A Case Against Legalized Gambling

Reprinted from National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

  1. Gambling costs far more than it benefits. Studies show that for every dollar gambling produces for a regional economy, three dollars are lost because of the economic and social costs of gambling. When government legalizes more gambling, taxpayers lose - whether they gamble or not.


  2. Gambling cannibalizes local businesses. A hundred dollars spent in a slot machine is a hundred dollars that is not spent in a local restaurant, theater or retail store. As Donald Trump told the Miami Herald, "People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they'll lose customer dollars to the casinos."


  3. Gambling triggers addiction. The more legalized gambling available, the more addictive behavior is triggered. In 1989, only 1.7% of Iowa's adults were gambling addicts, but after riverboat casinos were legalized, the rate of addiction more than tripled to 5.4%. The Florida Office of Planning and Budgeting conducted a study which concluded that the costs to government of gambling addiction far outweighed all revenues that might be generated by casino gambling.


  4. Gambling addiction has become an epidemic among youth. Researchers now call gambling the fastest-growing teenage addiction, with the rate of pathological gambling among high school and college-age youth about twice that of adults. According to Dr. Howard Shaffer, Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Addiction Studies, "Today, there are more children experiencing adverse symptoms from gambling than from drugs...and the problem is growing."


  5. Gambling attracts crime. A comprehensive report by the Attorney General of Maryland concludes, "Casinos would bring a substantial increase in crime to our state. There would be more violent crime, more crimes against property, more insurance fraud, more white collar crime, more juvenile crime, more drug and alcohol-related crime, more domestic violence and child abuse, and more organized crime."


  6. Gambling victimizes the poor. The poorest citizens spend the largest percentage of their incomes on gambling. Those who can afford it the least gamble the most. Both public and private gambling businesses target advertising directly at the weakest individuals in society because they are gambling's best customers.


  7. Gambling presents a bad example to our children. Gambling promotes the idea that luck, not education and hard work, is the key to success. Gambling produces no wealth for society, and suggests that productivity is not important. Gambling sets up artificial risks and glorifies individuals who take the biggest, most foolish risks.


  8. Gambling corrupts government. So much money is at stake, and gambling companies are so dependent on governmental decisions for a piece of those profits, that corruption is inevitable. Wherever gambling has gone, bribery, extortion and payoffs have followed.

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