Gambling in America: Is legalized gambling in America the fight choice? Essay

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Recently, a new, debatable topic has hit Americans in a swift manner. Should gambling be legalized in their respective states? As you may already know, gambling is the act of risking something of value for a potential chance of profit. Not that long ago, Americans held gambling in the same esteem as heroin dealing (Popkin & Hetter 17). Today, however, people see gambling not as bad as it used to be. In fact, according to a Harrahs survey, thirty two percent of all households in the United States gambled at a casino in 1996 (Calvert 2).

However large this number may seem, there are still a tremendous amount that do not gamble and feel that it should not be legalized in any way, shape or form. Proponents believe that gambling benefits the economy because the tax reduction it brings along with an increase of jobs available to the people. They also believe that it benefits society as a result of the facilities it builds and finances through tax money. Opponents believe that it is a deterrent to society because of the increase in crime and the type of people that gambling brings into communities.

They also believe it harms society because of the growing addiction towards gambling and that it ruins lives. After thorough research, the economical, societal, and personal benefits derived from gambling, such as tax reductions, more and better schools for children, and more wealth distributed across the population, are solid grounds for legalizing gambling across America. Gambling has a strong impact on economy. It is the fastest growing entrepreneurial way that governments can reduce taxes in their town, city, or state. In fact, two hundred billion dollars are made each year from the gambling industry nationwide (Sylvester 110).

Americans view gambling as an accepted pastime in society and because of it, government is able to create a substantial increase in profits. In 1993, during casinos first fiscal period, four hundred twenty eight million dollars in revenue statewide was made and was expected to jump to one billion the following fiscal year (Solomon 130-1). With the addition of casinos to states nationwide, tourism would also increase significantly. Since society views gambling as an accepted form of entertainment, people would go to casinos with a passion to have a good time while also adding excitement to their lives.

With this added tourism comes the emergence of hotels in the regions where casinos were built. People staying overnight at hotels also increases the amount of tax dollars made by the state. Secondly, the numerous jobs available to the people that casinos bring help the economy. It can be seen with your very own eyes how many jobs it can bring into a community. When you enter a casino, there are numerous tables with dealers and leaders along with security and management positions. Aside from the management positions, each table you see is not occupied by the same person each day and night. One person may only work three or four days a week.

With a simple math equation you can see how many jobs are made available by the creation of a casino. Say there are fifty tables. Each table has one dealer that works half a day and another fills in for that person for the second half of the day. Also, assume that these people do only work half of the week and another two people work the other half. Three hundred fifty jobs were just created by this situation. Casinos, unlike the fictional one described here, have many more tables and shifts in a day. In Mississippi, the gaming industry represented twenty five to thirty three percent of new jobs created for its population (Solomon 131).

Finally, gambling helps economies because of the decrease in welfare seen by each state. This can be seen right away as it provides many jobs as earlier stated. Communities closest to casinos experienced a 12% to 17% drop in welfare payments, unemployment rates, and unemployment insurance (Fahrenkopf 3). Societal benefits can be seen through the millions of tax dollars derived from gambling. First off, the revenue goes towards building new schools and improving those already in place. More schools are needed to support the ever growing population in the United States.

My old high school, Upper Darby High School, holds more than 4,000 students in a crowded environment. Class sizes are over twenty five students per teacher and the school does not have the technology needed to teach at its highest level. Having a casino in that neighborhood would significantly increase how much money goes towards the school district and can go toward new schools and new equipment for teachers to use in the classroom. For example, as of 2003, the states of Florida, California, and New York have given thirteen, fourteen, and twenty three billion dollars, respectively, of revenue from lottery proceeds alone (Cumulative 1-2).

The revenue also goes towards reducing property taxes for all people. This benefits society because there is more money for people to spend on things they need which, in turn, helps decrease bankruptcy for everyone. As of 2003, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Indiana have contributed two billion, seven hundred thousand and three hundred thousand dollars, respectively, to reduce property taxes in their states (Cumulative 1-2). Lastly, gambling has its personal benefits as well societal and economical. It brings excitement into peoples lives.

The fact that gambling is an added risk into some peoples lives increases the amount of fun someone can have at a casino. According to Robert Altman, he and his wife were going to go to Las Vegas for their anniversary; however, he did not have the money to pay for the airline tickets and the hotel room for three days. He immediately went to the race track to see if he could win the money by gambling. While he had lost nearly all his money, he placed one final bet on a thirty to one underdog and it paid off nearly three thousand dollars, enough to make the trip.

