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Lotto Numbers Don't Add Up 

Props to Dr. Nathan Boddie for his piece in favor of health care reform. He succinctly sums up why our system so badly needs change. If we could somehow get all the gun totin', town hall hootin', republi-necks to read his article, we might achieve some real change.

Conversely, I couldn't agree less with your choice of giving local tavern owners the boot over video lottery. First of all, your math figures are misleading and straight up wrong. Cutting the tavern owners' share of profits from 24% to 15% represents much more than a 9% loss of revenue for tavern owners.

Some people say video lottery is a tax on the mathematically challenged. Well, you guys at The Source must be real players. Sixth-grade-level math tells you that if you had $24, and it becomes $15, you lost 37%. So, actually, when you say the average tavern owner "earns $70,000 a year from them, his take would fall to $63,700," what you should have said is that their take would fall from $70,000 to $44,100.

Running a restaurant or bar is expensive. Rent, utilities and labor cost mandate that everything be marked up 60-70%. A glass of Mirror Pond costs $4 at a bar, when you could get it in the store for $1.25 per bottle. Yet, most bars squeak by to make ends meet.

While these machines are a guaranteed profit maker, there's overhead involved. They take up space as well as burn electricity and labor costs. I work as a bartender (not owner). Every time I cash out a lottery ticket, change paper in a machine, or attend to the countless other litanies of operational issues these machines incur, my boss (not the state) pays me to do so. Usually, another customer of our business has to wait in the meantime.

The state needs to remember that these machines are a partnership. Without tavern owners, the state wouldn't make anything off of them.

Dave McRae

Editor's note: Dave and Bruce are in fact correct; our math was off, way off, in the recent Boot. See this week's Department of Corrections in the Upfront section for a better accounting.


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