Gambling. I’ve been known to play the ponies, roll the bones and I know how to bet the flop, turn and river. I don’t go out of my way to gamble but if it is there, I’ll enjoy it. I am up quite a bit on the craps table and my wife just above even on roulette. Our last trip to Las Vegas (we went for a horse show – didn’t go there with gambling as the ultimate goal) we came home with $4 less cash than we took. Not gambling cash, all cash.

To me, those expenditures or winnings are entertainment and spent/won on entertainment dollars, not food, shelter, clothing, retirement or offering to church. I’m fortunate enough to have disposable entertainment income.

Lottery, a tax on people who are bad at math, is apparently a little different. I’ve purchased probably less than $20 on scratch-off or lottery in the past 20 years. A recent news release from the Texas Lottery shows the biggest downside – people who can’t afford it spend it. Could I use the money elsewhere? Sure. My entertainment budget is small. I have too many hobbies that take up my time and money to have a large entertainment fund.

The news release shows that the $50 scratch off ticket sells most in the state’s poorest neighborhoods. I’ve also been to casinos where it’s evident people just cashed their paychecks and went to the casino to strike it rich this time. The casinos in Vegas are huge, extravagant and get rebuilt every few years. How do you think they pay for those? They call it gambling but all odds are for the house. They exist to make money.

The article highlights the fact that the 10 poorest neighborhoods spent $2.4 million on the high-dollar scratch off as compared to only half that of the 10 riches neighborhoods in Texas. Per capita spending on the high-dollar tickets was $25 in the 10 poorest ZIP codes versus $18 in the 10 wealthiest.

Every time brining gaming to Texas comes to the state legislature, I fight against it. Yeah, it’s kinda hypocritical because I’d probably go to a casino if it were here but I do think it is bad for society and hurts those that cannot afford it.

Gambling on Gaming

Christian Life Commission on Gaming

Who Profits from Gambling?