Kay’s Answer: Legalized gambling is a bad bet for growing our economy. The social and economic costs would outweigh any benefit it might bring. While gambling glitters with the lure of easy money, it’s only fool’s gold. What revenue it does provide comes with hidden costs. Consider this:
• The average pathological gambler affects, directly or indirectly, eight other people, including family, friends, and co-workers. One-third of gambling addicts have been arrested, compared to only 5% of non-gamblers.
• Gambling addiction seriously affects absenteeism and job productivity. More than 20% of problem gamblers in treatment have lost a job because of their gambling.
• Gambling addicts are four times more likely to have poor mental health, and are four times more likely to attempt suicide than those without gambling problems.
If legalizing gambling raised the percent of gamblers in our state to the national average, 15,000 additional gambling addicts would be created, at a cost of more than $200 million per year in crime, lost productivity and other factors.
It’s much wiser to invest our efforts in going after solid, good-paying jobs with established companies. That way, everybody wins!
The Benefit To You:
Strong jobs with strong companies help grow strong communities. We should focus our efforts on recruiting new firms and expanding existing ones, not rolling the dice on an uncertain economic future with legalized gambling.