Beyond the fruit machine
Somewhere between the budget miasma in Harrisburg, the news fog caused by the G20 and who knows what else, do people fully realize that Pennsylvania now has legalized table games in the casinos. Public debate? Discussion of any kind? Some states even consider a public referendum for things like this. People get up in arms over a pay raise for some legislators, yet this all goes without the least bit of consternation. I don't get it. The No Dice folks must be having a conniption.
What is really hard to reconcile: A state that is just about the last holdout of state-controlled liquor sales somehow thinks a vast expansion of gambling activity is so trivial as to be passed without warning, debate or public discourse of any kind. So controlling the ability the buy a bottle of wine is important, but expanding gambling is not even worth debating. .
The question is why? I do understand someone thinks table games will bring in $200 or so million dollars a year. A lot of money for sure. Yet the state budget as being reported is $27 billion. So we are talking about roughly 0.8% of the state budget.
Speaking of funny numbers. I heard the casino's community guy George Matta (former elected clerk of courts... there is a career path? Also a former candidate for state house) on TV say the casino has 90 full time police officers and that it was more than some local municipalities. Well, looking a the list I compiled last month of local police officers by municipality it turns out that the casino has more police officers than ALL police departments in the county other than the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County itself. Go figure.
Some may have seen the PG story looking at the lost business Downtown during the G20 confab. I have to admit I am curious what the casino numbers looked like during the same period. Were they down because of the proximity to Downtown? or maybe they were up from all the folks not going to work and heading to the casino instead? We will see.
But the numbers for the week before the G20 are out and they seem to be part of the rationale for the casino's bond rating to be lowered. Which reminds me, what's the latest on this? Update: more casino finance comments from Dave.
Some reviews of the casino here at the AmericanCasinoGuide.com for what they are worth.
and some of the best gambling related numbers I have seen of late. There is an absolutely hilarious (or depressing) table on page 9 of this paper: The Lottery: a tax of people who are bad at math. (opens a word file).
and Delaware tried to do us all one better and really tried to legalize gambling on single game professional sports events. They just lost a court case filed to stop the idea from being implemented. There is a combinatorics problem in the Delaware case. It is aparently legal to bet on 3 sporting events at once; it's just illegal to bet on a single game's outcome which is what most do where sports books are legal (or where they are not). Seems to me you could concoct a set of 3-game bets that work out to just betting on a single game. Probable gets too complicated with different odds on different games, but still.. anyone really good at math out there and want to help out the Delaware powers that be?
Where is Nick Perry when you need him? Just 4's and 6's is all he had to worry about. The greatest part of that story is that there was someone thinking math. They didn't just fix one number... it could have been any combination of 4's and 6's.... the (simplistic) idea was that it would spread out some of the betting and aide being detected among other reasons. I bet even back then the detection algorithms then in use were more sophisticated than that. The Mark 1 eyeball might even have noticed something odd in the betting leading into that scam.