Loss Limits? Nah, We Need Gain Limits -- For Casinos

Editorial written by James Baughn on Saturday, February 3, 2001

from the turning-the-poker-tables dept.

Missouri's riverboat gambling companies are mad. It seems they aren't separating fools from their money at the same rate as other states. Missouri has a unique loss limit regulation that only allows gamblers to "donate" $500 to a casino in a two hour period.

The casinos, along with the Congressmen they've bought, want to eliminate this loss limit. Indeed, they do have valid arguments in favor of a repeal. So, I say let's repeal this law... but at the same time, let's enact something else that is desperately needed: a gain limit for casinos.

As it stands now, the loss limit infringes on a person's individual right to fork over as much money as they want so they can pull the lever and watch the flashy lights. However, with this freedom comes the responsibility to prevent compulsive gamblers from betting their life savings on a pair of jacks (and thus giving some rich casino executive the opportunity to purchase a third Ferrari).

I propose a gain limit on the amount of moola that a casino can rake in during an hour. If that ceiling is reached, the casino must refund the excess. Under this plan, a compulsive gambler will have the freedom to plunk down as much money as they want, but the casino will be limited in how much they can profit.

Now, you might be thinking, "But isn't this plan completely at odds with free-market principles?" Well, perhaps. However, the primary argument that casinos have presented in favor of repealing loss limits is also an argument in favor of gain limits!

According to casinos, high-stakes gamblers are fleeing to Illinois and other states so they can blow their money at a faster pace. Well, with a gain limit, casinos will be compelled to offer looser slots and games in which gamblers have an actual chance in hell of winning. Therefore, a gain limit will make Missouri the number one state for gambling, enticing visitors from many other states. Now isn't that what the casinos are after? Of course!

Therefore, I propose that we replace loss limits for gamblers with gain limits for casinos. It is, after all, exactly what the casinos have been asking for.