Thursday, September 04, 2008

In This Months Business Monthly

Inspiration for this month’s column actually came from a post written by fellow Howard County blogger, Freemarket. In this post, Freemarket took aim at Delegate Gail Bates for opposing the slots initiative because of her religious beliefs. Upon reflection I concluded that I am okay with Delegate Bates, and any other elected official for that matter, using their religion as a guide for their legislative decisions as long as these officials make that clear. It is up to the voters then to decide whether that is an appropriate guide or not. That’s the way I see it anyway.

More concerning to me is the legislator that seemingly has no guide outside of the weathervane of political winds. In my mind, Delegate Shane Pendergrass fits that description. In an article last month by Larry Carson in the Sun, Delegate Pendergrass was described as being “not sure how she will vote” in the upcoming referendum.

Shane has served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 1995. The debate over slot machines in the Maryland has been going almost as long. It seems safe to assume that she has been exposed to voluminous amounts of information on this issue, certainly much more than the average citizen. Is it unreasonable to expect her to have reached a conclusion on whether she supports this issue or not?

I don’t think so.

I will be voting against the slots initiative but not because I oppose gambling. I would actually support a measure that allowed full casino gambling. Slot machines have been called the “crack cocaine” of gambling. They don’t require the slots player to do much more than insert a coin and push a button. It is akin to sitting and watching television. No real thinking is required. At least the casino games like blackjack and craps offer some challenge for your mind. If you really want to learn more about the world of slot machines I highly recommend this article from the New York Times Magazine.

I was also inspired by this excellent column by Jay Hancock in the Sun. Jay asserts that slots in the state will “hurt economic growth and the collection of other taxes.”

You can read this month’s column here.


Freemarket said...

I fully expect a share of your fee since I inspired that column. Unless you blew it all in the slot machines already ;-)

Anonymous said...

I read the article which Freemarket wrote about Gail Bates and I don't agree with his assertion that "gambling only harms the one who loses his money" concept. I happened to see a crimestopper type show recently which involved a wife and mother who gambled, spent the savings, maxed out the credit cards, spent the equity in the house, stole from her employer and was arrested one evening while eating dinner with her family. The family didn't have a clue she gambled. The point is that other people do suffer. Casinos have posted "If you think you have a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER" so that someone who realized they need help can get help.
I have been known to take a trip or two to Atlantic City and enjoy it tremendously. But I agree with you WB, slots are the lowest form of stealing a gamblers money. You need to have some input other than a coin in the machine.
Table games or even the throw of dice are more statistically or mathematically sound than a computer chip that can be tampered with. After all, look at the Maryland State Keno. It's payoff to the average player is deplorable. I wonder what the odds of winning really are...
Slots for Maryland would be a terrible idea whether it is based on religious, philosophical, or practical reasons. Casinos might keep some money in Maryland which the state can tax. When the referendum comes up, as a gambler for pleasure, I will side with Gail Bates and vote "no" unequivocably. At least Gail Bates is standing up with the courage of her religious convictions whether I would agree with them or not.

Freemarket said...

Happy Hunting- although I disagree with you, at least you managed to lay out several reasons as to why the State should regulate slots that weren't based on what it says in some spirit book. Gail Bates did not do that. She should not be commended for ramming her ridiculous religion down our throats.

Anonymous said...

"should not be commended for ramming her ridiculous religion down our throats" is a keeper. She hasn't obstructed my throat with her personal religious belief and I doubt that she has any intention of changing your mind either. She is simply voting her own personal conscience whether you agree with her or not. Lighten up and smell the roses.

Freemarket said...

She is strongly opposed to gay marriage for no other reason than what it says in Leviticus. Don't tell me that she is not obstructing the rights of others. As anyone who has seen my wardrobe can attest, I am not gay. However, I find it appalling that politicians will legislate what others do based on spirit books.

Wake up and smell the coffee after you're done smelling the roses, HH.

Anonymous said...


I agree with this blog host probably for the first time.

Yes, those who won't lead or represent are maddening.

AND Jay Hancock has a great column each week.

Anonymous said...

We may not agree with our legislators for a lot of reasons. If that's the case, let's vote them out of office and elect people who better reflect our own opinions and values.