Gambling in the U.S.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” This popular slogan flashes nightly on our TV screens, advertising the allure of Las Vegas and all it has to offer. What is this message really saying to us? Come here, be irresponsible and reckless in your behavior, and no one needs to know. This is the message of legalized gambling. Gambling be should not be legalized, because Legalized gambling has economic, social, and moral costs that are too great a price to pay.
Those who support legalized gambling say that it is a great way to raise money without costing the people more taxes. However, the economic cost of raising money this way isn’t as effective as you think. For example, in a state lottery, for every $1 earned for a ticket purchased, $.60 goes toward the cost of managing, promoting and advertising for the lottery. This leaves only $.40 that goes back into the state pocket. Compare this to directly taxing $1 per person to raise money and only a small percentage is used to manage this money and more goes back to the state. If you go and visit any town or city that has legalized gambling you can see small businesses all boarded up. Money that could be invested, loaned and put back into the local economy is instead risked on gambling. Only the businesses that are associated with gambling really thrive. More money was spent on gambling then on schools and education systems, a study done in 1990 showed $286 billion spent on gambling versus $216 billion spent on elementary and secondary education. Consider also the uncollected debts of compulsive gamblers. Studies show that those most likely to purchase lottery tickets are those who are already poor and disadvantaged. The highest percentage are those on welfare and minor ities. Gambling increases when economic times are uncertain. Joseph Dunn, the Director of the National Council on compulsive gambling, states; “People who are worried about the factory closing take a chance on making it big. Once they win anything, they’re hooked.”

Those who support gambling hide the social impact it has on society. Gambling is just as much of an addition as drugs and alcohol. Gamblers anonymous estimate that there are over 12 million compulsive gamblers (and this is from an old study). Having legalized gambling makes recovery even more difficult for those affected by this. No one knows who can become addicted. When people get addicted to gambling they can loose all their money and later have shattered lives and lose their families. Family neglect, theft to cover debts, and involvement in crime are a few of the problems that those addicted to gambling face.

People who are for legalized gambling want us to assume that all people are gambling illegally already. This is not true. Legalizing gambling makes it easy for those who would not normally every gamble to do so. Legal gambling does no drive out illegal gambling. The opposite is true. The Organized Crime section of the Department of Justice found that “the rate of illegal gambling in those states which have some legalized form of gambling was three times as high as those states where there was not a legalized form of gambling.” Organized crime uses the “free” advertising for betting to run their own numbers games. Many people are willing to use the illegal bookies in order to wager more and to not have to report the money they win to the government. Because of gambling, people are never home with their family’s gambling makes people greedy. How many people will walk away when they are winning. Society should want to promote positive social values like hard work and honesty, not greed. Gambling also brings with it the irresponsible behavior that is advertised on the popular Las Vegas tv ads. Is this really the message we want to give our children? We wouldn’t think of advertising that its ok to do drugs, but that is kind of what gambling is.

Legalized gambling is a serious issue. It is one that our local community has had to face in recent years. It was voted down in 2007 and again most recently on House Ballot initiative 170. This is something we all need to be aware of since it will most likely come up again. We need to be prepared as a community to understand all the economic, social and moral reasons why legalized gambling is not for us. We do not want the message in our community that “What happens in Evanston, stays in Evanston.” Legalized gambling is wrong for us in Evanston.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback