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Muth: Lottery is the perfect ‘thank you’ for paid parking on the Strip

A recent column by gaming reporter Richard N. Velotta pointed out that in the next couple of months some 83 percent of Strip resorts and casinos will be hitting both tourists and locals with paid parking thanks to a decision last year by the corporate bean-counters at MGM Resorts International.

Indeed, despite misleading propaganda claiming MGM’s new T-Mobile arena was built with “private” money, the reality is it’s being subsidized by millions of dollars from what amounts to a new mandatory “room tax” on your car. Thanks, guys!

For decades now Nevada voters have gone out of their way to protect the Strip megaresorts from higher taxes and regulations. Remember when smoking was banned in every commercial business…except casinos?

And Big Gaming has successfully defended itself from tax hikes over the years despite the fact that Nevada casinos pay the lowest gaming tax in the galaxy. At the same time, the industry has worked relentlessly to sock it to everybody else in the state.

In 2015, Big Gaming used its Big Clout and its Big Donations to pressure the Nevada Legislature to pass the Biggest Tax Hike in state history. Now every business in the state – even those not subject to the new Commerce Tax – is required to report to the new “Nevada IRS” that was created to administer it. Thanks, guys!

That same monster tax hike doubled the state’s mandatory business license fee for small businesses, jacked up your vehicle registration fees and boosted the sales tax on just about everything you buy except groceries. Thanks, guys!

Indeed, Big Gaming has gone out of its way to screw everybody but Big Gaming. What has historically been a benevolent, mutually-beneficial relationship between the industry and the voters has soured to Bolshevik proportions.

Which brings me to the lottery.

In 1990, in an effort to protect Big Gaming from competition, voters approved a constitutional amendment declaring that “no lottery may be authorized by this State, nor may lottery tickets be sold.”

So while you can come to Nevada and gamble on everything from a roll of the dice to college sports; where you can buy and drink adult beverages 24/7; where you can smoke pot legally; where even prostitution is legal in certain counties…

You can’t buy a simple Powerball ticket.

That’s not just absurd, it’s obscene.

Why should Nevadans have to drive all the way to California or Arizona to buy a lottery ticket just to protect Big Gaming when Big Gaming is now charging you to park your car for the privilege of paying them to see a show, grab dinner or shop in their malls? It’s outrageous.

In 1933, voters across the country repealed Prohibition on alcohol. Under the circumstances, maybe it’s time for Nevada voters to repeal the prohibition on lottery tickets. It seems a wholly appropriate way to say “Thanks, guys!” for screwing us with paid parking on the Strip.

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach and publisher of NevadaNewsandViews.com.

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