Monday, February 13, 2012

Win Some, Lose Some

Win Some, Lose Some
Gambling has affected many people’s lives throughout the U.S. in many different and positive ways.  Whether it’s providing jobs or winning the lottery, the legalization of gambling has done more good than it has done bad.  Many small-scale cities have placed casinos in their community and have received outstanding results. Therefore these false propositions should have never been made in the first place. The government does not forbid adults from spending ten dollars on a movie; so there should be no consequence for an adult who would like to go out and spend ten dollars at a casino or another gambling station.  Legalizing gambling will benefit society by providing recreation and entertainment while boosting the economy not only statewide but nationally as well, also by allowing men and women to spend their money freely without government intervention. Because I think today’s society is better off with the legalization of gambling and casinos in all states.
From Dakota Chips
I want to first start off by talking about a specific city where gambling and casinos were introduced. Pictured at the left is a city in South Dakota that has experienced exponential results concerning the revenue casinos are bringing in to their town. Most constitutions today declare that gambling is illegal so there must be changes to amend it.  According to Ackerman, “Voters had to approve [the legalization of gambling] by a majority of at least sixty percent” (Ackerman). This statistic shows that the general public had to come to a consensus about legalizing gambling. Soon after the bill had passed, business and companies took great advantage of it by opening many casinos throughout the area. In addition, Ackerman states, “In the first eight months [that gambling had been legalized], a total of $145.1 million was wagered in Deadwood” (Ackerman). Gamblers were occupied in the casinos since they were installed eight years ago. Skeptics were proven wrong after people have utilized the casinos spending their money on something they enjoy doing. Although other cities have caved into the gambling industry, Deadwood’s gaming industry still is going strong.  Deadwood, South Dakota is only one example of how the gambling and casino business has benefitted a community and the general population of a city.
Gaming Revenues from Native American Gaming (Schaap)
While you have a mental grasp on the success of that particular city, I now want to throw some statistics your way. The figure at the right shows the revenues of Native American gaming from 1997-1998. This growth of revenue should interest many people into legalizing gambling. The Indian gambling industry has been a huge benefactor in the success of casinos. What is Indian gambling? Well the correct term for it is Native American gaming.  James Schaap explains, “It is conducted by Native American governments as a way to carry out their natural self-governing rights as independent nations” (Schaap). The Native American gaming system has provided many chances for Native Americans to start a new life.  “[In 2005] tribal gaming grew more than three times greater than did that of the non-Native American gaming casino segment, with revenues topping $22.6 billion” (Schaap). This number shows the significance of why we should legalize gambling and casinos today. With casinos being built on these reservations, they help to create new opportunities for people who may not have been presented with them before. Casinos have prompted many of these tribal people to obtain jobs and begin making a steady income for their lives. These casino openings are not only beneficial to the people themselves but also the communities around them who receive funds from these places.
Taken from Robert Croak
Native American gaming institutions and casinos have not been the only successful gaming industry today. Gambling is a hobby that is taxed. This means that the local government will be greatly beneficial to this. With the casino being a huge attraction, this will entice many gambling enthusiasts and tourists to visit that city. Tourism will bring extensive amounts of revenue. In Las Vegas, the number of people traveling to ‘Sin City’ has continued to grow rapidly. Since the early 90’s, the number of tourists as almost doubled and still brings in increasingly more revenue yearly. A chairman of MGM Grand, Inc. says that Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in America with over 5,000 people a month moving there. Aside from the Las Vegas revenue increase, “Revenues from legal gambling have grown 1,600% since 1976” (Claussen and Miller). The industry is still growing and would be even more effective if legalized everywhere.
Although the pros outweigh the cons of legalizing gambling, people tend to place many ill implications upon the gaming industry; negative crime rates being one of them. Crime rate ends up having no impact whatsoever after a casino has been constructed.  In fact, Guy Calvert points out, “Early analysis of Atlantic City crime figures shortly after the arrival of casinos suggested that crime rates increased. However, the crime rate statistics failed to take in account that there was swelling of local population due to casino-related tourism, so the estimates of crime were inflated” (Calvert). People need to realize that gambling is not the only thing casinos bring, but rather shows, sporting events, and many other non-gambling activities. A typical city’s crime rate will fluctuate annually due to population growth; therefore one cannot accurately show that the crime rate will be consistent.  The myth that crime rates boost should be thrown out the door because multiple studies and statistics have verified it to be false. 
On another hand, a gambler knows his or her limits when they enter a casino making themselves fully responsible for their actions. Calvert says, “[The] median age of casino players is similar to that of the U.S. population (about 48 years), they have more schooling- they are more likely to have done some college and more likely to also have graduated from college” (Calvert).  A gambler with an education will be more likely to know when to pull away and be able to realize when it’s not their night. The fact that gambling does not renounce responsibility proves that there is no definite evidence of losing control of one’s actions while gambling so it should be legalized. A good way to put it in perspective is this: “Alcoholism is best addressed on a voluntary basis rather than through prohibition. Likewise, the best recourse for compulsive gamblers would appear to be counseling and abstinence, not government intervention to prohibit or otherwise limit gambling” (Calvert 4). The government does not forbid adults from going to bars if there are alcoholics wanting to drink at them. Therefore, the government should not penalize U.S. adults from going to casinos because there a rare number of pathological gamblers. They need to make it fair to all people instead of banning everyone from gambling.
Taken from Disease Symptoms Treatment
Some people may use the pathological gambler attack and say legalizing gambling will add to this ‘disease’. Well the case is more complex than that. Problem gamblers put on fronts that cover up their delicate and insecure personality. These kinds of people use gambling as a ‘medication’ to treat their weak personalities. Liz Benston talks about a program set up to help these kinds of people: “The ‘ambassador’ program-taking its name from the casino managers charged with approaching gamblers with information about programs many casinos have offered for years-has captured the attention of problem gambling treatment experts normally skeptical of casino efforts to help compulsive gamblers” (Benston).  Programs like these have helped many people turn away from compulsive gambling. It is one of the main reasons the pathological gamblers statistic continues to be so low.  Even though there is a small percentage chance that a gambler may become addicted to the game, casinos and other organizations can turn a pathological gambler’s life around.
Gambling hot spots, such as casinos and race tracks, have provided many opportunities and profits to the communities around them. One source states, “By a margin of three to one, community leaders [mayors, councilmen, etc.] are more likely to say that casinos have done more to help rather than hurt other businesses in the community” (Fahrenkopf). If a leader in the community agrees that a casino will provide good to the community, the outcome of the insertion of the casino must be beneficial to the surroundings of the casino itself.  An elected leader in a community is trusted and knows what is best for the city or county they represent. Talking about the general welfare of employees, the author writes, “Research shows that casino employee’s lives are approved under employment in casinos” (Fahrenkopf). The lives of men and women are greatly impacted in a positive manner by the input of casinos in their communities. Multiple studies have been conducted on the grounds of whether casinos are economically beneficial. In three regions studied, it was proven that casinos pay above state averages and employ many more minorities and women than other companies in the US. Community members should begin to realize that casinos have more pros than cons.
            Legalized gambling will be beneficial to communities because it is such an economy booster, while it also provides men and women with the freedom they deserve. The introduction of a casino to a community has been proven to boost the economy while providing jobs and opportunities for people. The same goes for members of Native American tribes when they open their own Indian Gaming casinos. Several of the false insinuations of gambling have never been proven true, which shows that crime rates have no correlation to a casino being placed in a town. Gambling serves as a form of entertainment for adults, which is no different than spending money at any other place that serves as the same purpose. Since this is true, the government should have no right restricting adults from wanting to have fun gambling at a casino. The fact that casinos provide jobs and revenue for this country is only one of the numerous reasons the U.S. should consider legalizing gambling.

