By John A. Charles, Jr.
Governor Kate Brown opposes a plan by the Coquille Indian Tribe to build a casino in Medford.
In her public statement, the Governor said, “even a single additional casino is likely to lead to significant efforts to expand gaming across Oregon to the detriment of the public welfare.”
What she actually means is she’s opposed to more gambling if it’s not run by state government.
During the current two-year budget cycle, Oregon expects to earn $1.2 billion from the state Lottery. In January, Powerball mania resulted in record sales of $36 million in one week. A Lottery spokesman said, “Any time sales go up, that’s a good thing for our beneficiaries.”
The hypocrisy of Oregon politicians about gambling and other so-called “sinful” activities is tiresome. We are constantly lectured to avoid smoking, drinking, and gambling because those activities are bad for us; but as soon as legislators get a cut of the action, it’s full steam ahead.
Now that recreational marijuana is legal and taxed, politicians are suddenly enjoying a new profit stream. Can marijuana advertising be far behind?
As soon as our governor starts reining in the state Lottery, I might take her concerns about tribal casinos seriously. Until then, she should stop pretending to be a voice of morality.
John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.