I’ve got a new column in the LVBP, about the dubious morality (and even more dubious economics) of many states that legalize gambling:
There's a paradox here: Many states legalize gambling only to bring in revenue in lieu of raising taxes. When their citizens can't generate the kind of tax revenues state governments can't do without, gambling is the obvious fix. The only problem is, when people aren't spending on other things, they're not going to be gambling much, either.The whole model of legalizing for revenues and revenues alone is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
Read the whole piece if you like. What I’m doing is carrying the typical argument that “this is a business like any other” to its logical conclusion. If it really is, then artificially limited the market does everyone except a select few a great disservice.
Of course, I’m not the first person to say this. Peter Collins said it with a great deal more wit in his Gambling and the Public Interest.