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(ECONOMICS) READ: Cash-strapped States Are Hoping You’ll Sin, But There’s Not Enough Sinners!…

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Source: ESQUIRE

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The Las Vegas of 2009 has become much more reliant on high-end customers looking to splurge.

It’s never quite accurate to describe Las Vegas as a ghost town. Even at five in the morning on a Tuesday, it’s liable to be more lively than your average main street or shopping mall. But when I arrived there for a brief getaway last November, it was not the same bustling town I’d been used to. My flight from Houston was barely a third full. There was no line at the taxi stand, and my cabbie told me that several of his friends had recently been laid off from construction work on a variety of new developments, many of which had been halted in midstream after financing dried up. And when I arrived at Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip, I found as many locals handing out postcards for dodgy escort services as tourists.

None of this, I suppose, should have been surprising: November was the nadir of the worst recession since the Second World War. Nevertheless, conventional wisdom has long held that gambling is recession-proof. In Las Vegas, it’s been anything but. Gaming revenues received by local casinos were down 12 percent in 2008 as compared with a year earlier. (This figure and all others in this article are reported on an inflation-adjusted basis.) And 2009 will be even worse: So far, revenues are off almost 15 percent from 2008’s already depressed figures. The recession, then, appears set to cost Las Vegas more than a quarter of its business.

This is sobering news not just for those who have purchased property in Las Vegas — economist Tyler Cowen recently stated that the real estate market would not recover there for another twenty years — but also for cash-strapped state legislatures that are turning to casino gambling as a way to raise revenue. Delaware, which already offers horse racing and slot machines, now plans to extend its law to permit table games like blackjack and, more controversially, sports betting. In July, Ohio governor Ted Strickland signed an executive order to permit slot machines at horse tracks, while California began to allow offtrack betting on horse races for the first time. Philadelphia will soon become the largest American city to permit casino gambling within city limits, although play will initially be limited to slot machines. And in Texas — where, ironically, no legal game of Texas hold ’em is available — gaming advocates are hoping that Kay Bailey Hutchison will defeat gambling-averse incumbent Rick Perry in next year’s governor’s race, which would empower the state legislature to consider casino gambling there.

But desperate state governments looking to casinos to bail them out of their budget nightmares are likely to be disappointed. The same may be the case with trying to tap other “sins” for revenue. Nationally, sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption were down significantly last year, an unprecedented 9.3 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The largest previous drop had been just 3.7 percent, between the third and fourth quarters of 1991.

Alcohol consumption can at least be expected to bounce back a bit — right? — but a lot of the potential customers of the new casinos may be tapped out. The year 2008 was the first time in history that total casino gaming revenues declined throughout the United States (by about 5 percent according to industry estimates). In most jurisdictions, gambling revenues max out quickly. In Atlantic City, for example, which opened for business in 1978, gaming revenues were no higher in 2008 than they were in 1986, and 2009 is on pace to be the slowest year since 1983. Gambling revenues peaked in 2002 in Illinois, in 2000 in Mississippi, and in 2006 in Detroit, which had only begun to permit gambling ten years earlier. The boom years in Vegas, when revenues nearly doubled, between 1989 and 2006, might have led states to misread casino gambling’s upside potential.

What we’ve witnessed, indeed, is something of a race to the bottom. Shortly after President Reagan signed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, which expressly permitted Indian tribes to open casinos under tribal-state compacts, states like Mississippi, Illinois, and Colorado — seeing no reason to split their profits with the Seminoles or the Cherokee — decided to permit their own state-run facilities. Neighboring states, worried about losing their customers across state lines, then followed suit: Louisiana a year after Mississippi, Indiana and Missouri three years after Illinois, Michigan two years after Ontario, Canada. Meanwhile, the Indian tribes continued to up the ante, their casino revenuesapproximately tripling from 1997 to 2006.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/data/nate-silver-sin-tax-1009?src=rss#ixzz0Rm0Qi3Kb

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Written by dnnnewshound

September 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Economics

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(POLITICS) READ: Zelaya Returns to Honduras…

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Source: REUTERS/Newser

(Newser Summary) – Manuel Zelaya is back in Honduras, the ousted president told a Honduran TV station today, prompting thousands of his supporters to gather outside the UN building in the capital to celebrate. “I am here for the restoration of democracy, to call for dialogue,” Zelaya declared. The US State Department confirmed Zelaya’s return, though the country’s current de facto ruler denied it.

Zelaya wouldn’t say exactly where in the Tegucigalpa he was, but when a senior aide said he was inside the main UN building, as many as 4,000 supporters gathered outside, shouting “Yes, we did it!” Interim de facto president Roberto Micheletti called the reports “media terrorism,” insisting Zelaya remained “in a suite in a hotel in Nicaragua.”

