The Cost of Gambling

By Richard Nelson

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November 27, 2018

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The cost to casino gambling is high: those prone to addiction. The family whose breadwinner gambled away the week's grocery money. The businesses who've been embezzled by a wayward employee. And the judicial system burdened with cases related to gambling addiction. The science tells us that slots are like a drug that play on brain chemistry. There's the adrenaline rush of the spinning wheel while the player hopes for three of a kind. Then there's the ringing bell that signals a win. In defeat, Lady Luck's persistent voice whispers in the back of the player's mind "try once more, you'll hit the jackpot."  Prosperity shouldn't be a zero-sum game that only creates a few big winners at the expense of the many. By their very nature, casinos create too many losers. How else do they pay for $150 million expansions like the one that’s been proposed in Oak Grove? 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center