UPDATE: Nevada has approved interstate online gaming. The governor signed a bill yesterday afternoon that allows the Silver State to negoitate online gambling agreements directly with other states.
Delaware has also declared itself the first state with a "broad spectrum" of legalized online gambling and USA Today reports that "online wagers would generate at least $3.75 million in revenue for fiscal 2013." And this week, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie confirmed that he would sign a bill legalizing online gambling in his state.
Other states -- including Mississippi, Iowa and California -- could follow suit.
So if it is going to become that much easier to gamble, now may be the time to brush up on your awareness of what games provide the best return-on-investment. And stay tuned to this weekend's Marketplace Money, where we talk with a gambling expert about how to win online and what to watch out for when playing in an Internet casino.
Let us know if you score well in our quiz below and we'll invite you to come with us the next time we head to Las Vegas.
DATA FROM: Wizard of Odds
Baseball fans and collectors are bidding on baseball history: a bloodstained sock worn by Curt Schilling in the 2004 World Series. The sock had been on loan to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but Schilling was forced to put it up for auction after his video game company went bankrupt.
Fish fraud is often just a form of swindling when a cheap fish, like tilapia, is sold as pricy red snapper. But a conservation group says it also puts consumers at risk of health issues and makes it harder to avoid buying fish that are being overfished.
A satellite image combining infrared, near infrared and green light produces a colorful combination. The volcano has been blowing off steam, and lava, this week.
Frustration over a change in federal copyright policy making it illegal to unlock a new cellphone has resulted in more than 100,000 signatures on a petition at the White House's website, meaning the executive branch must now respond to the call to overturn the policy.
The senators cited Hagel's lackluster confirmation hearing performance and his views on Iran. The White House said it would not back down from the nomination.
The New Y0rk Times Company owns the Boston Globe. It has for 20 years. Now, it wants to sell The Globe. And that got Marketplace thinking: What would it take to expand our media empire, starting with the Boston Globe? Now, we're not going to do a public radio pledge drive to raise money to buy the paper. But if we could? I asked media analyst Ken Doctor, who writes the blog Newsonomics, if we should try.
"This is a great buy," Doctor says, without hesitation. He points out that the Globe's newsroom hasn't been gutted, like other papers. It's 365 staff members strong. Plus, adding The Globe would let Marketplace try for the golden fleece of media: convergence. We could be pioneers who bring words, audio, video and digital everything together in one company. In addition, the paper still makes money -- about $20 million a year. So, what should we pay?
"A hundred million would be about four to five times that annual profit, and that is what these newspapers are going for these days," Doctor says.
So I had Kai Ryssdal call our company's chief operating officer in Minnesota, Dave Kansas.
He said no.
"A hundred million is a steal? For dead trees?" he said.
Maybe just as well, since journalism professor Jeff Jarvis at City University of New York says the Globe, while a great brand, also has major downsides. Debt, pension, big, old facilities, unions and "other difficulties of life" being just a few on his list. Jarvis says we'd have to be prepared to be the bad guys.
"Could you go through the painful process of reducing the Boston Globe to boston.com?"
Massive layoffs and axing the printed paper edition are inevitable, he says, as the Globe undergoes the same digital march so many other papers have taken. Besides, we don't have that $100 million to invest anyway. Let's just ensure our own survival first.
Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott is now urging his state to expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care overhaul, a significant policy shift after it was Scott who helped lead the charge against the new health care law.
But the question states like Florida aren't facing isn't just a political one -- it's economic as well.
Think about it: Washington picks up the tab on expanding Medicaid for the first three years, what’s not to love about that?
Starting next year, individuals and families who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- about $25,000 for a family of three -- will become eligible for Medicaid. And the government will pick up 100 percent of the tab.
Again: What’s not to love?
“Well, first of all they don’t pick up 100 percent of the tab,” says Ed Haislmaier, a senior researcher fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
“The first three years the federal government pays 100 percent of the benefits costs, not the administrative costs,” he says.
But Haislmaier admits that’s small change. The big hit comes when the three years are up and the federal match starts to taper off to 90 percent.
“In Florida, by 2020, this is going to cost $832 million a year,” says Haislmaier.
Plus, the recession pushed more people into poverty and onto Medicaid and state budgets shrank. Expanding Medicaid now is just too expensive. Haislmaier says it doesn’t matter how sweet the offer from Washington.
“That’s like saying I’m going to give you a car and pay 90 percent. If you don’t have the other 10 percent, that’s not a great deal,” he says.
It’s true, states would have to cough up some dough: $5.5 billion over the next decade in the case of Florida.
Urban Institute economist John Holahan says it’s worth it. For every dollar Florida spends, it gets $12 back from the feds.
“There just aren’t that many ways to get that kind of a return, if you are a state official,” he says.
It all comes down to where the state officials want to spend taxpayer dollars, says Joan Alker of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. No matter what, she say, you can’t wish away the problem of the uninsured.
“This allows states to use taxpayer dollars in a smarter way by giving them primary and preventive care up front rather than waiting until they get sicker and wind up in the emergency room,” she says.
Alker says the reality in some states is elected leaders will have to spend political capital if they want to make financial sense.