Sunday, February 06, 2005

NEW MEXICO'S SHAME AND DISGRACE

I am talking about the lottery here. In New Mexico, you and I cannot legally make a social bet on the Super Bowl. We cannot legally raffle jars of preserves at the womens’ club. We cannot legally gamble small, sociable stakes on domino games, such as moon or pitch. We cannot bet on a cockfight, one of our cultural traditions. We cannot legally play sociable, two-bit limit poker. But we can bet the ranch on a State-run numbers racket.

I read that slots had to pay 80%. Some casinos advertise "loose" slots, so I guess that is greater than an 80% payout. Our State of New Mexico numbers racket pays 33%. $150 million comes in from the poor and ignorant and desperate. $50 million goes to the "winners," so they can place their bets another day (like the stock market). $50 million goes to some college students (it is not right to blame them, under the circumstances). And the final $50 million goes to management, or administration. "Gaming" officials. We will not tolerate the name, "gambling." Gives us a bad image.

Speaking of image. Who thought up the idea of taking the State bird, the chaparral (a magnificent bird), and making it into a logo for a numbers game? If that was not designed to appeal to children, I will throw in with them. Have you recently heard the benefits, the advantages, of the New Mexico lottery praised by an eight year old? I have. Have you seen a six year old boy urge his mother to buy one of the colorful scratch tickets at the gas station checkout counter? I have. It is dismaying. The Legislature is in session. Why not get rid of this shameful practice of government involvement in gambling in the State of New Mexico?

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