Video gambling industry wins again

And they seem to be holding all the cards:

Once again, the gaming industry is holding three aces, while the lawmakers who tried to prevent our state from being overrun with video gambling establishments has been dealt a bum hand. Two Court of Appeals judges and the gaming industry say the law is a violation of free speech.

This is turning into a bad joke. After blatantly violating state law designed to protect citizens, and then using the proceeds from said criminal behavior to buy off lawmakers like Thom Tillis, the gaming industry is turning our legal system into an embarassment.

The gaming industry already has ever-so-generously offered to draft the regulations and enforce them. Its lobbyists should not be permitted to write the rules, and if the industry must be represented on a regulator board, its representatives should under no circumstances be allowed to comprise a majority of members. If the industry wants regulation and taxation, so be it – regulations backed by North Carolina residents, not the people who stand to gain the most from other people's gambling habits.

Sorry, but we're living in a free-market nightmare right now. The money flows from the pockets of the poor right into the campaign coffers of elected officials, via out-of-state gambling concerns. And they're not likely to cut off that flow anytime soon.


Looking at this wrong

"The money flows from the pockets of the poor right into the campaign coffers of elected officials..." Nobody is making people gamble. You are assuming that poor people are stupid and unable to make a decision for themselves. I'm sorry, but that is a weak argument for banning an activity that people want. Ban machines and people will have back room poker games, roll dice outside or play in black market games. What has that accomplished? You can't legislate morality, so open up the market and one or two shady companies won't be the only entities with influence and money in this market. Besides if gambling is so bad why does our state government own a monopoly on it in the form of lotteries? Yeah, hard to argue that point.

Government bans or regulates an activity and that weeds out all the small competitors creating the perfect environment for cronyism. I'm sorry but a major part of the problem is that you allow government to control or regulate an activity and then complain when politicians use that power and influence to partake in cronyism.

You may be right

Opening up the video gaming market to all comers would (theoretically) weed out the shysters when players choose the more "fair" vendors. And I'm not a big fan of the state's lottery business, either. But at least it's returning some of those dollars back to the community, as opposed to money flowing (under the table) to out-of-state Internet sweepstakes companies.

But all that aside, it doesn't change the fact that companies are buying legislation in our General Assembly. Video gamers, payday lenders, real estate brokers, etc.

You can live in your free market fantasy world where that behavior is merely a "symptom" of a broken system, and those poor elected officials are just reacting to a bad situation, but I live in the real world. A world where politicians have to take responsibility for their actions.

I don't mind the State having

I don't mind the State having a lottery, but I DO mind the way it was legislated into being. Next time, I see Tillis...think I'll ask him why his party was so opposed to it then....but won't move to repeal it now.

Who is living in the Fantasy World?

I believe that politicians are untrustworthy and generally corrupt and so I wish to limit their influence and authority by limiting the the laws they pass and the voluntary consensual activities (such as gambling) they outlaw. How is that fantasyland? I think giving the government authority over all aspects of our lives and then complaining when the people holding that authority (such as Tillis) take advantage and abuse that authority is fantasy. People almost always act in their own self interest. So, if that is the case limit the power they wield by limiting the most powerful (and most corrupt) of all institutions -- government. If gambling were legal Tillis would not be getting a dime from video poker companies. That is a realistic solution. Banning gambling for the private sector and then expecting politicians to be responsible is the fantasy!

Also, the lottery is played almost exclusively by poor people. So, how is the government not preying on them if I use your logic? AND the money collected from the lottery goes to education, sure but they also then cut funding to education from other sources. All government money is fungible, so you arent financing education, you are financing the most corrupt and wasteful of all companies - government. I have to say, the mainstream liberal logic with respect to government, gambling and business is neither consistent nor logical. In fact it is just as illogical as the conservative view of gay marriage and military spending.

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Look, the only reason

you can tag government with the "most corrupt" label is because we don't look at private industry with the same lens. If a vendor (or other interest) throws money at someone on the Board of Directors to get a contract, or that same Board votes to award themselves multi-million-dollar bonuses while the company slides into bankruptcy, we call that "business".

