17th-century English physicist Sir Isaac Newton’s third “law of motion“ basically said that for every action, there is an equal reaction. Under that premise, good behavior should be rewarded and crime should receive a just punishment. Sadly, that concept has gone the way of the dinosaur. Fewer people seem to confront personal or professional consequences, often facing fairly benign repercussions, if any. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) constantly bemoans inadequate funding. It is now considering dropping the federal reporting threshold on specific gaming wins from $1200 to $600 to raise revenue. The newly-formed AGA Tax Working Group is fighting back. If enacted, winners will pay more instead of spending their winnings as consumers. For many jurisdictions, legalized gaming promised to strengthen state/local treasuries through local business taxes. To me, the IRS senior management is wasteful at best, dishonest at worst, doing little about extravagant spending and more than 300,000 IRS tax delinquent employees who owe $3.4 billion in back taxes. Adding insult to injury, many of these same workers received bonuses, despite published reports that many were charged with multiple criminal acts. Ironically, the top IRS commissioner complained insufficient money forced a reduced taxpayer phone aid program during this year. Some reports stated they actually coordinated the slowdown for effect. Congressional committees frequently demand explanations, getting few answers, but these IRS offenders rarely lose their jobs. If they retire, or are reassigned, pay and pensions often continue. Why? As federal union employees, cumbersome documentation takes years to fire these losers. Does your job work like that? Ok, that’s Washington, but what about when “real“ people do real damage? Since last summer, several American cities and towns have confronted high-profile police shootings within minority communities. Some officers have been charged; others have been cleared of wrongdoing. Sadly, many top-ranking local/federal politicians and media race-baiters have stoked the flames of racial division about police brutality, producing a chaotic climate. When proven wrong, they silently move to the next incident as others clean up the community mess they left behind. America most recently witnessed this in Ferguson, Missouri and now in Baltimore, Maryland. Although most protesting has been peaceful, the indiscriminate rioting, burning and looting by teens and young adults, yelling “no justice, no peace,” has cost hundreds of millions in property damage. In Baltimore, rioters injured 113 police officers by throwing missiles and destroyed 200 businesses. Inadequate law enforcement responses have destroyed whatever future that Baltimore neighborhood’s thousands of law-abiding citizens had to possibly own a small business or work in one. The mayor would not explain her alleged police order to “stand down” as these violent events unfolded. Some media, President Obama and what I consider sane people called them “thugs.” Amazingly, multiple Baltimore officials, activists and media people labeled them “misguided and misdirected” youth needing understanding and opportunity. More than 100 were arrested and released without charges. Really? So, violent young people get a sociological pass. How ironic that if a gaming property unknowingly allowed these same underage customers to play a slot machine or table game, they would pay tens of thousands in punitive fines. When casino employees have lost their licenses for personal infractions of casino policies, where is the proportional penalty? Ditch the political correctness and stop worrying about offending the perpetrators. Instead, show more concern for the victims. Young violent people under 21 can inflict deadly injury when rioting, but cause minimal harm when gambling. Caesars’ new Horseshoe Casino is in downtown Baltimore. Ferguson is near St. Louis‘s riverboat casinos. Many major cities, like my hometown of Philadelphia, now have urban casinos. Civil unrest and riots cause property damage and devaluation, job losses and injury, hurting the area and regional economics. Business destruction impacts the incomes of nearby casino customers and out-of-towners may fear visiting an urban casino. Who will invest to rebuild those neighborhoods in future when real estate values plummet? Will operators spend millions in inner cities with uncertain futures and security from city leaders? They may want to hire locals, but have concerns that some employees could potentially join the civil unrest, especially if they do not fear consequences. If rioting occurs, could the mayhem spill over to nearby casinos with so much cash on site? Lawmakers must protect the lawful over the lawless. If they demand appropriate justice, then maybe the equal reaction will be more peace.

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