The Laws of Economics Still Apply

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Senator Bruce Tarr of Gloucester has filed an amendment to the budget that would allow the state to grant ‘racino licenses’ that would let racetracks operate slot parlors.

We had this same discussion in 2006 and we’ll restate our position: giving licenses away to a fixed group of bidders at a fixed price is not the way to maximize the value to the state. It will result in a subsidy to racetrack owners (and perhaps their employees, perhaps).

If we must allow gambling of this type, let’s maximize the value to the state by allowing an open auction of the licenses, not a fixed process.

I’d note that the pending legislation practically concedes my point (see Section 7, subsection i, clause 7). It contains a provision that allows the state to clawback any increase in value for the license based on the sale of the racino to other parties.