Sunday, January 15, 2006

freese family farm, iowa: from the annals of voluntary regressive taxation

touch play

The convenience store in my hometown doesn't have Coke Zero. It does, however, have a slot machine, which I thought was surprising since, you know, you can't legally just put up a slot machine anywhere you want. Turns out, the machines are sponsored by the Iowa Lottery, and there's been some controversy over whether they should be banned. Anyway, what I thought was intriguing was the way the machines are being defended as not slot machines despite, from all appearances, being slot machines. As it said in an AP story in a local paper:
The TouchPlay machines look like slot machines, but lottery officials say their machines differ from slot machines in that they award prizes to predetermined winners. Slot machines pay out to randomly determined winners. Critics say players can't tell the difference.
The story also went on to quote someone defending the machines on the grounds that people from small towns had the "right" to "the same kinds of legal entertainment" available in cities (with casinos). Even if the presence of "slot machines" would seem to only close a very small portion of the legal entertainment gap between small towns and cities, compared to, e.g., the absence of ethnic restaurants and playmobil-goth poetry slams. Also, the Touch Play machines are pretty lame compared to a real contemporary slot machine, and, if my information is correct, they also payout at a rate that would be totally unacceptable for a Vegas casino. So, yes, I guess, the right to the same kind of entertainment, except in a less enjoyable and more predatory form. And yet still, apparently, addictive enough that my sister told me that a store in a neighboring town has a stool in front of their machine so people can play for longer stretches of time.

7 comments:

eszter said...

Oh no! So if you couldn't have Coke Zero for breakfast what did you end up having?

Tom Volscho said...

i was waiting at the outskirts of a a riverboat casino in Dubuque, Iowa once at 11:30am and I witnessed no less than a dozen different men in overalls with no shirt underneath come in to gamble ...if you ever see the two casinos in CT it is a social problems nightmare witnessing the clientle

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for the people with vices (drinking, smoking, and gambling) the State of Iowa would be broke.

Anonymous said...

overalls and no shirt is an indicator of a 'social problem'?

Anonymous said...

Overalls and no shirt is indicative of a social problem if the lack of shirt is a result of, well, losing one's shirt.

Tom Volscho said...

i think it was just hot plus working on a farm which is where these guys probably work/own

Connecticut's casinos are indicative of a major social problem, gambling. The state gets money via taxes (mainly sales but also tickets) from all the increased traffic resulting from the casinos and then they disperse some of it to people doing research on gambling in the social sciences and in medicine. Don't know much about Iowa, that was my only trip to that state, my Oma had to get out of the house and she loved the slot machines.

jeremy said...

My recollection growing up on a farm was that overalls with no shirt underneath was not common among the authentically rural at all.