When he got to Vegas, he immediately hit the casinos crap table and won six thousand dollars right away and stopped playing for the rest of the vacation (Altman 94-5). Also, the winnings you get from gambling can last you a lifetime. Recently, in mid-2005, a man from Oregon won billions of dollars from the nation wide Power Ball. A five dollar ticket to guess six numbers paid him an enormous amount of money. Lastly, gambling can be used as a stress reducer. Everyone is tired from the weeks work¦ but all are merry (Hirshey 55).

This quote shows that people who get stressed over work all week can have a relaxing weekend at a casino or by just playing bingo. In workday America, the life of the soul can stagger between exhaustion and escape with little time for reflection (Hirshey 55). ¦As jobs creating durable goods give way to the service sector, as work places become more isolationist, entertainment itself has become less communal and more remote (Hirshey 55). These show that the workplace today, that is more people in cubicles in front of computer screens, is taking entertainment away from those who need it.

Less people are actually physically doing things similar to what they do at work, but instead are sitting at a computer typing away at something for their business. To ignore the entertainment value of gambling is like ignoring the exercise value of jogging (Calvert 6). To every argument there is an opposition and legalizing gambling is no exception. Societys view on gambling has changed over the years from being totally unacceptable to a split as to whether or not gambling should be legalized across America.

Each person has their own views as to what they see right and wrong. In this case, it is the opinion that gambling should not be legalized. Opponents believe that it only harms society by adding addiction and the type of people that gambling communities bring. They also believe that it only harms economies because of all the money that people gamble away without winning back any in return. Opponents argue that gambling harms economies. The people who do gamble lose what they have and slip into bankruptcy.

Bankruptcies in Iowa have increased nearly twenty percent in 1995, despite a strong economy. Consumer credit counselors report that gambling plays a role in nearly a fifth of their caseload (Hurst 6). This shows that no matter where legalized gambling is instituted and a casino is built, bankruptcies will continue to rise. However the benefits may be seen by most, the criminal justice and law enforcement costs increase exponentially. In Illinois, their state police reported that their law enforcement costs would increase by 50 percent or $100 million per year (Kindt 137).

As law enforcement costs rise, the amount of law enforcers decreases because the budget for them does not balance out the expenses they must pay. With these increased costs for law enforcement and criminal justice, opponents then argue that the states would not receive funds for what is needed most. Aside from the costs being higher for specific things, such as law enforcement, the amount of tax money collected from the gambling industry does not compensate for the high debt that gamblers put themselves in. This can be seen through the increase in amount of bankruptcies.

However high the amount of revenue brought in by local and state economies, the amount given back to the states to reimburse those who have lost a significant amount is little to none. Opponents also argue that gambling is a deterrent to local societies. Their first argument for this is that poor people in the community gamble away needed income. In fact, according to a University of Nebraska study, seven percent of the family income of families at or below the poverty lines is gambled away (Hurst 5). Lower class people need the extra money, so they choose to try and win it through gambling.

As they do this however, they do not win and they become homeless people living on the streets or in shelters. Secondly, opponents argue that gambling undermines the value of hard work. The way to get rich is a jackpot, not a job¦ the route to the top is a scratch-off ticket, not scratching for success (Hurst 6). Being easier to circle a number than to do math is why a growing number of people believe that working means nothing because it is not a quick way to get rich in todays world. Todays love affair with the quick buck (Hurst 6) is exactly why people choose gambling at lotteries over working hard to earn their pay.

Lastly, opponents see gambling as a deterrent to society because of the addiction that it brings to societies. Compulsive gambling is a progressive disease. Its sufferers have an uncontrollable preoccupation and urge to gamble excessively (Wexler & Wexler 2). Opponents believe that compulsive gambling destroys lives because the person or persons with the disease do not know when to stop gambling away their money. When the person goes into debt, they find no other way to get out of it than to continue gambling to win the money back that they lost.

By doing this, the person and the family are affected because the family income is now drained and the money saved by the family is also gone because of the non stop gambling that has occurred. In rebuttal to the argument against gambling helping the economy, gambling does not have to play a part in bankruptcies. Despite the increase in amount of bankruptcies that have occurred, the US Treasury Department released a report in 1999 finding no connection between state bankruptcy rates and either the extent of or introduction of casino gambling (Fahrenkopf 4).

