Gambling revenue not same as taxes
As Minnesota’s Legislature ponders the intricacies of getting a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings built, and how to pay for it, the issue of increasing gambling revenues keeps coming up.
Racino backers want the state to allow slot machines at the state’s two horse racing tracks. Some propose allowing a partnership between the state and Indian tribes, allowing the tribes to build a casino in downtown Minneapolis. Others say let’s just build our own casinos. Still others propose electronic pulltabs and other kinds of gambling.
There are some objections to this idea. Some say conservative legislators would violate their pledges not to raise taxes for any reason whatsoever. Some legislators say that gambling revenue is not really a tax, since no one is forcing anyone to gamble. Government levies income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes that we have to pay, but gambling is purely voluntary.
It’s true, government is not making anyone gamble by buying lottery tickets or putting money in slot machines or buying pulltabs. They are enticing people to give up their money, whipping up their hopes of big jackpots while minimizing the long, long odds of winning.
We realize people are not averse to this, and it may be the most painless way of raising revenue for a stadium, but let’s not confuse taxes and gambling revenue. Levying taxes is a much more honorable practice.
— The Journal of New Ulm