Double or Nothing: California Moves to Stop Welfare Recipients From Using Cash to Gamble

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has moved to stop a legitimately disturbing trend: welfare recipients using state-issued debit cards withdrew welfare payments as cash from casino floors. Since October 2009, welfare recipients have withdrawn more than $1.8 million in taxpayer cash on casino floors.

Schwarzenegger issued an executive order requiring welfare recipients to “promise ” they will use cash benefits only to “meet the basic subsistence needs” of their families. It is not clear what penalties come from broken promises. More than half of the tribal casinos and poker rooms in California showed such withdrawals using the debit cards issued by the state in 2002.

The state is moving to get the card vendor to blocking its use at casino machines. Of course, they could still take cash at other locations (soon to be located near casinos) and let the good times roll.

Source: LA Times.

29 thoughts on “Double or Nothing: California Moves to Stop Welfare Recipients From Using Cash to Gamble

  1. Of course it’s laugh out loud shocking, but before the debit cards they could just take the welfare check, cash it and then go to the casino. And, as Prof. Turley points out, they can still go to a grocery store or whatever, get the money from that ATM and then go to the casino.

    If they violate their promises, can they be sued for breach of promise?

  2. And then there were none. They have already won the lottery. If they are gambling with taxpayer dollars they have it better than the rest.

    I know the justification for funding the cash is that there are some incidental that come up that cash is needed. Well, this does not appear to be within the realm of classification, in my book at least.

    Could they (the recipients) be charged with misuse of government funds?

  3. AY,

    I think the better question is how are they surviving the rest of the month? If they have another source of income that they didn’t report when qualifying for welfare, they could very well be charged with something.

  4. I want to know (rhetorical) how gambling with taxpayer dollars is any different than taking graft to influence Congress to bailout Wall St. criminals or going to war against a country that didn’t attack us for the personal profit of the President and Vice President.

    Misappropriation of funds is misappropriation of funds.

  5. oh puleeeeze! Let’s kick ’em while they’re down…and beat ’em up reeeeeeal good for doin what the Gov and the Corporationss and the rest of the mindless greedmongering slaughtercrack mobs do everyday under the guise of ‘law’….

    ‘The root of addiction is unresolved emotional trauma. When traumas, be they extreme or mild, are not resolved they leave behind a slew of painful, unprocessed feelings in the unconscious. ‘


  6. If we aren’t going to charge Wall Street and Bank execs with misuse of tax dollars (bonuses) then we can’t bitch about the welfare gamblers. Not unless, of course, we want to be habitual hypocrites.

  7. We need to “walk a mile in their shoes” before we sit in judgment. Some people take their welfare checks and buy cigarettes, which is a waste of money in my book; but, I am not addicted to nicotine. Some even buy alcohol. When you are poor, the idea of hitting it big can really eat at you. I don’t think Arnold has ever been that poor to know.

  8. While this isn’t kosher, I think CA would save a lot more than $1.8M if they went after corporations that exploit loopholes to pay less in taxes.

  9. Supreme Court rules against Christian student group that ‘discriminated’ against gays…

    My blog readers will be interested in your post so added a trackback to it on CatholicTide…

  10. And all that amounts to squat when you consider Uncle Sam squanders $400 per gallon on gas for each & every machine deployed in perhaps the most absurdly unwinnable war in human history.

  11. Remember George, you could issue strip club and casino cards to every gold-bricker in every state and it would be only a drop in a bucket compared to the truly unimaginable corporate & military welfare that goes on unreported under our noses each and every day as just standard operating procedure.

    Lets see, 1.8 million dollars versus how many B2 bombers have been churned out at 1 billion per copy with no enemy to deploy them against? Lets, see. If you were to click a stop watch right now and counted the seconds it would take you 32 years to click off a billion seconds. 1 airplane. 32 years. What has Uncle Sam pissed away in Afghanistan? Lets say it’s a trillion dollars. That’s a thousand billions. If it’s not that yet it won’t take long when the price of fuel is $400 per gallon. Put it in perspective man. Railing against welfare cheats is pure rightwing nonsense designed to obfuscate who is realliy stealing from the taxpayer — a parasitic minority known as the Ruling Class.

  12. Karl,

    Relax. 😉

    I was just posting a link to a story from today’s L.A. Times that was directly related to the Professor’s original story. Some of the regulars here post updates to featured stories in an effort to keep others informed and the posts up-to-date.

    By the way, I don’t disagree with your assessments on war funding and proliferation. If you take the time to look at some of my other comments on this blog, I think you’ll see that. I also posted something today on the G-20 “5-meter” law that was lied about by police officials in Toronto (you can see that link under the “Corrections” tab). Also, did you know that $1 Billion was spent (wasted) for three days of security for this event?

    Have a good evening.

  13. A parasitic minority known as the Ruling Class.–Karl Friedrich

    Thank you KF

    Figure 4: Share of wealth held by the Bottom 99% and Top 1% in the United States, 1922-2007.

    Here are some dramatic facts that sum up how the wealth distribution became even more concentrated between 1983 and 2004, in good part due to the tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions: Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s (Wolff, 2007).

