BAD FOR FAMILIES. BAD FOR BUSINESS. BAD FOR NEBRASKA.

Gambling interests are attempting to amend the Nebraska Constitution this election to legalize all forms of gambling across the state. Casino gambling harms families, exploits the poor and financially desperate, worsens state budgets, raises crime, and deceives the public. Nebraskans should vote “NO” on expanding gambling.

States with casinos tax their citizens more heavily than states without casinos.

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For every $1 of gambling revenue the state must spend $3 on increased social services.

Casinos exploit the poor and financially desperate. 50% of casino revenue comes from problem & addicted gamblers.

Casinos create more gambling addicts than jobs.

Three separate but interconnected gambling measures will appear on the ballot.

Voters will be asked to amend Nebraska’s constitution to legalize all forms of gambling at racetracks and to create two laws establishing a special regulation and tax structure for the industry.

However, if the initiative to amend the Nebraska Constitution to legalize all games of chance is successful, this will also allow Native American tribes to open casinos – whether or not at a racetrack. Full-blown casinos could be built anywhere tribes own land in Nebraska, opening the door for limitless casinos across the entire state.

Casino gambling creates social and economic costs that ruin lives, families, businesses, and communities. But gambling operators don’t pay for the harms they cause families, businesses, and communities. Taxpayers do.

In addition to targeting and exploiting the poor and financially desperate, casinos cause the majority of citizens who don’t gamble to end up paying higher taxes for less services and worse state budget problems over the long term.

Economists conclude that the long term costs of casinos outweigh the benefits by a factor of more than three-to-one.

Nebraska should not be for sale. Don’t let a few gambling interests change our constitution and state forever to line their own pockets.

Get the facts about casino gambling and answers to common questions:

Get the facts about casino gambling and answers to common questions:

Should Nebraska legalize casinos because casino gambling is legal in surrounding states?

What separates commercialized gambling from every other business is it’s a big con game based on financial fraud and exploitation.

The “They’re-Going-Out-of-State” narrative is a recycled public relations strategy used by gambling interests in every state in America to breathe artificial life into efforts to legalize casinos and increase their profits at the expense of ordinary citizens. 

Citizens are conned into thinking they can win money on games that are designed to get them fleeced in the end, or that even if they don’t gamble they will benefit from an increase to state revenue and lower taxes. 

In reality, casino gambling is a guaranteed failure for the people of Nebraska because it only benefits the privileged few who run the games. 

In addition to preying on the poor, cultivating addiction, and exploiting the financially desperate, casinos cause the majority of citizens who don’t gamble to end up paying higher taxes for less services and worse state budget problems over the long term.

In 2003, a study for the Omaha Chamber of Commerce concluded that just one, average size casino operating in Omaha would increase gambling losses in the Omaha metro area by 66% and result in $132 million in social costs while providing only $29 million in revenue to the state. 

Authorizing casino gambling statewide would dramatically increase the amount of gambling losses, addiction, and social costs associated with casinos across the entire state.

Will casinos provide tax relief?

More gambling = higher taxes. 

Casino gambling syphons money away from local businesses and incurs major social costs that end up being footed by all taxpayers, ultimately leading to higher taxes for all. 

Since casinos opened, Council Bluffs has continually raised property taxes and created a sales tax.

Economists conclude that casino gambling creates $3.00 in social costs for every $1.00 in tax revenue generated. 

According to a 2019 study by prominent Creighton University economics professor and regional economist Dr. Ernie Goss, casino states tax their citizens more heavily than states without casinos.

Will casinos be limited only to licensed racetracks?

No. 

Despite attempts to mislead voters, if the initiative to amend the Nebraska Constitution to legalize all game of chance is successful, this will also allow all games of chance to be conducted on tribal lands – whether or not at a racetrack.

Full-blown casinos could be built not only at racetracks, but anywhere Native American tribes own land in Nebraska, opening the door for casinos across the entire state.

Will casinos lead to economic growth and good paying jobs for ordinary citizens?

The economic impact of casino gambling is similar to throwing your money on the street so that someone else can pick it up — it’s redistributing wealth without creating it. 

By relying on slot machines and other forms of gambling as its primary revenue source, a casino may employ some citizens but it doesn’t produce economic growth.

However, casinos actually create more gambling addicts than jobs. According to the most recent numbers made available by the Illinois Gambling Board, thousands more gambling addicts have banned themselves from the state’s casinos because their lives have been ruined than there are people who work inside the state’s casinos. 

Casinos also syphon money away from local businesses and cannibalize local spending by taking away the discretionary and nondiscretionary spending of citizens that hurt the host communities’ local economy. 

A 2019 study by prominent Creighton University professor and regional economist Dr. Ernie Goss found that states with casinos experience slower GDP growth than non-casino states. 

Will casinos improve our state budget?

Gambling lobbyists tout casino gambling as a way to raise tax revenue. But history has shown repeatedly that this argument is either overstated or wrong. 

