Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Strapped States Cash In on Gambling and Other Vices

5 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
States faced with budget shortfalls in the billions of dollars are changing their tunes about how they generate revenue for law enforcement and other public services, condoning activities such as gambling that were restricted in the past.

In Ohio, residents recently voted to allow casinos, and Gov. Ted Strickland dropped his longtime opposition to video lottery machines, proposing to add them to racetracks to generate new funds, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"If I had not been confronted with these difficult circumstances, I would have obviously opposed expanding gambling in Ohio," Strickland told the newspaper. Ohio is coping with a $3.2 billion deficit and 11 percent unemployment.

Lawmakers in California, suffering under a $20 billion budget gap, are considering a way to allow and tax Internet poker.

Rhode Island and a half-dozen other states are weighing whether to legalize and tax medical marijuana.

Five states have expanded Sunday alcohol sales, and localities in Alabama and Texas have also done away with longstanding restrictions on liquor sales. Local politicians in Connecticut are pressuring state leaders to lift its "blue laws," which forbid selling booze on Sundays.

Nearly every state is looking at new ways to make money, according to the Journal:
For fiscal 2011, 38 states project combined budget shortfalls of $89 billion, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan policy research group. Thirty-one states expect budget gaps totaling $73.5 billion in 2012. As a result, says Todd Haggerty, an analyst at the group, lawmakers are "trying anything and everything in order to bring their budgets into balance."

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>