At one time Kansas prohibited its citizens from gambling because it was thought to be immoral. That attitude started to change when Kansas allowed a lottery. Now that the state owns casinos — that’s right, in Kansas the state owns the casinos that aren’t Indian casinos — thoughts of morality have been swept aside. Or, at least, we’ve decided that the potential revenue inflows to state coffers is more important than the moral health of Kansans.
Now that Kansas is in the business of gambling, it’s working to protect the monopoly it granted itself. In Wichita, entrepreneurs sought to get around gambling laws by offering a variation of poker that they argued was legal. A judge disagreed, and the game was shut down, preserving the monopoly of the state in gambling.
Having settled the question as to whether gambling is moral, we now see that this case is all about the money. The state doesn’t like competitors.
The state is willing to look the other way on smoking too, when it comes to the potential of earning more revenue from its casinos. Earlier this year the Kansas senate considered a state-wide smoking ban that allowed smoking in its casinos.
Is this another example of Kansas hypocrisy: smoking should not be allowed, except where it might reduce the state’s gambling revenue?