Is gambling really that big of a deal? After all, it’s nothing more than playing games with money, right?
Actually, legalized gambling has huge consequences. It creates enormous social and economic costs and can ruin entire lives, families, businesses, and communities. We believe that our government should promote activities that support the general well-being of its citizens not potentially destructive behavior.
12 Gambling Addiction Facts
The number one gambling addiction fact that you should know is that gambling is NOT just a financial problem. Gambling is an emotional issue that can become an obsession. It can take over your life if you let it go too far. Problem gambling can lead to the loss of relationships, jobs, and, yes, finances, but the issue behind compulsive gambling is not financial, it is emotional.
- Gambling is a BILLION dollar industry. According to www.pbs.org, In America, gambling has become a $40 billion dollar a year industry. Las Vegas alone brings in close to 10 billion dollars a year from people gambling at their casinos and placing bets.
- It has been estimated that around 80 percent of the US population has gambled in their lifetime.
- By gobbling up the discretionary – and non-discretionary – spending of local residents, casinos devastate the economies of the host communities by making that money unavailable to be spent in local stores.
- Casinos create only a modest number of new jobs, and for every job created by a casino, two to three jobs are lost among other businesses.
- As many as 750,000 young people, ages 14 to 21 has a gambling addiction.
- Men are more likely to develop a gambling problem than women.
- It is estimated that three to four percent of the American population has a gambling problem; this is approximately between six to eight million people.
- People who live within ten miles of a casino are twice as likely to be a problem gambler or pathological gambler as those who do not.
- Two-thirds of gambling addicts eventually turn to crime to finance their habits.
- Gambling addicts account for between 35% and 50% of all casino revenues nationwide. They are the life-blood of the gambling industry.
- Violent crimes are 10 percent higher in casino counties.
- In the first fifteen years Atlantic City had casinos, violent crime rose by 199%, and larceny skyrocketed 481%.
How do gambling addictions affect people?
There are three main levels of gamblers in the United States.
Level One: Pathological Gamblers = 2.5 million adults
Level Two: Problem Gamblers = 3 million adults
Level Three: At Risk of Becoming Problem Gamblers = 15 million adults
Symptoms of Pathological Gamblers:
Preoccupation: is preoccupied with gambling (e.g., reliving past gambling experiences), handicapping or planning the next venture, or thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble.
Tolerance: needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
Withdrawal: is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
Escape: gambles as a way of escaping from problems or relieving feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety, or depression.
Chasing: after losing money gambling, often returns another day in order to get even to “chase one’s losses.”
Lying: lies to family members, therapists, or others to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
Loss of Control: has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
Crime: has committed crimes (e.g., forgery, fraud, theft, or embezzlement) to finance gambling.
Risked Significant Relationships: has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
Bailout: has relied on others to provide money to relieve a desperate financial situation caused by gambling.
Source: “Impact of Gambling: Economic Effects More Measurable than Social Effects,” Report to the Honorable Frank R. Wolf, House of Representatives, US. GAO, April 2000.
History of Nebraska Gambling
The Nebraska constitution restricts the amount and type of gambling that will be allowed. Almost every year activists have attempted to expand gambling in Nebraska and each year their attempts have been stopped.
Nebraska Family Alliance has consistently stood with other groups to oppose the expansion of gambling in the state. Gambling is contrary to biblical principles and causes heartache for many by addiction, bankruptcies, domestic abuse, divorces, crimes and even suicide.
In 2004 two casino measures finally reached the ballot, one through the petition process and one through the legislature. Each received primary financial backing from a Las Vegas casino: between them, Coast Casino and the Venetian Casino provided the majority of the $7 million spent to push the proposals. It was the most expensive campaign in Nebraska history.
Gambling with the Good Life coordinated the opposition effort, and Tom and Nancy Osborne served as spokespeople. Thankfully Nebraska voters strongly defeated both measures.
In 2015, the Nebraska Legislature passed a measure that puts casino gambling on the ballot in the 2016 election. Nebraska Family Alliance will be working with Gambling with the Good Life again to increase awareness and encourage Nebraska citizens to vote NO on this measure.
We expect the attempts to expand gambling in Nebraska to continue but we will stop their efforts by standing together.