There is a lot of “new” news for the media to report about predatory gambling in America. Here are several new important story lines for the media to investigate:
- How do slot machines work? Why haven’t public officials acted on MIT’s Dr. Natasha Schull research, which shows “electronic gambling machines are designed to treat every player as a potential addict” so the person will “play to extinction” until their all their money is gone?
- Why have few in the public health community spoken out strongly about the research of Harvard Medical’s Dr. Hans Breiter and others that the buzz or high people get from electronic gambling machines is “indistinguishable” from taking a hit of cocaine? Does his research explain why these machines, when placed in accessible locations, cause almost half the people who play them more than once a month to show problem gambling behavior?
- How do casino marketing practices compare to those used by subprime mortgage lenders leading up to America’s foreclosure crisis? Why did nearly every state attorneys general sue these subprime lenders yet virtually none have pursued the casinos?
- How do casinos collect debts from citizens who borrowed money from the casino? What role does government play in the debt collection process?
- Why do so many casino operators and political leaders who promote casinos rarely gamble themselves?
- Why are casino ATMs so lucrative? Who owns the casino ATMs? What does the casino ATM owner do with the names of the people who take money out?
- Why is government concealing the fact that the predatory gambling trade makes nearly all their money from extreme gamblers and doing virtually nothing to stop it? In casinos, 90% of the profits come from 10% of the players. State-owned lotteries are almost as predatory: 70% of the profits come from 10% of the players.
- According to the Consumer Federation of America, more than 1 out of 5 Americans think the best way to achieve long-term financial security is to play the lottery. Isn’t it time to rethink the lottery as public policy and ask the question why, during the most severe economic crisis since the Depression, is government actively trying to convince citizens to spend large sums on virtually worthless gambling products instead of urging them to save and invest in their future?