. For example, legislatures legalize theft as long as it’s carried out by its agents, and it calls it taxes. Legislatures legalize aggression as long as it’s carried out by its agents, and it calls it regulation.
Once you view the state as an organized crime group, its behavior towards gambling makes sense. Mobsters always demand a piece of the action for gambling in their territory. The state mob is doing the same. As Rozeff describes, “[Government-controlled gambling] has nothing to do with taxation or with state-controlled morality and everything to do with monopoly and the prevention of free trade.”
Government’s coercive control of gambling creates conflicts. If you want to open a gambling business, your gambling operation might cut into the profits of the established gambling houses. In a free marketplace, consumers would peacefully choose which business to patronize. Businesses that provide the better product would flourish and others would go bankrupt. Consumers would decide who succeeded and who failed.
However, because of the coercive nature of the state, existing businesses – the casino lobby – would mobilize their tremendous resources to lobby the government to prevent you from opening a gambling business. The state mob would threaten you with violence if you tried to enter the market unless you gave them more money than the casino lobby. If you did, then the state mob would support and protect your business. This is a classic protection racket.
This is the reason government bans Internet gambling. Because Internet gambling sites are located outside the country, the state mob can’t get a piece of action. Radley Balko explains the serious problems this creates for the government: “The problem is that the law carves out exemptions for some forms of gambling, such as state lotteries and domestic horse racing, while banning most other forms, most notably poker, the most popular form of online wagering. The most popular online poker sites are all based overseas, where online gambling is legal. This gave rise to the trade dispute between the U.S. and most of the rest of the western world.”
And this is no cheap trade dispute, “The U.S. Trade Office won’t release the terms of the settlement, an odd development itself given that the settlement involves U.S. tax dollars, was negotiated by employees of the U.S. government and isn’t likely to involve any information related to national security. But most experts believe that given the immense popularity of online poker, and the fact that America is home not only to most of the world’s poker players, but also the wealthiest, the settlement was likely in the tens of billions of dollars.”
The U.S. government is stealing tens of billions of dollars from taxpayers to settle trade disputes in order to maintain its monopoly on gambling in the U.S.
Locally, Huber Heights is giving a piece of property to a Kentucky developer near the coming Needmore racino. They didn’t hold an auction. No local developers were able to bid on that property. This illustrates the lengths to which the state mob will go to keep its monopoly power over gambling.
The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com