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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: March 23, 2013

Gambling problem

Oklahoma has a gambling problem. We're not talking about the report showing Oklahoma Indian casinos produced nearly $3.48 billion in revenues in 2011. We're talking about the arrest of three Oklahoma City residents for illegal betting — on pigeon races. The main problem is not the gambling per se but that it wasn't state-sanctioned and state-taxed. You can bet on horse races in Oklahoma but not pigeons because the state gets revenue from horse racing. You can bet on slot machines or card games at tribal casinos because the state gets revenue — $121.7 million in 2011. But organized betting on pigeons remains a no-no. Still, given that $10,000 was reportedly wagered in just 45 minutes, can a “pigeon gambling to fund schools” initiative be far behind? Because gambling legalization is always about helping kids, you know — plus a legislator may “have a good feeling” about that English Carrier.

We're from the government ...

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, is calling for a cruise-ship passenger's bill of rights. “To be out at sea without access to a doctor, electricity, toilet facilities, that's unconscionable,” Schumer said. He predicts his proposal will allow passengers to “breathe a sigh of relief.” Really? Does Schumer honestly think a federal government that struggles with mail delivery and whose regulatory oversight of banks did nothing to prevent the Great Recession is really suited to oversee your vacations? And that this measure should be a priority in a Senate chamber that failed to produce a budget plan for four years? His (currently voluntary) plan calls for sanitary conditions, backup power and medical staff on cruise ships. We think the market will implement those supposedly revolutionary standards without congressional pressure. Customers won't frequent a cruise line notorious for unsanitary conditions, but will support cruise lines that provide good service.

An idea for Republicans

The current expansion of government may run counter to the public's wishes. Polling conducted for the Common Good — a nonpartisan reform coalition advocating individual freedom, responsibility, and accountability in government policy — finds 81 percent of voters nationwide believe the federal government is broken and needs basic overhaul. This includes an astounding 72 percent of Democrats. The poll also found 76 percent of voters believe government wastes billions on obsolete programs, 73 percent believe laws and regulations are too complicated (including 63 percent of Democrats) and 69 percent of small-business owners and managers believe complicated government regulations are major impediments to job creation. Based on the results of the last presidential election, it's safe to say a large share of those anti-big government voters supported President Barack Obama's re-election. As Republicans reassess strategies in light of 2012's losses, we make one simple suggestion: Target these voters.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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