Maryland’s condescending paternalism

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Of course, I tend to believe that individuals are best fit to sort out their own lives, without the government telling you or coercing you into how you should live — whether that’s regulating fast food or telling a business whether they should allow smoking or not.

When it comes to gambling, I have no qualms. When it comes to elected officials telling their serfs constituents what’s best to the Washington Examiner… well, I have a problem with that:

Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s, called the bill “way, way premature,” saying lawmakers have yet to see any effect from slots — like a rise in crime or prostitution — since none of the approved slot machine parlors is open. He said table games would tempt Maryland’s poor to dump their savings on gambling, more so than slots.

“It’s like putting crack cocaine in front of a recovering drug addict,” Pinksy said. “You don’t do that.”

First, you have an entire economy driven towards forcing people to spend and disincentivizing the poor or anyone else from saving their money. Why put $20 in the bank for 1.5% interest? That doesn’t even beat the rate of inflation!

Second — and perhaps most galling — is that no legislator has this crystal ball to predict, cajole, steer, or even recommend the actions of the people who elected them. That’s not their job.

Riverboat gambling in Virginia last saw the light of day in 1994, when it was roundly defeated. Yet the revenues from such enterprises are unmistakably positive for every state that has enacted them. Many gambling facilities and casinos, whether old school brick and mortar casinos or the newer online casino alternatives such as as just one example, often tend to take in a lot of money as profit. The states that have made gambling illegal won’t be able to benefit from taxed and regulated profits from legal and licensed gambling game providers such as these if you were to try and find a selection of some of your favorite casino games. Perhaps it’s time we open up the debate again about which businesses are permissible — and whether government has the right to restrict those businesses — and which ones are verboten in the cradle of liberty?

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