Luckily not here in North Carolina (but not because of a lack of desire by our Lottery Commissioner).
In Kansas, the state is going to own and operate full-fledged gambling casino establishments and they are able to do so by operating them under the state’s lottery.
It’s about to get into the casino business, not merely by blessing gambling and taxing the profits but by becoming the legal owner of the casinos themselves.
Kansas is believed to be the only state with such an arrangement. It already has four Indian casinos, but its first non-tribal one is set to open in December in Dodge City, the former cowtown and setting of television’s “Gunsmoke.”
Now, think back to the debate on the legalization of video poker here in North Carolina earlier this year and Lottery Commissioner Tom Shaheen’s comments on such: “he (Shaheen) told them that any legalized video poker should be run under the lottery.”
So Kansas is charting the path that our lottery guys are salivating to get their hands on. North Carolina’s adventure into owning another entire industry can’t be far off.
My big problem with this is not the gambling (I think you should be able to do whatever you want with your own money), my problem is with the state-run enterprise that doesn’t allow competition. Casinos are kept honest through competition, through one place offering better odds or better amenities than the other. Having the state run the enterprise will just further expand government bureaucracy and prove inefficient. Private casinos have a profit motive to keep expenses in check, the government knows of no such bounds.
Just file this one away, I’m sure we’ll see it again in a legislative session soon.