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January 26, 2008

Fairplay casinos

Gov. Deval Patrick plans on funding necessary and humane projects in Massachusetts by licensing three casinos. I’m not crazy about that idea, in part because casinos stack the odds against customers. The house always wins. That’s unfair, even though casinos are transparent it.

If we’re going to finance public programs on the backs of the desperate, we at least ought to give our local pigeons fair odds. So, why not require Massachusetts casinos to pay out at odds that factor in no cut for the house? If there’s a 1:38 chance your number will come up at the roulette table, your winning number would be paid at 38:1, not 36:1. Even without their edge (5.26% in roulette), the casinos would make money selling food, liquor, lodging, parking, pay-per-porn in-room tv, and tickets to entertainers you thought died fifteen years ago.

Not only would this keep the state from profiting from an industry predicated on unfairness, it would also give Massachusetts casinos a competitive edge against the casinos in those other states. Why would you gamble in a place where the odds are stacked against you if you could instead “A mass more wealth in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…the Fair Play State.”

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