|When gambling expands, so does the number of
gambling addicts. 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.
- The number of
compulsive gamblers will increase between 100 and 550 percent when
gambling is brought into an area, according to University of Illinois
Professor John Kindt.1
- In Iowa, the number
of individuals with serious gambling problems more than tripled after
casinos were introduced.2
- Casinos earn more
than half their revenues from problem and pathological gamblers,
according to Earl Grinols, University of Illinois economist.3
- The average debt of
a gambling addict in treatment ranges between $18,000 and $50,000,
according to Illinois State University Professor Henry Lesieur.4
- Twenty percent of
compulsive gamblers attempt suicide, according to the National Council
on Problem Gambling.5
Gambling has proven
to be a devastating adversary to an already struggling American family.
Thousands of families have been destroyed by gambling addictions;
thousands more are in a state of crisis.
- Harrison County,
Miss., has averaged 500 more divorces per year since casinos arrived.6
- A 1995 survey of
compulsive gamblers in Illinois found that 26 percent were divorced or
separated due to gambling problems.7
- Domestic violence
and child abuse increase dramatically when gambling comes into an area,
according to a 1995 report from Maryland's Attorney General.8
- The Gulf Coast
Women's Center in Biloxi, Miss., has received an average of 400 more
crisis calls per month since gambling's arrival.9
- Central City,
Colo., experienced a six-fold rise in child protection cases the year
after casinos arrived.10
- Children of
compulsive gamblers do worse in school than their peers, are more
likely to engage in substance abuse, are more susceptible to gambling
and eating disorders, and are more prone to depression, according to
the National Council on Problem Gambling.11
Adolescents may be
the biggest victims of America's gambling obsession. Despite age
restrictions, teens are able to access legalized gambling with
regularity-and they are paying a heavy price.
- Roughly six percent
of American adolescents (more than one million) are already addicted to
gambling, according to Howard Shaffer of Harvard Medical School. One in
six teens experiences gambling-related problems.12
- At least
three-quarters of high school seniors gamble.13
- In 1995, University
of Minnesota researchers discovered that more than half of underage
Minnesota youth surveyed had participated in legal gambling
- Teens are three
times as likely as adults to become addicted to gambling once exposed,
according to Loma Linda University Medical School Professor Durand
- At least one in 10
teens engages in illegal activity (stealing, shoplifting, selling
drugs, or prostitution) to finance their gambling, according to Durand
Crime and gambling
are inseparable partners, as communities with gambling can readily
- The crime rate in
gambling communities is nearly double the national average, according
to a 1996 U.S. News & World Report analysis.17
- Three years after
casinos arrived, Atlantic City went from 50th to first in the nation in
- Half of Louisiana
district attorneys surveyed in 1995 cited gambling as a factor in
rising crime rates in their jurisdictions.19
- Organized crime has
infiltrated a number of legal gambling operations, according to a
report from the Maryland Attorney General.20
- At least two-thirds
of compulsive gamblers turn to crime to finance their addiction,
according to Valerie Lorenz, director of the Compulsive Gambling Center
- Top law enforcement
officials strongly oppose gambling. Thirty-year Michigan Attorney
General Frank J. Kelley said, "[T]here has never been an issue that has
disturbed me any more than the proliferation of gambling in our
makes poor people poorer. It also adds individuals and families to the
- Gambling is a
regressive form of taxation. The poor lose the greatest share of their
income to gambling, as various studies show.23
- A 1995 study of
casino gamblers in Wisconsin found that half had household incomes
- Those with incomes
below $10,000 comprise Z percent of Illinois riverboat gamblers. They
report median gambling losses of $1,900 annually.25
- The poor and
minorities are more prone to gambling problems, according to Henry
- The Minneapolis
Star-Tribune reports that more than 1,000 Minnesotans file for
bankruptcy annually due to gambling losses.27
- The Detroit News
reports that gambling-related bankruptcies in metro Detroit have
increased up to 40-fold since the opening of a large casino in
neighboring Windsor, Ontario.28
industry's mantra of jobs, economic development, and tourism is an
enticing one but it is false. Gambling has failed to live up to its
lofty promises time and time again.
- Earl Grinols found
that the introduction of casino riverboats in Illinois did not create
additional jobs; they merely took jobs away from existing industries.29
- Counties that added
casinos in the early 1990s have experi- enced no additional growth in
new businesses, according to a U.S. News & World Report analysis.30
- Gambling's ability
as a tourism draw has been vastly overstated. Surveys in Illinois,
Wisconsin, and elsewhere show that gambling entrepreneurs make most of
their profits from residents, not tourists.31
- Though gambling is
often sold as a revenue boon to education, it has frequently failed to
deliver. Often state legislatures simply redirect funds, resulting in
no net benefit for education.32
- Each problem
gambler costs society an estimated $13,000 to $52,000 per year.33
- John Kindt
calculates that 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.34
industry exerts tremendous influence in places where it has established
itself. Gambling-related political scandals have erupted in many states.