I'm not trying to condone or rationalize government corruption, but they're the only ones who can actually be corrupt. Saying that government is the most corrupt entity is like saying dogs are the biggest perpetrators of dog bites.

As far as limiting the power of government, you won't see that happening anytime soon. Republicans (especially in the NCGA) like to claim they do that, but all they've really done is shift power from the Executive to the Legislative. Take away power from the Governor's administration and put it under their own pens. That's not limiting power, it's grabbing it.

And when they share that power with monied (private) interests, whether through ALEC or other bill-writing corporate lobbyists, they're actually taking power away from the people and putting it in the hands of for-profit businesses. That's not small government, it's government for sale to the highest bidder.

Cronyism requires government

All your reasons about the GOP are why I am not a Republican. I am Libertarian. Companies that misbehave or are corrupt in a free market will eventually go out of business. At the very least you can avoid doing business with them. I don't disagree your critique of business or the GOP; HOWEVER, you neglect one major flaw to your argument about government power - without government, private companies would not have the influence and power you rightly point out. Without politicians to give them advantages their influence shrinks exponentially! Hate Walmart/Exxon all you want, but remove their preferential treatment and they need to offer consumers a better product to succeed. Even if they are successful to your dislike, you can just simply not shop there. A true free market will allow competitors to enter. Government regulation is without a doubt the largest barrier to entrance into business.

If gambling is legalized and the power of politicians over the industry is reduced, what power really does the video gaming company have over you if you don't buy their stock and don't play their games?? The politician will not allow you to "opt out" or shop elsewhere of their taxation or laws. In fact, if Walmart throws you in jail for speaking ill of them, they are prosecuted for kidnapping. If our government does it, it is called "protecting us from terrorists or right-wing extremists or muslims or tax evasion or insert hyperbolic enemy here". And now they don't even need a warrant for that thanks to the Obama/Dem/GOP supported Patriot Act!!

Cronyism requires government. That is what many many liberals fail to understand. I always ask, would you rather have a few honest cops that protect you from a few major threats (murder, theft, fraud) or lots of them in who are in bed with and influenced by the criminals?

Question related to this:

Companies that misbehave or are corrupt in a free market will eventually go out of business.

If you really believe that, then I'm sure you have no problem with the movement to boycott Art Pope's stores like Maxway and Roses? If you don't know to what I'm referring, click the little green box down at the bottom of the page on the right.


I am firmly in favor of boycotting as a non-violent and non-coercive way to make change and punish businesses that operate unfairly. Personally, I don't shop there anyway, so it is hard to boycott a place I never use and I do not like Art Pope because of his bigotry and big government antics with respect to Amendment One (and plenty of other things). In addition to that, I dislike him for the bad name he gives libertarians. He calls himself a libertarian (occasionally) but is actually a solid right wing Christian Conservative. One thing to remember about guys like Pope is that is you severely limit the authority we give elected officials like Thillis, you take a lot of the bullets out of Pope's gun. Take the ability to regulate (which is typically where most corruption comes from) gambling away from Thillis and Pope now loses the major avenue for influence on this issue. Further take away Thillis' ability to push tax breaks for businesses, government subsidies, and special permits etc and Pope becomes just another guy with a lot of money but alot less influence.

I think see both sides of this.

On the one hand I agree with what Steve's saying about the industry writing the rules and regulating itself. That's never a good idea whether we're talking about video poker or ice cream sandwiches. Regulators should always be disinterested third parties whenever possible.

On the other hand, rules against gambling - like rules against self-medication or prostitution - are attempts by one group to control another through legislated morality, and that never works out well.

If people are dumb enough to waster their meager funds on such things let them, and if it's a legal, regulated industry at least some of that money will flow back into the state coffers. Intervention and a education will always produce better results than prohibition and incarceration.

We can't fix stupid, but at least when it's out in the open we have a better chance at damage control.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail