back to article Poker for potholes initiative makes run at California ballot

A California YouTube junkie received permission last week from the California Secretary of State to circulate a petition to establish a government run online poker site that would subsidize fixing the state's roads. Anthony "Tuff Fish" Sandstrom, who regularly chronicles the ups and downs of his online poker life on YouTube, …

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This is a retarded route to go down

Your basic taxes should cover this. By opening a casino to fund the roads you will just ensure that money from your taxes is no longer allocated to this sort of thing. In the UK we have a national lottery (a tax on people who cannot do maths) and that now funds our arts and sports and a large part of investment in school facilities. This means the government can divert money away from these things to fund pointless wars and investment in new ways to tax us and remove our civil liberties.

Rather than pushing for another form of funding the public in California should push for transport to be put higher on the budgetry agenda.

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Same Story Here

My home state of Georgia has a national lottery for schools and I must report the same situation as Mr. Painter. Education has been watered down to almost a non-entity while cars, luxury second homes and every other luxury is on the rise.

Our lottery basically equates to a tax on the poor (who given our current state of affairs) never stood a chance of going to college so that the middle-class can avoid paying education fees and instead route that money through our sales tax system.

Then again I personally think no government has the jurisdiction to stop 5 people from sitting around and passing their money to each other. Poker (when played with seven cards) is in fact a game of skill and not so much of a gamble. That hold'em stuff's nothing but a lottery though.

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Simon P - missing the point

you wrote: "... casino to fund the roads you will just ensure that money from your taxes is no longer allocated to this sort of thing."

This presupposes that ANY money from Californians taxes is currently used to patch up potholes.

California's general level of tax is way lower than yours and mine (income tax, NI and council tax together run to ~35% for me)

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Anonymous Coward

can't agree with first poster...

Trouble is, from personal experience, many Californian roads look like the lunar surface. And these are the equivalent of our motorways. Where it isn't cratered there are occasioanlly clumps of grass breaking through.

Staying with a programmer friend in SF for a few weeks, my wife and I saw plenty of Californian roads. No wonder SUV's are popular.

My buddy living in the bay area tells me that a few years ago there was talk of closing schools 2 days a week.

At state level voters tend to get more control over taxation levels than they do at Federal level. Voters opting for higher taxation to fund services is like turkeys voting for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it doesn't happen.

Nobody likes high taxes, but I suggest it may be time for a hefty spoonful of realism, either a small increase in taxation that does not penalise low earners further than they are all ready (ie hit up some of those Silicon Valley high earners for some of what they would be due to pay if they didn't get all manner of breaks just 'cos they're rich), or adopt an initiative like this whilst maintaining existing funding levels from the existing revenues......

God knows, from the evidence of a run from San Fran to Sunnyvale, it might even be worthwhile holding an inquiry to figure out just exactly where the money that has been allocated has ended up. On the basis of what we saw, there may well be some officials or contractors that have done exceptionally well whilst these roads have quietly fallen to bits.

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Racist pig hack

"Gambling has traditionally been a states' rights issue, and for California to take those rights back would be a healthy first step on the road to reform of an area of law in dire need of serious change. Current federal law in the field dates from a time when the feds were concerned about mafia-run sportsbooks, not about people playing poker online. Regulated online gambling would do more to diminish mob activity than FBI enforcement activity, though that would be too easy: much like the phony drug war, it would force politicians to acknowledge these futile enforcement efforts as the white collar (and largely white) jobs programs they truly are."

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Some questions

While I don't care one whit what Californians are doing with their money, your article did raise a couple of questions and perhaps the good folks who comment here might help me answer them.

"Gambling has traditionally been a states' rights issue, and for California to take those rights back would be a healthy first step on the road to reform of an area of law in dire need of serious change."

Why, precisely, is the "law in dire need of serious change"? To facilitate people throwing their money away on games of chance? To enrich online gambling site owners? Mmmm. I can think of a lot of laws that are "in dire need of serious change". This one doesn't make the list in terms of priority.

"Current federal law in the field dates from a time when the feds were concerned about mafia-run sportsbooks, not about people playing poker online."

And, of course, there's no concern whatsoever about organized crime involvement in the online gaming industry. Or is there?

In reading the article, the impression I gained was that the Register seems awfully keen on this online gaming business. Can we look forward to a new tab on the masthead - "Hardware, Software, Music & Media, Comms, Security, Management, Science, Odds & Sods, Wanna Bet?"

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Taxes and lotteries

Texas introduced the lottery in the late 90s as a way to add funding to education. Well, what it's done, as others have pointed out, is to take that money and use it to replace money coming from the general fund. So no new money. And worse, the popularity of the various lotteries has declined, with a decrease in revenue. Texas has a huge property tax to fund schools at the local level. And despite Dave's claims, our tax burden is pretty high. Last year my wife and I paid 40%, plus however much sales tax sucked down.

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Anonymous Coward

Tax the gullible but don't call it a tax...

That is what our government here does. They operate 3 casinos and the Millions of profits they generate (mostly from the poor and working poor) go into general revenue. Combine that with my 20%+ Income tax rate, 7% Sales tax, 6% GST, Business, Payroll and Property taxes along with ever increasing "User Fees" and our streets are still way worse California's. In fact I would bet that we have the worst roads of any North American city. Driving on the lunar surface would be an improvement, less chance of wrecking your car.

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um no

"Your basic taxes should cover this. By opening a casino to fund the roads you will just ensure that money from your taxes is no longer allocated to this sort of thing."

Actually No. In Californian money collected from gas tax was thrown into the general fund. About two years we passed allowed a law that said gas tax could only be used for roads , the end result was that STATE ROADS began to get fixed. now city and county roads , well they were put on a lower priority because things like aging bridges and free ways with pot holes that would rip a truck apart started to get fixed. freeways like 680 got repaved and widen. The roads are getting better. Is were it needs to be no.

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I was not involved -- Prof. Rose

Thank you for this: "Professor I. Nelson Rose, the preeminent authority on internet gambling law, remarked that he thought more progress would be made at the local level rather than the federal level. He also speculated that California might be one of the first states to reform its laws covering online poker – we can only assume that he was somehow involved with the drafting of this proposed law."

But, I was not involved. I first heard about this from a reporter.

I have been talking since the UIGEA passed with card club owners in California who want to legalize intra-state online poker. But, there are many political problems to be worked out.

Nelson

www.GamblingAndTheLaw.com

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