- The gambling
industry has become the single most powerful lobby in many states,
according to U.S. Gambling Study author Robert Goodman.35
- In Illinois,
gambling lobbyists include a former governor, former attorney general,
two former U.S. attorneys, a former director of state police, a
prominent former judge, a former mayor of Chicago. and seven former
- Dozens of elected
officials in Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky and
West Virginia have been convicted or forced out of office on charges of
gambling related corruption.37
1 Kindt. John , "The
Economic Aspects of Legalized Gambling Activities," Drake Law Review
vol. 41 I994 p 59
2 Volsburg Rachel A. "Gambling and Problem Gambling in lowa: A
Replication Survey." lowa Department of Human Services, July 25, 1998.
3 Grinols, Earl L., statement before the U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on the Judiciary, Sept. 28, 1995.
4 Lesieur Henry R . presentation before the National Coalition Against
Legalized Gambling. Orlando, Fla., Oct. 29, 1995.
5 National Council on Problem Gambling Inc., "The Need for a National
Policy on Problem and Pathological Gambling in America," Nov. 1,1993.
6 Mississippi State Health Department, Director of Public Health
Studies, "Vital Statistics Mississippi, 1994."
7 Illinois Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling, "Results of a
1995 Survey of Gamblers Anonymous members in Illinois." June 14, 1995.
8 Curran, Jr., Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph, "The House Never
Looses and Maryland Cannot Win: Why Casino Gaming is a Bad Idea," Oct.
16, 1996, pp. 32-33.
9 Interview with Jane Philo, executive director of the Gulf Coast
Women's Center, Nov. 11, 1995.
10 Long, Patrick, Jo Clark, and Derik Liston, "Win, Lose, or Draw," the
Aspen Institute, 1994, p. 54.
11 National Council on Problem Gambling op cit., p. 11.
12 Shaffer Howard J, and Matthew Hall. "Estimating the Prevalence of
Adolescent Gambling Disorders: A Quantitative Synthesis and Guide
Toward Standard Gambling Nomenclature," (in press) Journal of Gambling
studies. July 22,1994, p 1.
13 Ibid., p. 4.
14 Winters, Ken C., Randy D. Stinchfield, and Leigh G. Kim, "Monitoring
Adolescent Gambling in Minnesota, Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 11,
no. 2, 1995, p. 179.
15 Jacobs, Durand F, "A 14-yegr old Plays Cards for Cash: Is it More
Than Funand Games?." The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior
Letter, 1995, p. 2.
16 lnterview with Durand Jacobs, Nov. 3 1995.
17 Shapiro, Joseph P, "America's Gambling Fever" U.S. News and World
Report, Jan. 15, 1996. p. 58.
18 Goodman, Robert, "Legalized Gambling as a Strategy for Economic
Development," March 1994, p. 58.
19 Garland, Greg, "Crime Rising With Gambling." Sunday Advocate, July
30.1995, p. IA
20 Cram,op. cit. 4o-45.
21 Lorenz, Valerie, "Dear God, Just Let Me Win!", Christian Social
Action, July/Aug. 1994, p. 26.
22 Kelley. Frank J, address before the International Conference on
Gambling, Nashville Tenn. Feb. 11, 1994.
23 Abbott, Douglas A. and Sheran L. Cramer, "Gambling Attitudes and
Participation: A Midwestern Surveys," Journal of Gambling Studies, vol.
9. no. 3, 1993 p.259, Clotfeller, Charles T. and Philip J. Cook,
Selling Hope: State Lotteries in America, (Cambridge Mass., Harvard
University Press 1991). p 100. Commission on the Review of the National
Policy Toward Gambling, "Gambling in America," 1976 p. 65; Borg Mary
O., Paul M. Mason. and Stephen L Shapiro, "The Incidence of Taxes on
Casino Gambling: Exploiting the Tired and the Poor," American Journal
of Economics and Sociology, July 1991, pp. 323-332.
24 Thompson, William, Richard Gazel, and Dan Rickman, "The Economic
Impact of Native American Gaming in Wisconsin," Wisconsin Policy
Research Institute Report, April, 1995, p.23.
25 Better Government Association. "Statement of J. Terrence Brunner,
Executive Director," Nov. 3 1995.
26 Lesieur Henry R., "Compulsive Gambling, " Society May/June 1992. p.
27 Ison, Chris. "Dead Broke," Star Tribune, Dec.. 3 1995 p. AI.
28 Fench, Ron "Gambling Bankruptcies Soar," Detroit News, Dec. 3, 1995,
29 Grinols, Earl L., Testimony before a hearing of the U.S. House of
Representatives Committee on Small Business, Sept. 21, 1994.
30 Shapiro, op. cit., p. 56.
31 Thompson, Gazel, and Rickman, op. cit.; Better Government
Association, op. cit.
32 Calonius, Erik "The Big Payoff from Lotteries," Fortune, March 25,
1991; Goodman, 1994 op. cit., pp. 143-149.
33 Goodman, Robert, The Luck Business (New York; Free Press. 1995, P.
34 Kindt, John Warren, statement before a hearing of the U. S. House of
Representatives Committee on Small Business. September 21, 1994.
35 Goodman, 1995., op. cit., p. 190.
36 Senator Paul Simon's Monthly "Report to the Senate" delivered on the
Senate floor July 31, 1995.
37 Congressman Frank R. Wolf, Statement on H.R 497 "The National
Gambling Impact and Policy Commission Act of 1995" before the House
Judiciary Committee, Sept. 29, 1995.