Kevin Spak

Written by dnnnewshound

September 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Foreign Politics, Politics

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(ENTERTAINMENT) READ: David Hasselhoff Rushed To Hospital Allegedly Drunk, Daughter Calls 911…

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Source: TMZ

0920_david_hasselhoff_ex2TMZ has learned David Hasselhoff was taken to the hospital Sunday night after his daughter sounded an alarm that he had been drinking to excess.

We’ve learned 17-year-old Hayley Hasselhoff — who was at home with David — called her mother Pamela, claiming David was extremely drunk. One of Pamela’s friends called 911, paramedics arrived at the family’s home in Encino and took him to the hospital.

We’re told the hospital was supposed to release David Sunday night.

No comment yet from Hasselhoff’s reps.

Written by dnnnewshound

September 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm

(POLITICS/MEDIA) Obama Snubs FOX News…

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static.crooksandliars.com__No-Fox_4c998(Newser Summary) – Republican lawmakers are peeved because President Obama is—try not to laugh—snubbing Fox News. Obama will appear on every political Sunday talk show this week, except Fox News Sunday. “If people are going to be on the Sunday talk shows, they should be on all of them,” opined Joe Wilson, who last week talked to Fox News Sunday, and only Fox News Sunday. He also interrupted Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress—which only Fox, among the major networks, declined to air.

Pete Sessions of Texas said Obama had “handpicked” his audience, while Louisiana’s Steve Scalise accused him of “ignoring a very large segment of this country.” “I think that Fox News would ask some realistic questions,” said Sessions. “He’s the one who’s choosing not to take part in that.” Democrats saw no problem with the snub—one New York rep said Obama obviously knew “which networks are really fair.”

Kevin Spak

Source: The Hill

Written by dnnnewshound

September 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm

(OUTRAGEOUS) READ: 3 of 4 Oklahoma Students Can’t Name First President…

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294358-6-20090917133058.image(Newser Summary) – Are you smarter about American history than a recent immigrant? Most of the students in Oklahoma’s public high schools aren’t. A conservative think tank asked thousands of high school kids to answer 10 questions drawn from the citizenship test given to recent immigrants. Would-be citizens have to answer six correctly, and 92% do so on their first try. By contrast, only 3% of the Oklahoma students would have.

A whopping 77%  couldn’t name the first president, and 90% didn’t know how many justices are on the Supreme Court. (The question most knew—61%—involved naming the ocean on the East Coast.) The problem is not just an issue for Oklahoma; a study in Arizona yielded similar results. “It points to a real serious problem,” says one think tank member. “Jefferson said that a nation can’t expect to be ignorant and free.”

Kevin Spak

Source: KWTV Oklahoma City

Written by dnnnewshound

September 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm

(CRIME) READ: Australian Man Charged With Raping Daughter For 30 Years…

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s-HANDCUFFS-largeAn Australian man accused of raping his daughter almost daily for 30 years and fathering her four children has been charged by police.

The man, who has been called “Australia’s Fritzl” after the notorious Austrian incest case, allegedly began raping his daughter in the 1970s when she was 11 years old, and had threatened her with violence if she ever revealed the abuse.

According to a report in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, the man was arrested in February after the victim approached police and said that she had been kept a virtual prisoner in the family home in a country town in the southern state of Victoria.

The newspaper said that all of the woman’s four children were born with birth defects in Melbourne hospitals. One of them died.

According to the report, the woman had reported the abuse to police in 2005 but then refused to co-operate further because she feared for her safety.

However, she went to police again in June last year and gave a statement against her father. Police conducted DNA tests on the father and laid 83 charges of sex abuse against him in February.

The case has been likened to that of Josef Fritzl, who was jailed for life in May for imprisoning and raping his daughter for 24 years and murdering one of the seven children he had with her.

The Victorian Premier, John Brumby, to demand an immediate investigation into how the case had gone unnoticed for so long.

The Herald Sun interviewed the woman’s mother, who is still married to the alleged rapist, and who lived with them in the house in rural Victoria. She claims that she was not aware of any abuse, despite sharing the house with her husband, daughter and grandchildren until 2005. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 17, 2009 at 10:50 am

Posted in Crime, World

Tagged with , ,

(CELEBRITIES) READ: Your request is being processed… Burt Reynolds In Rehab, Reportedly Found Lying In Pool Of Blood…

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s-BURT-REYNOLDS-REHAB-largeBurt Reynolds has checked into rehab in West Palm Beach to be treated for an addiction to painkillers, following an allegedly grisly and bizarre incident in late August. He was found semi-conscious and covered in blood in his Hobe Sound, Florida, home, the National Enquirer reports.

“The houseman found Burt lying in a pool of blood. He’d fallen and was badly cut. The houseman drove him to the hospital. But this time, Burt was behaving strangely, and doctors were so concerned about his state of mind that they sent him to the county mental health facility in West Palm Beach,” a source told the tabloid.

His admission to rehab may not have been entirely voluntary. The facility allegedly refused to release Reynolds unless he agreed to head straight to rehab.

Written by dnnnewshound

September 16, 2009 at 7:35 pm