Works Cited

Ackerman, William V. “Casinos Have Proven Beneficial to Deadwood, South Dakota.” Legalized Gambling. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2006. N. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. <‌ViewpointsDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Viewpoints&prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010079210&mode=view&userGroupName=ascpl_menu&jsid=0b89f90e8483c2552f55091828e40311>.

Benston, Liz. “Casinos Are Helping Curb Compulsive Gambling.” Gambling. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. N. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. <‌ViewpointsDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Viewpoints&prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010221246&mode=view&userGroupName=ascpl_menu&jsid=3b3fbb5dddf0be65985a47f711960a0c>.

Calvert, Guy. “The Government Should Respect Individuals Freedom to Gamble.” Gambling. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. N. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. <‌ViewpointsDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Viewpoints&prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010221221&mode=view&userGroupName=ascpl_menu&jsid=0459660ac521a4d9b64765aa402d9cb5>.

Claussen, Cathryn L., and Lori K. Miller. "The Gambling Industry And Sports Gambling: A Stake In The Game?." Journal Of Sport Management 15.4 (2001): 350. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.

Fahrenkopf, Frank J., Jr. “Legalized Gambling Benefits Communities.” Gambling. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. N. pag. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. <‌ViewpointsDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=Viewpoints&prodId=OVIC&action=e&windowstate=normal&catId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010221217&mode=view&userGroupName=ascpl_menu&jsid=d3857573fa92087abc35b79806cbaed4>.
Schaap, James I. "The Growth Of The Native American Gaming Industry: What Has The Past Provided, And What Does The Future Hold?." American Indian Quarterly 34.3 (2010): 365-389. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.