Slot Machines Surge in ’08

From Family News in Focus by Kim Trobee

There are more slot machines in the U.S. than ever before, and many states are considering adding even more in ‘08. A shaky economy, the promise of quick cash and elected officials’ reluctance to cut spending are cited as reasons for the increase of electronic gaming devices.

The U.S. has a record 770,000 slot machines in 37 states and at least 7 of those are looking to expand. Peter Franchot, Comptroller for Maryland guarantees the November ballot measure to introduce slots in his state will be defeated.

“We’re totally addicted to the lottery money for our general fund. I think what a lot of us are saying is, ‘let’s draw the line at the lottery and let’s go no further.'”

Indiana also wants more slots. Curt Smith with the Indiana Family Institute says legislators are taking the easy way out.

“Basically public officials have decided that rather than raise taxes, rather than cut spending, they will rely on gaming revenue.”

And that will lead to another problem: corruption according to David Edmunds with the Family Foundation of Kentucky, another state looking to get into the business.

“When the casino pushers stand to profit in the billions of dollars, then they will control state government.”

The money is inviting to those who pay the state’s bills, but Evelio Silvera with Casino Watch warns the human cost is incalculable.

“The unfortunate cost then has to deal with many broken homes, many bankruptcies and many fallouts to our families.”

“Casino gambling is the only area where legislators actually look to make losers out of its people to make winners out of their state budgets.”

There are already 100,000 new machines approved to go into operation this year.

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