Negative Effects of Gambling: Gambling's Impact - Gambling's Ruined Lives

Gambling's Impact on the...

Where is this money coming from? The money being lost is truly lost, by the gambler and to the general economy as well. With gasoline prices at nearly $3 per gallon, housing costs rising, and pension plans in jeopardy, the casino cash machine will either run out of gas or turn to even more desperate forms of marketing addictions.

What is inevitable is Ohio casinos will be in competition with Cedar Point, Kings Island, the Browns, Bengals, the Buckeyes, the Indians and the Reds, the Cavs and the Blue Jackets. The entertainment and restaurant business, retail and real estate, movie theatres and the most upscale malls, all Ohio businesses will be in competition with the casino industry. An industry that teaches people to throw money away - just for fun.

Visit the Mountaineer Casino outside Newell, West Virginia and look at the evidence. One of the only new businesses the casino brought into the community was a strip club, which was closed due to a fire. Hancock County, home of the Mountaineer Casino has an unemployment rate nearly 50% higher than the state average. 1

Or visit Detroit, Michigan where three new casinos promised to renew the downtown area. Casinos came to town but lay-offs continued. The casino lights burn brightly but people still desperately struggle to pay their utility bills in a city named the “poorest city in America” in 2004. 2

What is inevitable, is casinos are a great deal for the people who own them. Everyone else gets a tip at best. These small percentage cuts from the take will hardly deal with the infrastructure costs, increased crime, court costs, and lost revenue from local casinos. Because no future state or local taxes can be levied upon the casinos proceeds, communities can expect no help from casino revenues for local schools or urgent community needs.
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Some things have changed since 1996. There are now more regional “convenience” based casinos in America. There has also been a dramatic increase in tribal gambling across the nation. What casino backers are covering up is the real concern inside the industry over market saturation.

Mr. Keith Andrews, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs for Casino Windsor stated in 2005:

“The gaming market is dramatically different now from when the temporary casino opened 10 years ago. Then there was an ‘incredible’ demand for gaming and growth was booming. Now the reality is that the regional gaming market is not growing… We’re in a market share fight. We have to do whatever we can to capture our fair share.”

Mr. Andrews is only stating what the gambling industry has known for years. Gambling is like a balloon. You can only place so much air in the balloon before it bursts. That’s the way I. Nelson Rose described the gambling market back in 1991. Professor Rose is one the leading pro-gambling academics in the world. He predicted the current “Third Wave” of legalized gambling would end within 40 years due to market saturation, corruption, and a host of societal issues. When Professor Rose made that prediction tribal gambling barely existed in America. 4

Las Vegas is the best example of the serious consequences of gambling market saturation. The development of casinos around the nation and particularly tribal casinos have radically impacted the state of Nevada. On January 20, 2003 Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn told state lawmakers:

“For years, our economy has depended almost exclusively on tourism and gaming, rather than exporting goods and services. Three out of four of our tax dollars are collected from the sales and gaming taxes; taxes vulnerable to swings in the economy. Implicit in this strategy was a belief that the revenues from gaming and tourism could keep pace with our growing and diverse population. Unfortunately this strategy has failed.”
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Legal professor I. Nelson Rose describes Dr. Rachel Volberg as “the leading expert” on compulsive gambling in America.  Dr. Volberg considers 18-21 year olds three times more likely to have problems with gambling.  Dr. Howard J. Shaffer, director of the Harvard Medical School for Gambling Addictions states: “Today, there are more children experiencing adverse symptoms from gambling than from drugs… and the problem is growing.”

In 2005 a major study was released from Cleveland State University, paid for by casino backers. This study made no attempt to hide the frightening reality that opening statewide casinos in Ohio would result in the serious addiction of at least 109,000 Ohioans. 5

109,000 individuals unable to control their lives and resist the urge to gamble away everything.

109,000 homes where a mom or dad or teenager is at risk of losing everything they own and destroying their family.

109,000 thousand lives destroyed, families destroyed, households and businesses destroyed, futures destroyed.

Gambling addictions in America are rising at an alarming rate. The National Council on Problem Gambling recently acknowledged  the old estimate of one-percent of the population being hooked is no longer valid. They project the number is now closer to four to five percent of the population at risk.

Gambling addictions are among the most destructive of all addictions. The National Gambling Impact Study, commissioned by the Congress of the United States, reveals gambling addictions lead to increased risks of serious health problems, unemployment, divorce, bankruptcy and jail time. 7
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1. Work Force West Virginia: Labor Market information. July 2006.
2. U.S. Census Bureau, 2004 American Community Survey, “Percent of People Below Poverty Level in the Past 12 Months”
3. Crain’s Cleveland Business. Feb. 7th, 2005.
4. I. Nelson Rose. “The Rise and Fall the Third Wave: Gambling will be Outlawed in Forty Years.”  Gambling and Public Policy : International Perspectives.
5. Koo, Jun, Ph. D. The Social Costs of Casino Gambling in Ohio: A Review of What is Known and Estimates of Future Expenses. Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. August 8, 2005.
6. National Council on problem Gambling.
7. National Gambling Impact Study Commission Final Report. June 18, 1999.

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