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In the last year Americans have wagered $482 billion dollars
in the United States. Over eighty-five percent of this wagering took
place in casinos which are now legal in twenty-seven states. In the
past decade there has been incredible growth in the gambling industry.
Twenty years ago if a person wanted to gamble they had to go to
Nevada. Nowadays, there are only six states in which no form of
legalized gambling exists. Proponents of the gambling industry feel
that this growth is a good thing a nd that it is helping the national
economy. However, there are many opponents that feel that gambling is
hurting families and society. Indeed, there needs to be a limit to the
growth of the gambling industry, although, this industry does have
some merit s they don't outweigh the costs to society. Proponents of
the gaming industry insist that gambling is good clean fun, and that
so many people enjoying something can't be wrong. In fact, proponents
are quick to point out that fun is not the only issue; in addition,
these new casinos have created thousands of jobs. Furthermore, not
only have casinos created new jobs, but there has been an increase in
tax revenue for the cities that have casinos. Indeed, the increase in
tax revenues has helped to rebuild some rundown inner cities and river
fronts areas. These people argue there is little reason to worry about
gambling as most people will only lose a small amount of money and
will have a fun time losing it. However, opponents insist that most of
the jobs created are low paying and offer little opportunity for the
worker to progress. Furthermore, the creation of these casino jobs
have taken away jobs from other areas of the economy. For instance,
restaurants near casinos are being forced out of business by the cheep
buffets that casinos offer to draw people in. Many people argue that
casinos have not created any significant increases in the number of
jobs. Some analysis's point to a four percent growth in areas with
legalized gambling this is nearly the same as the rest of the nation.
Additionally, it seems that most of the business for these new casinos
is coming from the surrounding areas bringing in few tourists.
Consequently, there is no real growth and all this doe s is move money
around in the same economy. Indeed, many of the people that are
spending their money gambling are the same people that can least
afford to lose it. For instance, the lottery is most heavily
advertised in poor neighborhoods where it is advertised as a way out
of poverty. Opponents feel that gambling is like a tax on the poor.
The poor, those making under ten thousand a year, are spending more
money in proportion to their income than any other group. These
people, who can least afford it, are spending money on a dream. The
proliferation of casinos and legalized gambling promotes the dream of
"striking it rich" rather than the tried and true methods of
achievement, education and hard work. Proponents may argue that
gambling is fun, but with this fun comes many problems to society;
wherever there is a large amount of money and alcohol there is going
to be crime. Indeed, whenever casinos move into an area so do
criminals. Opponents say that in most cases where casinos have been
built the crime rate has risen. The rise in crime has cost cities
money they have to hire more police officers and build jails. However,
this is not the only cost to society, for example, gambling can take a
heavy toll on the family. Most people can spend a small amount of
money on gambling and then quit, but there are a substantial number of
people that can't control their gambling. To these people gambling is
an addiction that can't be controlled and has been compared to
alcoholism. In a survey of gamblers anonymous, twenty-six percent said
they had been divorced or separated because of gambling; thirty-four
percent had lost or quit a job; twenty-one percent had filed for
bankruptcy; sixty-six percent had contemplated suicide, and sixteen
percent had attempted suicide. Indeed, gambling may be