SPG Research Center
Casinos and state lotteries are the most predatory business in America and their windfall is coming at your expense.
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Why casinos won’t help failing cities
This article from The Atlantic explains why cities that have fallen on hard economic times and are looking to casinos to save them are making a huge mistake. Casinos foster addiction and profit off of those who fall into that addiction, with problem gamblers making a up a widely disproportionate percentage of casino revenue when compared to their percentage of the population. Furthermore, unlike a sports stadium, for example, which raises revenues for surrounding businesses, casinos suck revenue out of the surrounding businesses because they bring players into the casino and they often don’t leave until they’ve lost more money than they wanted to spend, hindering the city’s ability to pull itself out from economic trouble. These reasons among many others are highlighted in the story below.
It’s time for Atlantic City to end its failed experiment
Atlantic City, perhaps more than anywhere else, is a microcosm of what goes wrong when casinos are adopted as the main source of revenue for a city. The city now faces competition from other casinos in the northeast, which is leading to plummeting revenues and soaring unemployment rates, because the city put all of its proverbial eggs in the basket that is casinos, opting not to attempt to revitalize the city a whole, which may have prevented the city’s current economic tailspin. This article from the New York Post argues that the only way to save Atlantic City is to drop the failed casino experiment and try investing in a long-term solution to the difficult economic problems the city faces.
Casinos in Atlantic City have failed the African-American community
This article from The Grio outlines why the casino industry in Atlantic City have proved a detriment, not an aid, to the African-American community in the city. For years, the city government has served the needs of the casinos in a desperate attempt to save their falling revenues, ignoring the city’s many African-American workers, and leaving them behind. Casinos came to the city because they were the supposed savior of the city’s financial problems, however the African-American community can attest that in its wake, the casino industry has decimated the city, leaving it on the financial respirator, and on its last limb.
Study finds link between gambling and suicide
A study by Dr. David Phillips, of the University of California in San Diego, has found that cities with increased gambling have higher suicide rates, and according to Dr. Phillips, this is no coincidence. It is already known that gambling losses can drive people to do things they normally wouldn’t, for example, embezzle large amounts of money to pay for their debts. However this study shows that gambling losses also causes an increased risk for suicide, which is seriously troubling news considering how much gambling has expanded in the US in recent years. Below is a copy of the study, as well as a New York Times article summarizing its findings.
Investigation finds worldwide game-fixing in soccer
This Los Angeles Times story details the results of an investigation that found worldwide and widespread corruption in soccer. Europol, the joint police body of the European Union, has released information form its ongoing investigation of the possibility of major worldwide soccer games being fixed, and it has found evidence of over 680 “suspicious games” in 5 continents, including a Champions League match in England and several World Cup qualifying matches. According to one German investigator, this widespread corruption is “on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game.”
Release of online gambling data shows that gambling to get rich is a bad bet
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, a major European online gambling company, released data on 4222 gamblers, and the math behind gambling win probabilities shows just how badly the odds are stacked against gamblers. Experts say these data figures are comparable to those of real casino here in the US, however casinos keep their data a heavily-guarded secret. The figures released show that statistically, the more you play, the more you’ll lose- the heaviest gamblers had only a 5.4% chance of ending in the black, compared with 17% of the customers who placed the least amount of wagers. Furthermore, the data shows that casinos and gambling operations rely mostly on problem gamblers for their revenue- 2.8% of the customers provided half of the company’s profits, and 10.7% provided 80% of revenue. All in all, these numbers reinforce phenomena that have long been known by gambling experts. This article from The Wall Street Journal summarizes the findings.
Internet sweepstakes cafes designed to addict
Nearly two-thirds of gambling addicts at Maryhaven, an addiction-treatment center in Columbus, Ohio, point to Internet cafe gambling as the root of their problem. Internet cafes, officially banned but up for referendum vote in November, allow players to buy time on machines that feel like real poker or slot machines. The problem that many problem gamblers find is that they are often so much closer than a real casino, thus making them more tempting. Unlike casinos, which have to give a portion of profits back to the community by law, these machines benefit only the operator. Internet cafes have all the same addictive qualities as a casino, but are much more convenient and easy to access, which is why this Columbus Dispatch editorial calls for their permanent ban from the state of Ohio.
State officials crack down on Internet cafe gambling
Internet cafes are becoming increasingly popular, with more and more opening up in malls and gas stations. However, there is more than just web-surfing available at these cafes- many are home to illegal gambling in the form of computers that are made to look, sound, and feel like slot machines. Players buy time on these machines and use them until their time is up. The problem, state officials say, is that states do not collect tax revenue on winnings from these machines, which is why many states are beginning to more aggressively target these cafes, called “Internet sweepstakes cafes”. Unfortunately for states, as this USA Today story explains, these cafes are harder to shut down than they thought.