John Sowinski, President of NoCasinos.org, in Orlando, Florida, provides a guest article about a topic that most understand, but few realistically factor in when gambling expansion issues come up. Many tend to focus on the initial economic benefit of casinos and make empty promises about how money taxed from gambling will be put to use in the educational system. Many are simply looking for a different night of entertainment and never think about the consequences so many face so they can spend a night at the casino. But in a revealing article published in Florida Politics, we see the truth of the casino industry on display – that they prey on their customers and make losers of those around them:
Marc Dunbar is one of Florida’s best-known gambling advocates. When it comes to pushing for more and bigger casinos, he wears the hats of a lawyer, lobbyist and investor. And so, call it a Freudian slip or just a moment of candor, it was interesting to hear someone from the inside let us all in on how the industry views its customers – as prey.
This came out in a recent interview with the /News Service of Florida/. In it, Dunbar discussed the state’s longstanding rejection of Vegas-style resort casinos — something the industry has sought in this state for decades.
Because of that prohibition, he said, “you arguably have the kind of gambling that you don’t want to have, the kind that preys primarily on your constituents, as opposed to the tourists.’’
It’s an interesting argument to make to state lawmakers – fleece the tourists to spare your voters. Perhaps it would be an argument some might buy if there was any validity to it. But it’s a fake choice.
Before getting into that, however, let’s deal with the part of Dunbar’s statement that is accurate.
Casinos do indeed prey on customers. And the most effective method they have for doing so is with high-tech, digital slot machines. Researchers have documented that these machines create a fast-paced, immersive environment in which gamblers lose track of time and losses.
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology documented the phenomenon in the book, “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas.”
These machines entrap those prone to become problem gamblers, who in turn represent a significant slice of casino revenues. This is why pari-mutuels throughout Florida are pushing so hard to get slot machines.
So, Dunbar’s comparison of customers to prey is appropriate. Where he runs afoul of both research and reality is the premise that bigger and splashier casinos will target tourists instead of locals.
The complete article can be found HERE
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