Gambling on Guam

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The prospect of the legalization of gambling on Guam has sparked many spirited debates from both opponents of gambling and proponents. The opponents of legalization cite the negative impacts that gambling has on communities. Increases in crime, suicides, divorces, gambling addiction, and corruption of politics are some of the main arguments on why the legalization of gambling is a bad choice. Supporters of the legalization of gambling counter these allegations with claims of improved economic climates that would yield revenue for communities to use on important government services like education, health care, and public safety. Though the promise of a boosted economy sounds enticing, history has shown that gambling will create more problems than it would fix.

The creation of jobs by gambling establishments is probably the most alluring promise made by supporters of gambling. The claim that thousands of jobs would be instantly available for the construction of gaming establishments, staffing of the establishments, and increase of jobs indirectly by support services is false. Seasoned economist William Thompson points out that lucrative construction projects could be awarded to outside firms, and at that construction materials are not always acquired locally, but are sometimes imported ( 56). Thompson also warns that though gambling establishments would certainly have job openings available, many times employees are hired from outside the local community; as in the case of his study of Atlantic City (58). Jobs are also cannibalized from other employers within the area; when this happens the job market is not expanded, just adjusted (Felsenstein, 409). Then there are the findings of the NGISC (National Gambling Impact Study Commission.) The commission found that many of the jobs being offered by casinos are unstable, and have little to no benefits (National Gambling Impact Study Report, 7-5)

Another proposed benefit would be additional funds for the...
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