SOURCE: Vision Media

June 19, 2008 03:04 ET

States Bet on Risky Business of Gambling Addresses the Draw of Gaming Dollars for State Governments and the Social Issues Surrounding the Culture of Gaming in America

PASADENA, CA--(Marketwire - June 19, 2008) - In uncertain economic times, gambling in America's society and culture has become more than just entertainment. Many states are becoming more dependent on revenue generated from state-regulated gaming to bolster shaky budgets. California is an excellent example. Facing a deficit of more than $17 billion, the state is looking at modernizing its lottery to provide a 'rainy day' fund. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger argued in his May budget revision that the underperforming lottery could provide more than just a small percentage of state education funding. Bonds issued against a remodeled lottery could fund Schwarzenegger's Revenue Stabilization Fund to the tune of more than $5 billion for the 2008-2009 state budget and up to a total of $15 billion by 2010-2011.

Interestingly, while part of the planned modernization of the lottery includes making the games more attractive to players, California also funds programs to make the public aware of problem gambling. The social problems associated with legalized gaming carry high costs that are not immediately visible. State and city governments are forced to deal with these costs using money from their budgets that might otherwise be used elsewhere.

In "A Legacy of Luck," contributor Robyn Page addresses the draw of gaming dollars for state governments and addresses many of the social issues surrounding the culture of gaming in America. Tracing the effects of the most recent National Gambling Impact Study Commission report, Page outlines the concerns for communities, families and individuals when gaming becomes problematic.

Page states that "voting yes on progambling initiatives is a seductive issue for legislators," and is far more attractive to many voters than "inconveniently raising taxes." Unfortunately, the results are far less attractive. While "promoters typically cite job creation and higher tax revenues as some of gambling's economic benefits," Page shows that "everyone, gambler and nongambler alike, pays the consequences of gambling."

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