Angry New Yorker

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
New Yorker Issue of 2003-05-26

"Budget crises are traditionally good news for gamblers. Determined not to raise taxes in the face of a severe deficit that promises unpopular spending cuts—zoos and firehouses closed, garbage and schoolchildren left behind—Governor George Pataki last week proposed that the city install video slot machines in its Off-Track Betting parlors. Aspiring millionaires would be spared having to ride the A train to the far reaches of Queens to play the slots at Aqueduct racetrack—which were themselves approved during the previous budget crisis, in 2001—and the state treasury would take in a few hundred million bucks. Everybody wins. But what would a solution be without a spoilsport? “There’s no free lunch in life, and I think one of the problems of using gambling as a way to balance the budget is that it has a cost,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last month to the aptly named radio host John Gambling." [more]

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