Three columns, none worthy of all 660 words.
It is the fact that the casinos – both tribal and commercial – don’t want the customers to think too much about.
If you gamble, you will lose.
And here’s another one: If you gamble more, you will lose more.
Gamblers themselves seem immune from the message, betting that the laws of probability do not apply to them. Policymakers, however, should look at some recently released numbers.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, researchers at The Transparency Project at Harvard Medical School were given player data covering a two-year period from a European online casino called BWin. The analysis showed:
• On any given day, only 30 percent of gamblers finished in the black while 89 percent of those who continued to gamble over time lost money;
• Among heaviest gamblers – the top 10 percent of bettors – 95 percent ended up losing;
• Casinos make their profits from a small percentage of the biggest losers – just 2.8 percent of gamblers provided more than half the profits; just 10.7 percent provided 80 percent.
The last stat is the most damaging for the industry because it suggests that the industry depends upon problem gamblers, even addicts, for its profits.
It was just a routine brief in the paper over the weekend, reporting that the Tacoma School Board had voted to place its maintenance and operations levy on the ballot next February. But a statistic in the short article brought to mind the enormous issues facing the state surrounding the funding of public education.
The M&O levy “would replace the current levy that supports 24 percent of the school district’s day-to-day operations,” it said.
The state Supreme Court’s ruling in McCleary v. Washington ordered the state to step up to its constitutional mandate to fully fund basic education at the state level, not the local level. Yet in the 21 months since the ruling was handed down, the Legislature has barely paid lip service to the tough task of reducing reliance on unreliable and unequal local levies.
While they brag about the money added to the education budget last session, lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee still must tackle the portion of the McCleary issue — levy reform — that might make increasing the schools budget seem simple.
Earlier this week, I wrote about a search for the location in Lakewood where Chief Leschi was executed in 1858. We’re pretty sure it took place in what is now a quiet suburban development on Leschi Road Southwest.
Leschi was executed for his role in an uprising against a treaty forced on area tribes, an execution later found to be unjust. Leschi’s actions, however, pushed territorial authorities to strike a somewhat better deal, with a slightly better reservation and the right to fish in common with white settlers.
The language, however, lacked legal interpretation until 1974 when U.S. District Court Judge George Boldt ruled that “in common” meant 50 percent. The ruling caused years of political turmoil but was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Boldt is forever linked to tribal rights forged in the Medicine Creek treaty.
Thanks to a Twitter correspondent, Emmett O’Connell of Olympia, I realized another link between Boldt and Leschi. About 3,500 feet southeast of where Leschi was hanged, in an Edgewater Drive home overlooking Lake Steilacoom, lived George and Eloise Boldt and their children.
Those who believe in such things might believe Leschi’s spirit remains near where he died, that perhaps that spirit visited the judge while he was presiding over the trial.
I can’t say that I’m one of those people, but I shared the anecdote with state Supreme Court Justice Charlie Wiggins while conversing about the Leschi case. It brought to his mind a line from Chief Seattle’s oration in 1854.
“Let him be just and deal kindly with my people,” Seattle said of the white man, “for the dead are not powerless.”Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657 peter.callaghan@ thenewstribune.com @CallaghanPeter