The Impact of GamblingJanuary 22, 2010 3:28 pm gambling
The voters of the state of Ohio approved casino gambling in the last election (Nov. 2009). The result is that four new casinos are slated for construction in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo. Community Research Partners (CRP) recently released research on the social impacts of casinos. The research was undertaken for the Columbus Human Services Advocates. The most direct impacts are those associated with increases in gambling problems, which are double for a person living within 50 miles of a casino.
Here are some of the findings:
1. CRP estimates that when a casino is built in Columbus there may be over 22,000 new problem and pathological gamblers in Franklin County.
2. Using figures from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, CRP estimates that the ongoing annual costs to address this increase in problem gambling could be $28 million.
3. One time/lifetime costs for events such as divorce and bankruptcy could be $223 million.
4. Problem gamblers and Pathological (requiring treatment) gamblers are many times more likely to be involved in: poor health, mental health services, emotionally harmful family arguments about gambling, drug use, job loss, bankruptcy, and criminal activity, than non-gamblers. The real costs are impossible to estimate.
5. These social costs will be borne by human services systems, businesses, government, individuals and families.
6. The estimates given above are for the casino to be built in Columbus. Remember, there are three other casinos scheduled to be built. This mutiplies the costs!
Did the Ohio voter really count the cost of bringing casino gambling to Ohio? The allurement was jobs. However, the CRP found that most casino jobs are low-pay unless unionized. Jobs are lost due to the number of restaurants, bars, and shops around casinos declining in number. The amount of tax revenue generated by the casino will not be sufficient to account for the overall costs of the casinos. Who profits? The casino owners!
In 2009, the country watched the effect of greed/covetousness on the banking industry and most people’s retirement accounts. We were on the brink of disaster and still have not recovered. When will we learn that the pursuit of sinful practices will always cost more in the long run. Sure, sin produces immediate gratification and pleasure, but it always produces detrimental results. I have said this before, we cannot afford our sins! Casino gambling in Ohio is another example of this fact.