Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why I'm Not a Big Fan of Florida's "Seminole Compact"

First, a couple of videos from the Seminole Tribe touting its "benefits" (here's a link to the site promoting the pact):

Let's look at the claims "in favor" of the compact:

  • It would "create jobs" building Seminole casinos, staffing Seminole casinos, etc.
  • It would guarantee the government of Florida $3 billion in revenues over five years.
  • It would let the legislature limit the expansion of gambling to "keep Florida's entertainment options family-friendly."
Now look at what those claims actually mean:

  • Sure, it would create jobs building and staffing Seminole casinos; and it would cost the jobs that would be created by letting anyone who damn well pleases open casinos.
  • It would give the politicians in Tallahassee $3 billion they could spend expanding their various programs for running our lives.
  • In return for the $3 billion bribe, the politicians would preserve the Seminole tribe's monopoly on some forms of gambling in Florida by keeping new competitors out of their way and even, in some instances, shutting down existing competitors. Yes, that's what it means by "keeping Florida's entertainment options family-friendly."
My preferred solution would be for the legislature to repeal every statute on the books relating to casino gambling (or any other kind of gambling) and let the market do what the market does (align supply with demand).

And in truth, doing so would probably bring in far more than $3 billion over five years to the state in tax revenues. I consider that a bug, not a feature. The less money the state has, the better. But hey, I can't have everything (where would I put it?).

If the Seminoles are going to get a government-enforced monopoly in return for a $3 billion bribe, the least they can do is send the bribe checks to every man, woman and child in Florida. That $3 billion would come to about $150 for each of us. Enough for a nice night out on the town, perhaps at a Seminole casino. Maybe we would all just blow the money, but it would be hard for us to get up to as much mischief with it as the legislature would.

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