In many ways, the US has the best and the worst system of federal and state governments in the world. Arguably it has the qualities of being the best because, even though its a two-horse race, theres enough of a difference between the political intentions of the successful candidates to make life interesting. But its one of the worst because of the level of corruption in the lawmaking following elections. Money speaks loud behind the scenes with different lobbying groups pressuring the elected representatives to deliver on the promises they made to get the campaign funds. For these purposes, it makes no difference which party you look at. All the individuals at every level in the political system depend on “donations” to get elected. When it comes to the world of gambling, the politics get particularly complicated. For individual states, the revenue derived from the different forms of licensed gambling helps avoid complete financial meltdown. Yes, theres a recession, but this has only slowed the flow of money into gambling. Unlike other sources of tax revenue, the gamblers of America are helping balance budgets. But there are different interested parties. In one corner stand the real world casino operators who want the least possible regulation on their activities. Their group is not united because the casinos on Indian land have advantages and, some say, represent unfair competition. We should not forget the other sites who can get licences to run slots. In another corner stand the racing interests. They are long-standing political players and also want the maximum freedom to run their own betting operations with the least interference from states. This blurs into another group that runs betting operations on other sporting events. While a more distant group runs online casinos.
As an example of the conflict of interests, lets go to Massachusetts where theres a new bill in the state House to establish two new real world casinos. As always, the declared intention is to generate more revenue for the state. To maintain a monopoly for the land-based casino operations, the bill proposes to criminalize all online gambling. It will be an offense for any resident of Massachusetts to place or accept a wager placed by a telecommunication device, no matter where they may be located. You will realize, of course, this includes all telephone betting and would hit the racing and sports betting operations. Not surprisingly, this has stirred up an intense lobbying exercise.
Real world operations are preferred because they are easier to police and monitor when it comes to collecting the tax or levy. Once operations disappear down telephone lines or into the internet, they can be based anywhere. This seriously complicates the collection of any tax. States like to keep their worlds simple. They want the maximum revenue from licensed gambling with the lowest possible cost for collection. Just crossing state lines makes collection more difficult. If casino games are offered from outside US territory, tax cannot be collected. Thats one of the reasons why the federal government clamped down on the use of credit cards and other easy payment methods. It forced more operations onshore where they could be taxed. Whether you agree with this approach to balancing the budgets is irrelevant. Casino games are seen as the easy way to raise money without upsetting the electorate. Imagine a world without gambling and hear the roar of anger if states announced an increase in sales tax.