Populism and Gaming

previously posted under Keith McCullough: 05/05/08 12:54 PM EST


This is an interesting submission. Obviously a joke but speaks to several broad and gaming specific trends at the state level:

1. Perception of public education in US not good
2. Public education used as excuse to increase taxes and/or find
additional revenue streams
3. Teachers' Unions on board with anything to get them more money
4. State budgets in trouble
5. Not much of an appetite for reducing spending
6. Gaming likely to expand during this downturn but higher gaming
tax rates also possible - good for slot suppliers, good and bad
for operators

Populism alive and well.


Guest column: "Slots and schools would be a perfect mix"
By STANLEY R. BAKER
Published May 04, 2008

"I vigorously rejected slot machines for years. But now, as a longtime supporter of public education (and a former teacher), I think the Maryland State Teachers Association may well be right about them.
Slot machines should be placed in our schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade. This program - "Slots for Tots!" - would make other states once again view us as an educational leader.
Machines would be allocated based on the number of students in each grade at each school, with more machines for each higher grade. The increased income older students receive from jobs and allowances would get some consideration.

Elementary schools pose a bit of a problem. Machines could be distributed in connection with bake sales and the like, with the most machines per grade going to the biggest hustlers.

The kindergartners would have the longest learning curve to become fully adept at using the machines. Learning what each prize level offers and how to put money in the coin slots will take valuable time from independent playing.

A few guidelines would make sure that the machines, and the schools, are not abused:

Machines would be available one hour before classes begin and one hour after they cease.

The machines would also be turned on for special functions outside the normal school hours: athletic events, back-to-school night, band concerts and school plays.

In order to receive state funding, every school would have to have its full allotment of machines. It would be unfair for a school or county to refuse participation and then reap the bounty produced by machines elsewhere.

Special weekend and vacation hours would be provided so that not a soul would be left behind. Teachers would be the first ones considered to keep the schools open at these time. They could grade papers and make lesson plans when not needed for direct supervision. It would be a dandy supplement to their income.

Only public schools would be allowed to participate. If other schools, groups, organizations or businesses wanted to partake of the revenue, they would need to submit a special grant application indicating why they, unlike any other businesses, should be entitled to feed at this particular public trough.

Funding of public education from tax revenue would be frozen at the 2008 level so that education would receive the full benefit of the slots revenue.

The benefits beyond revenue enhancement would be limitless:

Teachers at all grade levels would rejoice because there would now be something for students to do when rain or snowfall cancel recess.

High school students could perform basic machine maintenance, increasing their post-graduation employment opportunities.

Math classes would find slots a boundless way to teach important concepts, including probability.

Schools would be a perfect place to generate data for long-term studies on gambling addiction. Under their psychology professors, students could do research on why some students, and not others, become addicted.

Our public schools would truly become community centers.

Guidance counselors would find parents always available for conferences, and could see each student's parents or guardians each week. Scheduled conferences would become almost passe.

Bring' em on. These one-armed revenue enhancers fit the bill for a citizenry whose attitude is "Don't raise our taxes, and damn the consequences."

---

The writer is a Gambrills resident.

(letter to the Editor in HometownAnnapolis.com, 5/4/08)