WARNING: This back-to-school commercial is NOT a late-night comedy sketch.
Why is it that my husband and I have never entertained the notion that New York's racetrack casinos are the best choice for funding New York's schools?
According to this 30-second spot from The New York Gaming Association, [scroll down to the bottom of the post] they are a reliable education partner that contributes billions to the state's public schools.
NY casinos pay high tax rates, and all those revenues get rolled into the education budget to the tune of a billion dollars a year. Oh, I imagine there are other ways for governments to fund public schools, but none that offer NYC middle class parents more time at the craps table. If you win, you can afford to pay the sitter, and if you lose, well, you've paid a teacher's salary.
Admittedly, casinos are not the most obvious "reliable education partner," but I'm a fan of thinking outside the box. For one thing, elementary schools could replace boring chess clubs with exciting black jack tournaments. I can just hear Brooks now: "Mom, I split eights and then double-downed on an eleven!"
And consider the racetrack field trip possibilities! Learning how to read a tip sheet and to distinguish between trifecta and quinella betting will prepare our young students with the kind of real-world skills that will serve them well, especially if the current job market doesn't improve; Brooks and his peers can become the next generation of bookies.
There is the pesky gambling age law to circumvent before we can fully incorporate slots and poker video gaming into the K-12 curriculum, but how much of a stretch would that be given how dedicated the casinos are to educating our kids?
It's tough to question their educational zeal given that they spent millions of dollars on this commercial; only a hardened cynic would argue that its purpose has more to do with casino profits than public schools.
Of course, some Debbie Downers will argue that casinos promote addiction, prostitution and record suicide rates, but we can leave that out of the equation—after all, the ad doesn't even mention it.
Bottom line: whether you're a New York City public school parent, teacher or adminstrator, write to your local government representative right now and tell them our kids need more casinos!