This study shows that even though people are losing money, it is almost never connected to gambling in any way. As for the attempt to link crime to gambling, again, a federal commissions report cited a study on a comprehensive review of public information on gaming and crime found no connection between the two (Fahrenkopf 5). Again, this report shows that despite the attempt to connect gambling and crime, it was hard to gather any evidence of the two together for a clear and precise commonality between gambling and crime. After reviewing the facts against legalized gambling as a social aspect, there are clear responses to each argument made.

As a response to people gambling away needed income, the vast majority of Americans gamble recreationally (Fahrenkopf 3). This shows that most Americans do not gamble to increase profits at casinos, its shows that most do it to add some excitement into their lives and have fun with friends while doing it. The fact that needed income is gambled away is false because mostly when you gamble recreationally; it is what you have in your pocket at that certain time that you use to gamble. Secondly, opponents believe that gambling undermines the value of hard work because people can easily earn money by playing a lottery or going to a casino.

This is also very untrue, for people need money to buy the tickets and get to the casinos in the first place. Without any money, people can not gamble away anything that they have. Lastly, the issue of compulsive gamblers is over exaggerated. The vast majority of gamblers are normal people for whom gambling is not an obsession (Gillespie 1). He also states that gamblers are more sociable, more involved in community activities, and bigger opera, theater, and museum buffs (Gillespie 2). These quotes insist that those who gamble do not just gamble. It shows that gambling is a mere form of excitement and fun for the gambler.

However often the person may gamble, it is over shadowing the fact that most gamblers go out into the community and get involved. In conclusion, gambling in America should be legalized on the basis that it does support local and state economies, does not harm society, and brings personal satisfaction to those who do choose to gamble. In fact, gambling helps society because the tax revenue generated from casinos and other forms of gambling go towards numerous public services. Schools are the number one benefactor of the revenue derived from the gaming industry.

Economically, local and state governments benefit from the revenue as well. They can decrease taxes for the people, and casinos that are built provide jobs for many who need them. Personally, people find that gambling and its risk factors to be very intriguing because it adds excitement to their lives. However, the opponents argue these issues of economic and social benefits with horror stories of people who lose everything they have ever owned, and that casinos only benefit themselves and those who own them. To the contrary, the opponents are mistaken. For the people who do gamble, the majority are gambling recreationally.

The casinos and lotteries give back hundreds of billions of dollars each year to the government who, in turn, uses that money to increase public facilities and give back money to decrease taxes that their citizens pay. After thorough research, the economical, societal, and personal benefits derived from gambling such as tax reductions, more and better schools for children, and more wealth distributed across the population are solid reasons for legalizing gambling across America.

Bibliography: Altman, Robert. Gambling Makes Life Exciting. Gambling. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc. , 1995. Calvert, Guy.Gambling America: Balancing the Risks of Gambling and Its Regulation. CATO Institute. 18 June 1999. CATO Institute. 4 November 2005. http://www. cato. org Cumulative Distribution of State Lottery Proceeds as of June 30th 2003.

NASPL: Where the Money Goes. 30 June 2003. Infotrac and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 2 November 2005. http://www. galenet. galegroup. com/servlet/OVRC Fahrenkopf Jr. , Frank J. Legalized Gambling Benefits Local Economies. The Gaming Industry: Current Legal, Regulatory, and Social Issues. 29 March 2001.

Infotrac and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 3 November 2005 http://www.galenet. galegroup. com/servlet/OVRC Gillespie, Nick. The Problem of Compulsive Gambling is Exaggerated. Gambling. June 1996. Infotrac and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 10 November 2005. http://www. galenet. galegroup. com/servlet/OVRC Hirshey, Gerri Gambling is Entertainment. Gambling. San Diego: Green Haven Press, Inc. , 1996. Hurst, Blake. Legalized Gambling Harms Society.

Legalized Gambling. March 1996. Infotrac and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 1 November 2005. http://www. galenet. galegroup. com/servlet/OVRC Kindt, John Warren. Gambling is Economically Harmful Gambling.San Diego: Green Haven Press, Inc. , 1996. Popkin, James and Katia Hetter Gambling and Ethics: An Overview Gambling. San Diego: Green Haven Press, Inc. , 1996.

Solomon, Alan. Gambling Revitalizes Poor Communities Gambling. San Diego: Green Haven Press, Inc. , 1996. Sylvester, Kathleen Casino Gambling and Local Economies: An Overview Gambling. San Diego: Green Haven Press, Inc. , 1996. Wexler, Arnie and Sheila Wexler. The Hidden Addiction: Compulsive Gambling. Legalized Gambling. June 1997. Infotrac and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. 11 November 2005. http://www. galenet. galegroup. com/servlet/OVRC.

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