Well if nothing else, it can be said of Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, that he is persistent. Once again he has introduced legislation designed to increase the number of gambling venues in the state of Delaware . One in Sussex County and another in New Castle County.
HB 40 is yet another attempt to increase the number of venues for gambling. Again we are told that we must do this to protect the revenue the state receives from gambling. Rep. Schwartzkopf tells us that because surrounding states are opening gambling venues, we will lose revenue.
When it come to the issue of whether or not to expand gambling in Delaware, you are likely to get two very different reasons why it is a good idea to expand. Even though the two arguments are counter intuitive.
On one hand, the supporters of expansion will tell you that we must expand to draw more people from other states to Delaware casinos. This would seem to say that you can create new gamblers by creating new gambling venues.
Now on the other hand the same supporters will tell you that we must expand to keep from loosing Delaware gamblers to other states. This would suggest that there are only just so many people willing to gamble and we can’t afford to lose a single one.
To be honest I am of a mind that there are just so many people who are willing to piss their money away. If this is true, it makes little difference how many new venues we build. There will only be just so many people who will gamble. Delaware is never going to be a destination spot for gambling. People will not travel across the country to gamble here.
The best we could ever hope for, is to be a regional spot. But that boat has also sailed, since surrounding states now have gambling. The idea that we can siphon off any real numbers from these states is tilting at windmills.
It makes no sense to increase the number of venues. To do this we will need to hire more people to staff the venues and more people to oversee the operations. This means that there will be more overhead and very little increase in revenue if any.
It would seem as if Rep. Schwartzkopf believes that more venues will equate to more revenue. First off, I don’t know of anytime, that the current venues are turning people away from the doors because they are full to capacity.
So let us take Rep. Schwartzkopf’s logic and apply it to any other business. Let’s say I run an ice cream chain in a small town of say about one thousand people. Consider that I have an ice cream parlor on both ends of town. Would I actually be able to increase my revenue by opening another two parlors in the same little town? Or would I only be increasing my overhead?
The argument will of course be made that this will create jobs. And it will for the short-term. During construction. Afterwards the number of new jobs will fall. And when it is realized that the new venues can’t be sustained, those jobs will be lost.
Now on the backside of this argument we must ask ourselves. Do we want our state to be any further involved in gambling? When it has the real potential to ruin families and lives? We can do better than this. We can create jobs and grow the economy without this state-run tax trap.