Gambling as a Regressive Tax

Given the simultaneous marches of full-fledged casino legislation and “tax the rich” legislation in Rhode Island, it’s interesting to read the take of President Clinton’s Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who is objectively pretty far to the political left, economically:

Meanwhile, states are increasingly dependent on revenues from casinos, lotteries, and the “Mega Millions” game (in which 42 states pool their grand prize) to partly refill state coffers.

Given who plays, this is one of the most regressive taxes in the nation. In the most recent Mega Millions game — whose winning tickets were drawn last week and whose jackpot rose to $640 million — lottery ticket buyers shelled out some $1.5 billion, most of which went to state governments.

The progress could only be called “smooth sailing” for legislation bringing Newport Grand one step closer to casinohood.   Yesterday’s vote in the RI Senate received only two “nays” (DiPalma and Metts) and one non-vote (Doyle).  Where are the activists on behalf of the poor and working class?



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