Legalized Gambling Would Decrease the Crime Rate

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Many factors have influenced the rising crime rate, some being, increasing use of drugs, increasing population, and decreasing morals. America must find ways to decrease the crime rate legally. One question often going hand in hand with decreasing crime rate is would legalized gambling decrease the crime rate?

During the late 1980's and early 1990's slow economic growth, cuts in federal funding, and growing public needs forced state and local governments to seek additional sources of revenue. Most states turned to lotteries, horse and dog racing, and most recently a growing number of states have resorted to casino gambling as a painless way to raise money. Case studies show that legal casino gaming can increase tourism, employment, sales of noncasino goods, and tax revenues (Cabot 1). For example, The New Jersey Casino Control Act of 1977 states legalized casino gambling has been approved by the citizens of New Jersey as a unique tool of urban redevelopment for Atlantic City (Thompson 144). Legalized gambling provides a major new source of revenue for the state (Kurk 1).

Even though 48 states have some form of legalized gambling such as lotteries, horse racing, casinos, riverboat and Indian casinos, casino gambling still remains illegal in most states (NCALG 2). Casino gambling, which was once limited to two states, is now legal in twenty-one states. Some states are Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, and South Dakota. Over time we have seen a change in the gambling market. At one time, only Bingo parlors could be found on Native American reservations. Today almost one hundred casinos are operating in twenty-one states (Begun, Siegal, and Jacobs 29).

There are five types of legal gambling in the United States: bingo, lotteries, pari-mutual betting, off track betting and casinos. Bingo is the most common form of legalized gambling; forty-six states participate in legal Bingo. Forty-three states permit thoroughbred horse racing, Lotteries are allowed in thirty-seven states, and only twenty-one states permit casino gambling (Begun et al. 27).

Illegal gambling like legal gambling is deeply rooted into American Society. Despite innumerable federal and state laws, illegal gambling still remains a part of American life. The four principal forms of illegal gambling are numbers, horse books, sports books, and sports cards. The numbers game is a sideline game of the lotteries. Originally, lotteries were used to raise money for civic or charitable causes, while numbers was played to earn money for the Lottery Company. It is commonly believed that the "numbers' game gave rise to gambling syndicates ( 132). Betting on horses or Horse books is run by a "bookie". The racetrack-licensed bookies to accept bets at the tracks, for that privilege, bookies paid the racetrack operators a daily fee, usually around $100 a day. The most popular form of illegal gambling is gambling on sporting events (133). There are four states that allow betting on sports, these are Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon (PBS 1). Some estimate that professional football alone attracts $50 billion in wages per season (Begun et al. 133). Sports cards are very popular for the $1 to $10 sports bettor. Sports cards are also run by a "bookie". A bettor selects a team that he or she thinks will win and tears off a card stub and submits the cards before the start of the game (134).

There has been an increase in the use of loopholes in the government, an example of this would be gambling on cruise ships. In 1992, Congress was forced to approve a general maritime law (PL-102-251). This law permitted gambling on American registered cruise ships once they were more than 3 miles offshore, on international voyages. This law possessed one flaw. Out of over 100 American docked ships, only 2 percent were American registered. These foreign registered ships were also operating casinos offshore. This forced California to pass a new law, only...
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