The costs of legalized casino gambling in the United States outweigh the benefits. Casino gambling fever currently seems to affect nearly everyone in our nation as more and more states try to spread it. Legalized gambling exists in forty-seven states and the District of Columbia. The momentum seems to be on the side of those individuals who want legalized gambling as a way to add to state revenues. But these states and their citizens often ignore the many costs that are associated with legalized gambling. The social and economic costs are much greater than the benefits.
Legalized gambling is horrible social policy. At a time when Gamblers Anonymous estimates that there are at least 12 million compulsive gamblers, it certainly does not make any sense at all to have states promoting casino gambling. State support of gambling makes it extremely difficult, not easier, for the compulsive gambler to simply quit.
According to Volume 19 of the Bankruptcy Developments Journal, in the late 1990’s, SMR Research Corporation was commissioned by the banking industry to investigate the trend toward financial insolvency in America. SMR's report found that legalized casino gambling is not only one of the fastest growing causes, but also one of the top ten leading causes of individual bankruptcies in the United States. The financial costs that gamblers bring upon themselves hurt them immensely.
The social impact of this hard to break addiction is often hidden from citizens who decide to participate in casino gambling. Later these costs show up in the shattered lives of individuals and their families. According the August 14th, 1999 edition of USA Today, psychologist Julian Taber warns, “No one knows the social costs of gambling or how many players will become addicted. The states are experimenting with the minds of the people on a massive scale.” Families are torn apart by strife, divorce, and bankruptcy. Gambling destroys families. Gambling is a major cause of family...