House Majority Leader Al Carlson Proposes Allowing State-Owned Casinos

The one thing I dislike about the North Dakota Lottery – aside from the fact that it amounts to a tax on people who can’t do math – is that it represents the government running a gambling enterprise even while private sector gambling is illegal.

If it’s ok for the state to operate a gambling enterprise, why not the private sector?

Now House Majority Leader Al Carlson wants to take the state’s monopoly on gambling a step further with legislation allowing up to half dozen state-owned casinos. It’s HCR3033, which you can read in full below.

The facilities couldn’t be within 20 miles of an Indian reservation – the tribes already run a half-dozens casinos of their own and probably aren’t going to like the idea of new competition – and couldn’t be located in a community with more than 5,000 people in it.

I wonder what happens, though, if they located a casino in a city that went on to grow its population pass that 5,000 threshold. Would the casino then become illegal?

Anyway, this is a proposed constitutional amendment, and it would have to be approved on the statewide ballot if approved by lawmakers. But I don’t see lawmakers approving it.

Nor should they. Why should the state get a monopoly on gaming? If we’re going to allow gaming – and we already do with the charitable gaming in the state’s bars plus the reservation casinos – why not let the private sector run it?

If we’re going to do anything with gambling policy in North Dakota we ought to just legalize it.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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