Remember the days before plastic? Well, they may be returning to the casino floor. The latest assault on the gambling industry takes aim at automated tellers and credit card swipe machines. Rep. John LaFalce, D-N.Y., has introduced a bill to put some distance between fools and their money.
The idea is well-intentioned: Gamblers would not be able to tap into the money they have in the bank in order to stay in the game or use their credit cards to dig a financial hole for themselves.
Casino opponents say the measure would curb compulsive gambling by giving gamblers an out.
When all their cash has expired from their pockets, they would have to walk away from the casino, at least long enough to visit an off-site cash machine. The thinking is that once free from the dealers, pretty waitresses carting free booze and slot machines with their blinking lights and dinging bells, the fresh air will snap gamblers out of their compulsive stupor.
LaFalce made a similar attempt to ban ATMs and credit card machines in 1999, but it never got so much as a committee hearing. Rep. Jerrold Nadler,D-N.Y., proposed an ATM and credit card ban in 1998 but gave up on it when the bill bogged down in the legislative process.
Nevada regulations already ban the use of credit and debit cards to finance the play at table games, though ATM machines are never more than a short walk away, just as they are on the Coast.
Expect a hard fight against this assault on the casino industry, as well.
The gambling lobby has only grown stronger since then, with Frank Fahrenkopf, the former Republican National Committee chairman, now in charge of the industry’s political arm, the American Gaming Association.