Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Subsidizing Sin

If this isn’t gross patronage at its worst, I don’t know what is.
Yesterday, casino operators told the Illinois state treasurer that they will make payments under protest and that they will test the law's constitutionality, said Mickey Ezzo, a spokesman for the Illinois Racing Board.
Ezzo said a copy of the letter was sent to the racing board but that he could not release it.
Under the law, Illinois racetracks will receive the subsidy -- expected to yield $36 million a year -- based on the state's four largest riverboat casinos' paying 3 percent of adjusted gross receipts to a Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund.

The legislation would provide Arlington with approximately $10 million, he said, of which about $6 million would supplement purses and $4 million would go to capital improvements, including "marketing of the live racing product.

The new subsidy is intended to help the horse-racing industry counter declines in business since casinos opened in Illinois.

Can anyone explain to me what rational interest the state has in making sure that horse racing is competitive?

For those of you that are not familiar with the history of the Arlington Race trace, it is the same organization that closed its doors in a hissy-fit until the state allowed it to run slot machines. They didn’t get their slot machines so I guess that have just resorted to demanding hand-outs.

Its obscene that a company that does nothing more than provide entertainment can achieve the status of “essential service” for no reason other than the owners are well connected to the political elite.

Is it any surprise that Illinois is one of the most corrupt states in the country?

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