    Woosty’s still a Cat thanks for the above link.


    Toronto’s Police Chief Blair making up regulations on the fly, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!

  14. the only problem with the idea of taxing corporations is that they don’t pay taxes we do. all they do is jack up the price to cover the taxes. so the pair of shoes that cost 10 bucks now cost twelve and we pay the tax. and smaller companies that might have been able to compete at 10 but cant at twelve go by by.

  15. Good point George. A billion bucks for security for a G20 concert. WTF? It’s an outrage. Somebody’s stealing. More corporate welfare on display, no doubt to a handful of security & consulting firms, probably some new division of Blackwater. The whole thing is disgusting.

  16. Right CCD.

    Imagine there’s exactly a hundred people on some island society called Freedom & Democracy where there’s exactly 100 pennies to divide amongst them and then, say, somebody we elect as the leader came up with the idea that the best system that humans could ever hope to achieve, in fact it’s such a brilliant system that everyone should be eager to send their 1st born kid off to fight and die for, is one where 2 people get 80 pennies and 98 people get 20 pennies to split.

    Imagine how exciting this system will be, proclaims the leader, who happens to be one of the lucky 2 people. Isn’t everybody just all eager to get started building Freedom & Democracy!

    Consider how ingenious the propaganda system must be to successfully promote such an iniquitous social arrangement as the pinnacle of the greatest country that ever existed.

    Imagine the social forces at work & the starvation of education necessary to allow some laid off person with no health insurance to shriek at some town hall meeting that they don’t want no stinking government run free health care!

    Like Noam Chomsky said about the American ruling class propaganda machine — “Goebbels would have been proud.”

  17. ‘Byron 1, June 30, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    the only problem with the idea of taxing corporations is that they don’t pay taxes we do. all they do is jack up the price to cover the taxes. so the pair of shoes that cost 10 bucks now cost twelve and we pay the tax. and smaller companies that might have been able to compete at 10 but cant at twelve go by by.’

    that’s unfortunately an excellent point…what do you suggest then?

    also, that really doesn’t splain the legal movments to protect the corporations from having to behave responsibly NO MATTER WHAT ie; capping liabilities etc….

    should they not, at the least, play by the same rules as everyone else?

  18. CCD,

    Ugly for the economy in general considering we have a consumer economy now instead of a production economy. Can’t consume if you’re struggling to get by. Along those lines, I saw an interesting article today in which Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel called out the myth that off-shoring for lower labor costs is beneficial. His main point was that “[n]ot only did we lose an untold number of jobs,” says Grove, “we broke the chain of experience that is so important in technological evolution. As happened with batteries, abandoning today’s ‘commodity’ manufacturing can lock you out of tomorrow’s emerging industry.” His solution is to create incentives for domestic production, including a tax penalty for off-shoring.

  19. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: consumer and worse, service, economies are the ultimate in illusion. The only real economic power is in production capacity.

  20. Lol you socialist are a riot. First of all, you’re saying that because any money is spent irresponsibly, then it’s okay to spend all money irresponsibly. I guess we should have sent the middle east a fruit basket after they killed thousands of Americans. Secondly, the reason wealth is unevely distributed is only some people want to work hard to become wealthy. Success is NOT a result of chance, as liberals like to believe. That evil 2% of people with the money are already paying almost 50% of the taxes. That means the lazy trash is getting a free ride. Why don’t you stop being jealous and hateful of hard working people and let their success motivate you to achieve the same thing?

  21. It’s time that all of America puts a stop to this welfare fraud. Quit giving money to women who are too lazy to work and just keep popping out babies every 9 months to get more money on the welfare program so they can hand it over to the gangster boyfriend who lives right there in the home . The brats are not seeing one dime of this money. It’s going on B.S. They need to make them line up for meals. Let them live in tents and feed them birth control pills. Put a stop to this crap !!! They are continually breeding more welfare recipients. Why do we keep feeding them ?
    The children turn out to be lazy just like the parents. And most welfare recipients are a burden to school systems. Now People this is the truth ! The ones of you who don’t like it are the ones that are guilty. The rest of us are tired of keeping your miserable lives up.

  22. Generally, people who want to do good end up creating more trouble without meaning to do so. Those who want the State to do right and to do well by the people are unwittingly creating a patriarchal — something which all of them hate with all the rage they can muster — state, and forcing the poor people to become permanently dependent on a benefactor. Of course, they will say that when the state fulfils its social and economic obligations towards the poor, it is not doing a favour and that it is merely duty-bound to do so.

    There is something troubling about this. The simple fact is that the more one is dependent on the State, the less free one is. One of the defining features of freedom is that you are responsible for yourself, and that includes your basic and other needs. Yes. The self-reliant man/woman is the free man/woman in the old fashioned, classical sense. What the State ought to be doing is to ensure that no one comes in the way of enjoying your freedom — other individuals, other groups including the state itself. Put in another way, all of us have put up this mechanism called the State so that we can enjoy our freedoms. By legislating rights which only the State can fulfil, we are letting go of some of our invaluable freedom.

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