As betting becomes more and more widespread in today’s society, one should take a look at the positive and negative aspects of the construction of casinos and other betting facilities. While gambling establishments have actually been revealed to benefit regional economies by creating tasks and producing tax revenues, they likewise result in many social problems such as increased suicide, criminal activity, mishap, and high-school leave rates. For instance, in Indiana, a research study shows its 10 riverboat casinos are to blame for $1 million worth of crime each week.
The upside is that it likewise generated $763 million in net income in one (Research study: In Spite Of Issues, 2006). The concern of betting, and particularly the building and construction of casinos, is important across the country as casinos are being integrated in efforts to restore cities and earn money. The dispute is complex with legitimate points on both sides, nevertheless one must comprehend each viewpoint in order to form a viewpoint of their own.
Advocates for casino building typically point to the economic benefits of locations with gambling establishments.
The National Research Study Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NRC) discovered that “gambling appears to have net economic advantages for economically depressed communities” and even “a brand-new gambling establishment of minimal attractiveness, positioned in a market that is not already saturated, will yield favorable economic benefits on internet to its host economy,” (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p. 111). Statistics have been found by many organizations that support this claim.
The National Viewpoint Research Study Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) discovered that “communities closest to casinos experience a 12% to 17% decrease in well-being payments, joblessness rates, and joblessness insurance,” (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p. 111). Examples of these benefits can be discovered across America. In Mississippi, the casino industry accounts for 3% of the states labor force and welfare payments have actually dropped as much as 29% in the areas with casinos. In Illinois, tax revenues from 10 Riverboat gambling establishments produced $236 million in 1995 and in Joliet; casinos employ 4,000 individuals with a yearly payroll of $86 million.
In Louisiana, the construction of casinos created approximately 10,000 construction jobs and in Shreveport, 20% of Harrah’s casino workers purchased a house in 1995, 11% got off welfare, and 18% stopped receiving unemployment payments (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p. 110). These facts clearly show that when gaming is introduced into a region, it creates jobs and revenue. Opponents of gambling admit that certain cities, for example Las Vegas, have prospered greatly due to the gambling industry; however, they also feel that Las Vegas is a poor model to represent the true affects of casinos in an area.
Because of Las Vegas’ position in the desert, tourists go to Las Vegas and turn the trip into a full-scale holiday. Las Vegas is unique in that people come for a week, stay in a hotel, eat at various restaurants and do a little shopping. In this way Las Vegas’ casinos not only make money for themselves, but also make money for the entire city. In comparison Atlantic City is a bus ride away from New York City and about 30 million people live close enough to visit its casinos for a day. In fact, people often make their own sandwiches to bring to the casinos and it’s no wonder Atlantic City brings in very few non-gambling dollars (Torr, 2002, p.103).
Towns like Joliet, Illinois and Gary, Indiana are very similar. They have nothing besides the casinos to attract tourists so they count on the locals to gamble away their money. Because the local citizens are spending their money on gambling, these casinos are actually taking away from the amount of money other businesses in the town would ordinarily be making. In Oregon, where the Seven Feathers Hotel and Casino opened, many nearby businesses have never been worse. According to a restaurant owner, his business dropped from $25,000 a month to below $10,000 a month.
Three other restaurants have been put out of business in the year and a half the Seven Feathers has been open (Stewart, 2001, p. 52). This decrease in revenue and eventual closing of businesses decreases the number of jobs offered by those businesses and also means that those businesses pay proportionately less tax to the local and state governments (Torr, 2002, p. 104). Lastly, in regards to the economic benefits of casinos, opponents say that casinos don’t even produce jobs for the city in which the casino is located.
In Joliet nearly 60% of the casino’s employees live outside the city, and over half live outside the county (Torr, 2002, p. 104). Also the statistics that show increase in employment of casinos do not take into account the job creation that would have occurred had the casino not been built. Along with refuting the economical advantages of casinos, opponents of the gambling industry also claim that casinos are the cause of many social problems. These social costs are extremely hard to put in a dollar amount, but that does not mean we don’t feel their effect.
Nevada, for example has the highest suicide rate in America. It also has among the highest number of accidents per mile driven, and deplorable crime, and high-school drop out rates in the country. Replication studies show that the more available and accessible gambling is, the higher the number of problem gamblers (Pavalko, 2002, p. 56). These problem gamblers have a high propensity to commit crimes, especially forgery, theft, embezzlement, and fraud. The American Insurance Institute estimates that 40% of white-collar crime has its roots in gambling.
Before these gamblers even resort to crime, they are often unproductive employees: often absent or late and usually distracted. A 1990 study in Maryland estimated that “the state’s 50,000 problem gamblers accounted for $1. 5 billion in lost productivity, unpaid state taxes, money embezzled, and other losses. ” Along with the increase in crime rates, the cost of incarcerating these criminals also increases. A police chief in a small town two hours away from the Foxwoods casino in Massachusetts reckoned that since the opening of the casino in 1992, local crime costs related to the casino have amounted to about $400,000 (Torr, 2002, p.105).
Proponents of casinos disagree and believe these numbers are exaggerated. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) found that “the vast majority of Americans Gamble recreationally and experience no measurable side effects related to their gambling” (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p. 111). The NROC, NRC, and the Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction found the prevalence of problem gambling to be around 1%, approximately 2 million people. These figures are far below the ones alleged by opponents of gambling.
Opponents claim more casinos will lead to large increases in problem gamblers. This doesn’t seem to be the case as the percent of problem gamblers in the 1970’s is very comparable to the figures today despite the growth of the gambling industry in that time. In regards to the suicide rates, a 1997 report from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) found suicide rates to be “regional phenomenon” and did not “mirror the availability of legalized gambling. ”
Another study, written for the American Gaming Association (AGA) by a team of UC-Irvine researchers found that gaming communities have “no higher risk” of suicide than non-gaming communities (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p. 115). My last point on the topic of the construction of casinos is its connection to organized crime. According to a 1982 Gallup poll, 71% of the American Public believes legalized gambling will attract organized crime (Eidsmoe, 1994, p. 93). These beliefs however, are based on the crime riddled casinos of the 1940’s and do not accurately represent today’s casinos.
In a final report by the federal commission, all rumors of continued organized crime involvement in the casino industry was put to rest. “All of the evidence presented to the commission indicates that effective state regulation, coupled with the corporate takeover of much of the industry, has eliminated organized crime from the ownership and operation of casinos,” (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p. 115). In my opinion, after concluding my research, casinos are not as bad as they are made out to be.
Compulsive gambling does not seem to be the epidemic I once believed, and while there are definite connections to crime rates in areas with casinos, I feel that the possible revenue of a casino outweighs those costs. That is not to say I’m ready for a casino to be built in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rather, I would like a good amount of space between my home and the casino, so that the negative side effects of the casino don’t hit quite as hard. Also, the money gained from the casino would have to be used for certain things, for example education, that will actually enhance the lifestyle in the surrounding area.
With this criteria fulfilled, I would definitely have to consider building a casino somewhere between Lincoln and Omaha, and hope that the positive side effects outweigh the negative. Unfortunately, whether or not the construction of a casino will help or hurt an economy is entirely unknown until after the fact. To decide whether or not a casino is right for one’s community, one must look at the sides I’ve presented above and do their best to make up their mind. After all, chances are a proposition for a casino will be showing up in a city near you.
Cite this essay
The effects of gambling on society. (2017, Apr 27). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-effects-of-gambling-on-society-essay