Gambling Legalization and Poverty

Categories: Poverty

There are certain types of gambling that people should be aware of

  1. Gambling is any bet you make that involves chance, a stake, and there is a pay-off. “Here is the definition of gamble – to play at any game of chance for stakes, to bet on an uncertain outcome” (Brown). “The following three elements must be present for something to be defined as gambling: a pay-off, the element of chance, and the stake risked by the bettor” (Brown).
  2. Many events could be considered gambling, but the most popular form of gambling is lotteries.

    “Some types of gambling are gaming, betting, lotteries, sweepstakes, raffles and pools” (Brown). “According to a December 2007 Gallup poll, playing the lottery is the most popular form of gambling in the U. S. ” (Update: Lotteries).

  3. Playing the lottery is the most played gambling “game” in the U. S.  “Nearly half of the poll’s respondent, 46%, said they had bought a state lottery ticket in the past year” (Update: Lotteries); “By contrast, only 24% of respondents had participated in the second most popular form of gambling, casino games, while 14% had bet on the outcomes of sporting events in an office pool” (Update: Lotteries).

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Some people think gambling helps state governments and the public but gambling is only detrimental to both

  1. Supporters say that lotteries are worthwhile because they are beneficial for everyone and they are entertaining, but critics say that legalizing gambling would actually cost the government a lot of money. “Of the staggering $56 billion that Americans spent playing state-run lotteries in 2006, $17 billion went directly to state governments, while the remainder was awarded as prize money or used to cover the advertising and administrative costs of the lotteries” (Update: Lotteries); “According to John Kindt’s testimony before a hearing of the U.

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    S. House of Representatives committee on Small Business, ‘for every $1 the state receives in gambling revenues, it costs the state at least $3 in increased criminal-justice, social-welfare and other expenses” (Brown).

  2. Even though gambling brings in revenue to the state government, the government doesn’t help the public when they use the revenue. “Critics argue that U. S. states should not encourage their residents to waste money on lottery games” (Update: Lotteries); “Also, critics maintain that lottery revenues do not significantly improve the quality of eduation in most states, and are often diverted to unknown or wasteful purposes” (Update: Lotteries).
  3. The revenue earned from gambling and lotteries just substitutes the funds for education so the money doesn’t add to the education funds. “In many cases, they argue, lottery proceeds merely replace – rather than supplement – money that states had already earmarked for education” (Update: Lotteries); “ ‘[State] legislators merely substitute general revenue funds with lottery dollars, so the schools don’t really gain any additional funding,’ says O. Homer Erekson” (Update: Lotteries).

If gambling were to be legalized , it would hurt the lower income people even more greatly

  1. Low-income people are more likely to spend more on gambling because they want to get rich quick. “The Field Institute’s California Poll found that 18 percent of the state’s adults bought 71 percent of the tickets” (Anderson); “These heavy lottery players are more likely than others to be black, poorer and less educated than the average Californian” (Anderson).
  2. Gambling should not be legalized because if it was low income people would be even more tempted to gamble and waste their money. “Alicia Hansen of the Tax Foundation, a tax policy research group, notes that $500 worth of lottery tickets in one year may be a drop in the bucket to an upper-income person, but it is a significant portion of a poor person’s income” (Update: Lotteries); “Lottery supporters maintain that people of all income levels – not just poor people – play lottery games with roughly equal frequency, and insist that lotteries are specifically targeted at the poor” (Update: Lotteries).
  3. Gambling shouldn’t be legalized because if there was more legal ways to gamble the poor would be even more poor. “Proponents argue that state lotteries are an effective way to raise taxes painlessly” (Anderson). “But the evidence shows that legalized gambling often hurts those who are poor and disadvantaged” (Anderson).

Legalizing gambling would lead to more people with problem gambling and gambling addiction

  1. Problem gambling is a very serious condition and anyone can be infected by it. “Whether you sports, buy lottery tickets or scratch cards, play roulette, poker, or slots, in a casino or online, problem gambling can strain your relationships, interfere with home and work, and lead to financial catastrophe” ( Robinson). “Problem gambling affects people from all walks of life” (Robinson).
  2. Because more gambling places are becoming legalized, there is a lot more people addicted to gambling. “The truth is when gambling expands, so does the number of gambling addicts” (Brown). “It is estimated that close to 10 million Americans now have a gambling habit that is out of control – and the number is growing daily” (Brown).
  3. Gambling leads to compulsive gambling because once you win, or lose, money you are hooked.  “Compulsive gamblers can’t control the impulse to gamble, even when they know their gambling is hurting themselves or their loved ones” (Robinson); “Compulsive gamblers keep gambling whether they’re up or down, broke or flush, happy or depressed” (Robinson).

Cite this page

Gambling Legalization and Poverty. (2017, Apr 25). Retrieved from

Gambling Legalization and Poverty

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