Is Gambling the Economic Prescription We've Been Looking For?

The reigning American casino havens, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, are feeling the pinch in this frosty economic climate. So why does the rest of the normal world want to legalize gambling?

Generally, American states are allowed to set their own gambling policies and the boost to state coffers gambling provides is not lost on legislators. Delaware and Pennsylvania are waging a small war over the market for slot machines; Delaware had them first but saw their popularity wane when Pennsylvania opened parlors in 2006. Montana is one of the rare states that allows betting on sports. Oregon did as well until they ended their $25 million sports lottery program in 2007 amid threats from the NBA and NCAA.

Getting wind of the $1.1 billion Pennsylvania’s seven casinos generated between January 1 and March 15 of this year, Ohio is weighing a casino ballot proposal. But the big news is the federal lawsuit filed against the Justice Department to overturn the national ban on sports betting. Filed in Newark, the suit lists U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder among the defendants and maintains that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is unconstitutional because it allows special privileges to the four states--Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon--that allow sports betting.

Plaintiff and New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak claims the law deprives his state of $100 million in annual tax revenue. Not surprisingly, a number of high-ranking legislators, including Governors Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, are exploring taxes on everything from sports betting to video poker. And regulating industries as contentious as gambling often require much more than luck.

Lateral thinking: How to workshop innovative ideas

Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.

  • As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
  • The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
  • How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.

Are these 100 people killing the planet?

Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
Strange Maps
  • Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
  • This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
  • The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
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Straight millennials are becoming less accepting of LGBTQ people

The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.

Photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
  • The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
  • Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
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