Gambling in the United States



In the last year Americans have wagered $482 billion dollars

in the United States. Over eighty-five percent of this wagering took

place in casinos which are now legal in twenty-seven states. In the

past decade there has been incredible growth in the gambling industry.

Twenty years ago if a person wanted to gamble they had to go to

Nevada. Nowadays, there are only six states in which no form of

legalized gambling exists. Proponents of the gambling industry feel

that this growth is a good thing a nd that it is helping the national

economy. However, there are many opponents that feel that gambling is

hurting families and society. Indeed, there needs to be a limit to the

growth of the gambling industry, although, this industry does have

some merit s they don't outweigh the costs to society. Proponents of

the gaming industry insist that gambling is good clean fun, and that

so many people enjoying something can't be wrong. In fact, proponents

are quick to point out that fun is not the only issue; in addition,

these new casinos have created thousands of jobs. Furthermore, not

only have casinos created new jobs, but there has been an increase in

tax revenue for the cities that have casinos. Indeed, the increase in

tax revenues has helped to rebuild some rundown inner cities and river

fronts areas. These people argue there is little reason to worry about

gambling as most people will only lose a small amount of money and

will have a fun time losing it. However, opponents insist that most of

the jobs created are low paying and offer little opportunity for the

worker to progress. Furthermore, the creation of these casino jobs

have taken away jobs from other areas of the economy. For inezce,

restaurants near casinos are being forced out of business by the cheep

buffets that casinos offer to draw people in. Many people argue that

casinos have not created any significant increases in the number of

jobs. Some analysis's point to a four percent growth in areas with

legalized gambling this is nearly the same as the rest of the nation.

Additionally, it seems that most of the business for these new casinos

is coming from the surrounding areas bringing in few tourists.

Consequently, there is no real growth and all this doe s is move money

around in the same economy. Indeed, many of the people that are

spending their money gambling are the same people that can least

afford to lose it. For inezce, the lottery is most heavily

advertised in poor neighborhoods where it is advertised as a way out

of poverty. Opponents feel that gambling is like a tax on the poor.

The poor, those making under ten thousand a year, are spending more

money in proportion to their income than any other group. These

people, who can least afford it, are spending money on a dream. The

proliferation of casinos and legalized gambling promotes the dream of

"striking it rich" rather than the tried and true methods of

achievement, education and hard work. Proponents may argue that

gambling is fun, but with this fun comes many problems to society;

wherever there is a large amount of money and alcohol there is going

to be crime. Indeed, whenever casinos move into an area so do

criminals. Opponents say that in most cases where casinos have been

built the crime rate has risen. The rise in crime has cost cities

money they have to hire more police officers and build jails. However,

this is not the only cost to society, for example, gambling can take a

heavy toll on the family. Most people can spend a small amount of

money on gambling and then quit, but there are a subeztial number of

people that can't control their gambling. To these people gambling is

an addiction that can't be controlled and has been compared to

alcoholism. In a survey of gamblers anonymous, twenty-six percent said

they had been divorced or separated because of gambling; thirty-four

percent had lost or quit a job; twenty-one percent had filed for

bankruptcy; sixty-six percent had contemplated suicide, and sixteen

percent had attempted suicide. Indeed, gambling may be fun but the

cost to society far outweighs the value of this fun. Therefore, the

gambling industry should not