Legalized gambling has always been a struggle between morals and Mammon. Slots, lotteries, horse racing, and card games have been a guaranteed way to swell the coffers of any state that decides to accept social cost of gambling revenues.
However, that bubble may have burst. Maryland tried to staunch its financial bleeding in 2008 by passing a referendum allowing slot machines into the state, expecting a return of $90 million up front and $660 million a year. It turns out that those expectations were over-optimistic. According to the Urbanite, in the two years since the referendum, not one is open—all the construction that wasn’t scrapped has been severely delayed.
Failed attempts like Maryland’s have triggered what the Urbanite calls a “gambling arms race” where states losing casino revenues up the stakes by legalizing new forms of gambling to attract out-of-state gamblers. Here’s what that looks like:
If you’re a state legalizing gambling, it seems the more you permit, the more you’ll soon need to allow to keep bettors coming back.