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They Paved Paradise (and put put up a casino)

        It’s difficult for a libertarian to oppose legalized casino gambling, (and I don’t,) but my heart is not in defending it.  People have a right to get drunk and flush their money down the toilet; but public support for turning what was once publicly owned woodland in Middleborough, Mass. into a giant hotel and casino is a depressing reminder of what we value – tawdriness, and mindless stimulation over repose, not to mention illusions of easy money.  "This is like a Thanksgiving Day turkey," one supporter of the Middleborough casino told the Boston Globe,  "This deal is stuffed with extra money."

        We’ll see.  But whether or not this casino is built and whether or not it proves to be a windfall for the town or its downfall, casino gambling is wildly popular and likely to be legalized soon in Massachusetts.  As the Boston Globe editorial page recently conceded, in rueful support of legalization, “millions of Americans have voted with their feet for the notion that casinos are an acceptable, even desirable part of the US leisure industry.”  The Commonwealth may as well get a piece of it.  People who balk at paying taxes directly to the state will clamor to pay them indirectly through both lotteries and casinos.  I bet here in Massachusetts they’ll get the chance.


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