In June of 1999, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission issued its report, as directed by Congress. This was the first major and comprehensive study of gambling in America in 23 years. The Commissioners believe that this Nation needs to stop expanding gambling in order to take a real honest look at both the Economic and Social devastation that ensues. As the NCISC reported, “the purpose of this recommended pause is to encourage governments to do what to date few if any have done: To survey the results of their decisions and to determine if they have chosen wisely.”
Unfortunately, since 1999 this country has seen anything but a pause in gambling expansion. I suppose the reason for the success is not that shocking. Even in the face of independent and peer reviewed economic analysis, most legislators have been sold on a faulty argument of economic growth and prosperity. The State itself is addicted to the money that gambling revenues generate from taxes, or should I say the bribes. In what other industry is it so blatantly obvious that they must provide a cut of the take to the State in the form of extortionate taxes in an effort to make a product that has been illegal for a hundred years in this country suddenly legal again?
Many Politicians have put sound logic and economic principles aside to make a quick buck for the State. But what they don’t want to hear is that in the long run they cost themselves 3 times what they collect in taxes. What they don’t want to hear is that in order to make money in the legislature they must necessarily make losers of its people. What they don’t want to hear is that hasty decisions regarding gambling expansion leads to broken homes, countless criminal acts and compulsive and pathological disorders to their people. And all of this is sold to the people as harmless “entertainment and fun.”
The conversation needs to be refocused on the truth. Its time to choose to reject the spin of “simple entertainment” that has resurrected an industry that this country correctly put to bed a hundred years ago. The truth’s genesis lies in independent, comprehensive and peer reviewed work. The truth’s genesis lies in the willingness to actively research a decision instead of just following the crowd. And the truth’s genesis lies in people’s open discussion about what expanded gambling really means.
The National Gambling Impact Study Commission takes a comprehensive view of the gambling industry and is only one of many sources to come that helps refocus the truth. Excerpts of their study as well as links to the report in its entirety can be found on our website. I would encourage all of you to look over their report and share with others what you have learned and maybe together we can refocus the conversation.