T Nation

In CA, Welfare Recipients Gamble on Your Dollar



Welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million from California casinos and card rooms between October and May, the Department of Social Services said Thursday.

The data release came after the Los Angeles Times determined that more than half of automated teller machines at California gambling venues gave welfare recipients access to cash through state-issued debit cards. The CalWORKs program is designed to provide money to low-income families for housing, food and clothing.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order Thursday to block cash access for welfare recipients at gambling sites in California.

"I urge the Legislature to pass more aggressive laws preventing benefit recipients from withdrawing cash assistance at casino and other gambling location ATMs that I will sign as soon as it hits my desk," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

The Times found that 32 of 58 tribal casinos and 47 of 90 card rooms housed ATMs that gave CalWORKs participants cash. Over eight months, the Department of Social Services data showed that welfare recipients withdrew $1.7 million at tribal casinos and $82,906 at card rooms.

That represents a sliver of the $2.38 billion CalWORKs recipients withdrew over that same period. More than half of the program's money comes from federal funds.

The Republican governor proposed eliminating CalWORKs in his May budget as a way to help bridge the state's $19.1 billion deficit. Democrats have vowed to block his wholesale elimination, but they said they support his executive order.

"We will conduct timely legislative oversight," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, in a statement. "We want to make sure all families are spending the money on the children it's intended to serve."

Note only california is paying for this, I just thought it should be brought to there attention.


Why not ban people that use the CalWorks debit card at Casions from ever recieving welfare ever again? All they have to do is go get money before leaving for the casinos. This does not deter gambling, it only deters people from getting money at the casino. They will have to travel away from the casino and then come back.


how about only giving out food stamps, people will always work the system, even with food stamps, but at least there is some control.

Best would be just eliminate these entitlement programs, but some people seem to think i is owed them, so that will never happen.


Even for someone with a defeatist attitude such as mine this is upsetting. Our representatives need to stop worrying about what will get them reelected and start thinking about what's best for the country. Dems agree that this is unacceptable, but won't do anything about it in fear of not getting reelected. $1.7 million and $2.4 billion are NOTHING compared to the amount of fraud associated with social security, medicare, and medicaid.


You are all a bunch of racist xenophobic pieces of shit. How dare you tell people how to spend someone else's money. I mean, just because it's tax payer money, that doesn't mean that the tax payers should dictate how it's spent. Poor people deserve to have houses with pools, cars, cash to gamble, vacations, pension, fuck you who disagree.

Before any of you bark at me, the above statement was written in total sarcasm. This state legislature is so horrible, I am hoping people get so pissed that we storm the capital and chase everyone out nude.




Like whats happening in Greece?


I want something worse, something along the lines of running them out of the state completely...literally.


I worked for the company that won the bid to "change" Ca's system from food stamps to EBT. It was mainly done to protect welfare recepients from the shame food stamps bring at stores. We are so socially PC, protecting poor people from humiliation here in CA.

I think that shame one felt from food stamps motivates them to get off their asses....instead, we make sure they are masked from these little social things that tend to motivate people to do for themselves.