The Perils of Gambling on Gambling
According to this story:
For years, slot machines at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand have seen double-digit growth. But now — while the machines are still extremely profitable — they are not producing the same boom, and that could have grave ramifications for the state.
This year’s state budget is based on the assumption that slot-machine revenue would increase by 15.3 percent. However, data presented yesterday by the Rhode Island Lottery show that since the start of the fiscal year on July 1, there has been only a 4.2-percent bump.
While it’s early in the year and there are many other factors that go into the state’s budget, failing to meet the expectations could create a multimillion-dollar shortfall. . .
State leaders yesterday urged caution about the lottery figures.
“These estimates are preliminary and based only on the first quarter of the fiscal year,” Carcieri’s spokesman Jeff Neal said. “However, these estimates highlight the fact that we must begin to get control of state government spending. Rhode Island has the sixth-highest tax burden of any state in the nation. We will never be able to cut those taxes until we reduce spending.”
House Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence, said through a spokesman that he is concerned about the lottery but that it is “too premature right now.” Fox said he wants next week’s final report so he can see the gambling numbers “in the broader context” of the rest of the budget.
Setting aside the questionable practice of relying on gambling revenue to the degree that Rhode Island does, what was the thinking that went behind a projection of 15% growth? Doesn’t that seem a little too rambunctious?