A 2016 national report by the Rockefeller Institute at State University of New York-Albany found that while states creating new revenue streams from gambling may see momentary bumps in tax income, “the revenue returns deteriorate—and often quickly” concluding that in “the long-run, the growth in state revenues from gambling activities slows or even reverses and declines.”

In addition to targeting and exploiting the financially desperate and cultivating addiction, casino gambling leads to increases in rates of bankruptcies, crime, and social costs that worsen state budgets over the long term.

For every $1 a community gains from casino gambling, it pays $3 in social costs – costs paid for by all taxpayers. 

According to a 2019 study by prominent Creighton University economics professor and regional economist Dr. Ernie Goss, casino states spend more on state and local government, tax their citizens more heavily, and experience slower GDP growth than non-casino states.

Should people be free to gamble if they want to?

Citizens already possess the freedom to gamble. But what voters are being asked to approve is vastly different from simply permitting more gambling.

Voters are being asked to approve a big government program that will establish monopolies and award regulatory advantages and casino licenses to a few favored firms while actively introducing and advertising more extreme forms of gambling in our communities. 

And in the process, they are violating the rights and freedoms of the two-thirds of the public who almost never gamble yet are being forced to foot the bill for the lower standard of living and budget deficits that state-sanctioned gambling leaves behind.

Not only are we talking about more government spending, but the actual size of the civil government must grow significantly in order to operate its gambling program. 

One can be a believer in limited government while at the same time believing we cross an unacceptable ethical line when we go from allowing individuals to gamble to allowing our government to establish a massive marketing and distribution scheme urging people to do so.

Government, in this case, is not merely permitting private, consensual behavior. It is granting monopolies and awarding regulatory advantages to favored firms that rely on financial fraud and exploitation to strip money away from hard-working individuals and families.

Does casino gambling exploit citizens?

There is no debate among scholars that those who are financially desperate look to government-sanctioned gambling as a way to improve their lives and help them escape their financial condition.

The business model for casinos depends on blatantly exploiting the financially desperate and the addicted. It cannot survive without these citizens.

When it comes to state-sanctioned gambling, the sole focus becomes maximizing profits, not protecting the public interest.

Electronic gambling devices, such as slot machines, are the most lucrative form of gambling marketed by local casinos. Every feature of a video gambling machine – its mathematical structure, visual graphics, sound dynamics, seating and screen ergonomics – is carefully designed to ensure that the longer you play, the more you lose.

The effectiveness of this design is undeniable: over the last decade there are 11 different independent studies that show 40%-60% of electronic gambling machine profits are taken from citizens who can’t stop using them.

How does government-sanctioned gambling impact kids?

The more children are exposed to gambling, and the younger children start gambling, the more likely it is they will become habitual and problem gamblers later in life. 

Millions of kids are growing up in families who are financially desperate due in large part to adult family members gambling away their paychecks, household savings, and government-subsidy checks.

Many kids now spend countless hours at home by themselves while one or both parents gamble regularly at the nearby casino or make local headlines for being found left locked in the car alone while their parent or grandparent chases their losses inside the casino.

Five years after casinos were introduced in Indiana, in a period of just over a year 72 children were found abandoned on casino premises.

What are the experts saying?

“I find it socially revolting when a government preys on its citizens rather than serving them. A government shouldn’t make it easy for people to take their social security checks and waste them pulling a handle.”

Warren Buffet

 

“Virtually every serious study that has ever been done of the economic impacts of casinos shows that their costs far exceed their benefits.”

Richard Florida, professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and a Distinguished Fellow at New York University’s School of Professional Studies

 

“State sponsorship of casinos is a policy contributing to patterns of inequality in America.”

A Report from the Council on Casinos, an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars for the Institute for American Values 

 

“In summary…casino states spent more on state and local government activities, taxed their citizens more heavily, and experienced slower GDP growth.”

Dr. Ernie Goss, Creighton University economics professor, director of the Institute for Economic Inquiry, and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics 

 

“Casino gambling causes up to $289 in social costs for every $46 of economic benefit.”

Earl Grinols, University of Illinois Economics Professor and former senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers to President Reagan 

 

“In the end, the casinos will leave. And they’ll leave behind a burned-over district with no thriving agricultural, manufacturing, or tourism economies. In the meantime, they leave behind the wreckage of “check-to-cash” loan sharks, pawn shops, prostitution, and 1-2-3 divorce courts.”

Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

 

“Casinos depend on problem gamblers for their revenue base.”

A Report from the Council on Casinos, an independent, nonpartisan group of scholars for the Institute for American Values 

 

“The experience of other states makes it clear that casinos and slot machines spawn intractable problems, not solutions…our “odd-couple” alliance demonstrates that this is not a liberal/conservative, black/white, rich/poor issue but, rather, a matter of quality of life, social good versus social harm, and standing up to be counted when it is critically important. Fellow Nebraskans, we implore you to join us in protecting the integrity of the Constitution and the “good life” in this state by voting “no” on any and all proposed amendments to expand gambling in this state.

Tom Osborne & State Senator Ernie Chambers

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