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The Mysterious Case Against Table Games

By Matthew Yglesias  

"The Mysterious Case Against Table Games"

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I don’t have very strong views about the legal status of commercial gambling, but I’ve really never understood the particular legal middle ground that many states like New York have landed in where “electronic slot machines but not the more lucrative table games” are permitted in some venues.

Whatever arguments, mostly paternalistic, you can mount against table games surely apply just as clearly to slot machines. But conversely, table games are both lucrative and employ people as card dealers and wheel spinners and such. That, to me, seems like a clearly dominant policy option. If anything, I would think that states might consider legalizing table games but banning slot machines and electronic poker. The idea that you’re going to gamble your way to prosperity seems pretty dubious to me, but the basic argument that capitalistic acts between consenting adults should be permitted is fairly persuasive, and as long as you’re going to do it, why not do it in an employment-friendly way? That seems to be the direction Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading, and it seems very sensible to me.

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