The Effects of Gambling on Society

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As gambling becomes more and more prevalent in today's society, one must look at the positive and negative aspects of the construction of casinos and other gambling establishments. While casinos have been shown to benefit local economies by creating jobs and generating tax revenues, they also lead to many social problems such as increased suicide, crime, accident, and high-school drop out rates. For example, in Indiana, a study shows its ten riverboat casinos are to blame for $1 million worth of crime each week. The upside is that it also brought in $763 million in net revenue in one fiscal year (Study: Despite Problems, 2006). The issue of gambling, and specifically the construction of casinos, is important across the nation as casinos are being built in attempts to revive cities and make money. The debate is complex with valid points on both sides, however one must understand each viewpoint in order to form an opinion of their own.

Proponents for casino construction often point to the economic benefits of areas with casinos. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NRC) found that "gambling appears to have net economic benefits for economically depressed communities" and even "a new casino of limited attractiveness, placed in a market that is not already saturated, will yield positive economic benefits on net to its host economy," (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p.111). Statistics have been found by many organizations that support this claim. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) found that "communities closest to casinos experience a 12% to 17% decrease in welfare payments, unemployment rates, and unemployment insurance," (Fahrenkopf, 2002, p.111). Examples of these benefits can be found across America. In Mississippi, the casino industry accounts for 3% of the states workforce and welfare payments have dropped as much as 29% in towns with casinos. In Illinois, tax revenues from 10 Riverboat casinos...
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