The beloved board game Monopoly has spawned all manner of themed spinoffs. There’s Dog-opoly, Chocolate-opoly, KISS-opoly, Muppet-opoly, Elvis-opoly and even Las Vegas-opoly.
There isn’t yet a Nevada-opoly, but if there was, the rules of the game would have to be changed significantly to be realistic.
First, there would be two competing businesses. Biz No. 1 would own Boardwalk and Park Place and have a hotel/casino on each space. Every other property would be owned by Biz No. 2, with just one little neighborhood tavern on each space.
Naturally, the government would control all of the railroads and utilities and also serve as the banker and jailer.
Forget the dice. When it’s their turn, the players would simply announce how many spaces, between 2 and 12, they wish to advance. Biz No. 1 and Biz No. 2 would offer incentives to get the players to visit one of their properties. When they do, the player spends the listed amount while on that space.
Now a player with a lot of cash might be enticed to go to a Biz No. 1 property in return for dinner for two and a show. Players with less cash would likely settle for patronizing Biz No. 2 properties for nothing more than convenience and an occasional free drink for playing the video poker machines.
Different strokes for different folks. Free market competition. But here’s the twist.
Let’s say a lot people like to go to Biz No. 2 properties and Biz No. 1 doesn’t like having the competition. So in the middle of the game Biz No. 1 goes to the government and gets the government to force Biz No. 2 to retroactively make major operational changes and expensive upgrades to its properties.
To make matters worse, after Biz No. 2 completes the forced upgrades, let’s say Biz No. 1 comes back to the government and demands Biz No. 2 be forced to make even MORE expensive upgrades and redesigns. A never-ending competitor-inspired/government-imposed business nightmare.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a game. It’s exactly what’s been going on the last couple of years — with Station Casinos being Biz No. 1 and Dotty’s Neighborhood Taverns being Biz No. 2.
Dotty’s is a great Nevada business success story. In 1995, founder Craig Estey opened six Dotty’s neighborhood taverns in Nevada. At the time, all the so-called experts predicted his business model would fail. Instead, Dotty’s took off, and now has dozens of locations all across the state.
So in 2011, Stations and other big gaming operators started agitating state and local governments to screw with Dotty’s successful business model and inhibit the small business’s ability to expand and compete profitably. Outrageous, real-life crony capitalism.
Oh, and get ready to play the newest spin-off version: Taxi-opoly. In this game, the government will team up with the state’s taxicab industry to crush ride-sharing competitors such as Uber and Lyft.
(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.MuthsTruths.com).