I'm old enough to remember when Maryland didn't even have a state lottery. I remember the establishment of "The Numbers Game" (now called "Pick 3" and "Pick 4") in the 70s, obstensibly, so that the state could fight the illegal, underground numbers games that were going on in the state. The horse racing industry (thoroughbred and harness racing) were very strong in Maryland at the time, but in came the lottery, meant to "clean up" the state's gaming industry. And, of course, to raise revenue for the state that would be used for other things. Such as schools.
Over the decades, legalized gambling through the lottery in Maryland did nothing but grow. Scratch-off lottery "instant winner" cards. Lotto. The Big Game. Keno. Powerball. Each and every gaming initiative, sold to the people of Maryland to raise money for important state needs. Such as schools.
And as the horse racing industry has declined in Maryland, the gaming industry has again diversified. Off track betting. And, eventually, at the start of the current decade, the advent of casino gambling in Maryland. First slots, then table games as well. Now at six locations across the state. All, to raise millions and millions of dollars for essential state needs. Such as schools.
We're not yet maxed out in terms of the state's capacity for casino gambling. Maryland doesn't currently have betting on sports events, for example. And I'm not writing this to say I hate the casinos. I've been to three of the state's casinos, all more than once, to gamble, and likely will visit two more during this year. If you want to gamble, so be it, in my book.
But-- state governments of both parties are guilty of the charade that monies earned through gambling revenue-- from the lottery to the current dawn of the casino era-- are going to the needs their revenues were purported to aid. Especially school aid.
So the latest news that casino revenues aren't reaching the local school systems comes as a surprise to some. But it shouldn't. It's been a falsehood told Marylanders for many, many years.
The only surprise I feel about this entire state of affairs is, why aren't more people upset about this? And why aren't more people demanding better of their state leaders? And "telling the truth" shouldn't equate to demanding better, but in this case, it does.
Let's be careful out there.
#mdpolitics #mdlottery #mdcasinos #mdbudget #mdga2016