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Gambling In the United States


In the last year Americans have wagered $482 billion
dollars in the United States. Over eighty-five percent of
this wagering took place in casinos which are now legal in
twenty-seven states. In the past decade there has been
incredible growth in the gambling industry. Twenty years
ago if a person wanted to gamble they had to go to Nevada.
Nowadays, there are only six states in which no form of
legalized gambling exists. Proponents of the gambling
industry feel that this growth is a good thing a nd that it
is helping the national economy. However, there are many
opponents that feel that gambling is hurting families and
society. Indeed, there needs to be a limit to the growth of
the gambling industry, although, this industry does have
some merit s they don't outweigh the costs to society. 
Proponents of the gaming industry insist that gambling is
good clean fun, and that so many people enjoying something
can't be wrong. In fact, proponents are quick to point out
that fun is not the only issue; in addition, these new
casinos have created thousands of jobs. Furthermore, not
only have casinos created new jobs, but there has been an
increase in tax revenue for the cities that have casinos.
Indeed, the increase in tax revenues has helped to rebuild
some rundown inner cities and river fr onts areas. These
people argue there is little reason to worry about gambling
as most people will only lose a small amount of money and
will have a fun time losing it. However, opponents insist
that most of the jobs created are low paying and offer
little opportunity for the worker to progress. Furthermore,
the creation of these casino jobs have taken away jobs from
other areas of the economy. For instance, restaurants near
casinos are being forced out of business by the cheep
buffets that casinos offer to draw people in. Many people
argue that casinos have not created any significant
increases in the number of jobs. Some analysis's point to a
four percent growth in areas with legali zed gambling this
is nearly the same as the rest of the nation. Additionally,
it seems that most of the business for these new casinos is
coming from the surrounding areas bringing in few tourists.
Consequently, there is no real growth and all this doe s is
move money around in the same economy. Indeed, many of the
people that are spending their money gambling are the same
people that can least afford to lose it. For instance, the
lottery is most heavily advertised in poor neighborhoods
where it is advertised as a way out of poverty. Opponents
feel that gambling is like a tax on the poor. The poor,
those making under ten thousand a year, are spending more
money in proportion to their income than any other group.
These people, who can least afford it, are spending money
on a dream. The proliferation of casinos and legalized
gambling promotes the dream of "striking it rich" rather
than the tried and true methods of achievement, education
and hard work. Proponents may argue that gambling is fun,
but with this fun comes many problems to society; wherever
there is a large amount of money and alcohol there is going
to be crime. Indeed, whenever casinos move into an area so
do criminals. Opponents say that in most cases where
casinos have been built the crime rate has risen. The rise
in crime has cost cities money they have to hire more
police officers and build jails. However, this is not the
only cost to society, for example, gambling can take a
heavy toll on the family. Most people can spend a small
amount of money on gambling and then quit, but there are a
substantial number of people that can't control their
gambling. To these people gambling is an addiction that
can't be controlled and has been compared to alcoholism. In
a survey of gamblers anonymous, twenty-six percent said
they had been divorced or separated because of gambling;
thirty-four percent had lost or quit a job; twenty-one
percent had filed for bankruptcy; sixty-six percent had
contemplated suicide, and sixteen percent had attempted
suicide. Indeed, gambling may be fun but the cost to
society far outweighs the value o f this fun. Therefore,
the gambling industry should not be allowed to expand
across the nation any further. Even though casinos have
created a number of low-paying jobs, the cost to society is
greater than the benefits. Certainly, the few poor people
who benef it at gambling can not outweigh the greater loss
to the many poor that waste their money and unwittingly
place their hopes on a "one in a million" chance. Indeed,
without a casino in every city it will be difficult for
those who are susceptible to compul sive gambling to find
places to gamble. Even though some inner cities have
benefited and been cleaned up, the increase in crime is not
worth the aesthetic improvements. Finally, nobody knows
what kind of lasting impact gambling will have on society,
bu t one thing is for sure, a little fun is not worth all
the problems that gambling causes. 


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