The Case Against Legalized Gambling Essay

1304 words - 5 pages

The gambling industry is a big money maker in America. Gambling institutions exist in many states. These institutions consist of riverboat casinos, Indian reservation casinos, and regular gaming casinos that all accumulate millions of dollars to the state through taxes. This tax money is then used throughout the state for many programs that may include education, health, and road maintenance. The American Gaming Association (AGA) even claims that gambling institutions lower the taxes in many areas because of the large tax money they give the government (CQ 784). But does the gambling industry only help and build the economy and attract money from the public? Perhaps the gambling industry increases more than just government funds. Is it possible that the gambling also increases crime?

One thing that is for sure is that gambling can trigger addiction. The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (NCALG) states that the more legalized gambling available, the more addictive behavior is triggered. In 1989, only 1.7 percent of Iowa's adults were gambling addicts, but after riverboat casinos were legalized, the rate of addiction more than tripled to 5.4 percent (NCALG). If people become so heavily addicted to gambling that they become problem gamblers (one who loses a significant amount of money a year) or even worse, a compulsive gambler (one who is so addicted to gambling to the extent that they struggle daily to resist the temptation to take all the money they have and gamble it--they will bet on anything just for the small chance of winning), crime is definitely a factor to gambling.

If, when casinos are legalized in states, just a few people become compulsive gamblers, the chances of not having an increased crime is slim to nothing. This is because compulsive gamblers have such high statistics proving the increase of crime is made by just them. The issues of crime and compulsive gambling go hand in hand. It is not just an issue that could exist, but indeed it does exist. In Maryland alone in 1990, there were at least 50,000 compulsive gamblers (CQ 782). Doctor Valerie C. Lorenz, Executive Director of the Compulsive Gambling Center, has done several studies on compulsive gambling, and has given several statistics which show how compulsive gambling is closely related to crime. Her studies show that 99 percent of compulsive gamblers commit crimes, 25 percent end up in the legal system for bad checks, forgery, fraud, embezzlement from job, theft, bank robbery, selling drugs, street crime, and prostitution etc..., and 100 percent of compulsive gamblers become physically abusive, especially towards children (Kindt).

These facts clearly show that compulsive gamblers suffer legal and financial problems which drive them to commit crimes. The American Gaming Industry disagrees with the idea that there are a significant number of compulsive gamblers. They believe that the vast majority of Americans are social gamblers who can participate in...

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