Many of the positive economic impacts are in fact easy to point to if not always to quantify: Sleepy backwaters have become metropolises almost overnight; skyscrapers rise on the beaches at once-fading tourist areas; legions of employees testify to the hope and opportunities that the casinos have brought them and their families; some Indian nations have leapt from prolonged neglect and deprivation to sudden abundance.
After a two-year study of legalized gambling in the United States, the congressionally mandated National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) found numerous benefits of casino gaming.
- As it has grown, it has become more than simply an entertainment pass-time: The gambling industry has emerged as an economic mainstay in many communities and plays an increasingly prominent role in state and even regional economies &
- & a new casino of even limited attractiveness, placed in a market that is not already saturated, will yield positive economic benefits on net to its host economy.
- Research conducted on behalf of the commission confirms the testimony of & casino workers and government officials that casino gaming creates jobs and reduces the level of unemployment and government assistance in communities that have legalized it.
- Those communities closest to casinos experienced a 12%-17% drop in welfare payments, unemployment rates and unemployment insurance.
Economics of Casinos in 2001
Nationwide in 2001, 433 commercial casinos operated in 11 states. Gross gaming revenue in these 11 states grew by 5%, to $25.7 billion in 2001. The Commercial casinos workforce numbered more than 364,000 people (if you combine that figure with jobs created in American Indian and racetrack casinos, the industry directly employed more than 577,000 people nationwide). They also generated an additional 450,000 jobs in related businesses. Commercial casinos employees earned wages (including benefits and tips) of $11.5 billion, more than $500 million more than the previous year.
The Commercial casinos generated tax revenue to state and local governments of $3.6 billion in 2001, a 4.2% increase over the previous year. The tax rate for the casino industry ranges from a low of 6.25% (Nevada) to a high of 35% (Illinois). The revenue from those taxes benefits education, public safety, economic development and infrastructure improvements, among other state and local programs.
2001 Calendar Year Gaming Tax Revenue
Colorado - $92 million
Illinois - $555.2 million
Indiana - $492.6 million
Iowa - $216.9 million
Louisiana - $374.8 million
Michigan - $219.3 million
Mississippi - $332.6 million
Missouri - $322.7 million
Nevada - $688 million
New Jersey - $342.4 million
South Dakota - $4.5 million
TOTAL - $3.6 billion
The introduction of casinos is commonly associated with debates over the potential for community disruption and an increase in social problems such as higher crime rates, increases in divorce and suicide, and a lower quality of life. However, there has been little evidence that casinos have generated the adverse social impacts, which critics predicted.
Nearly all recent publicly and privately funded studies, as well as the testimony of law enforcement agents from around the country, refute claims by gambling opponents that casinos are linked to increased crime rates in communities and organized crime.
II. Divorce and Suicide
Researchers have found no data supporting the notion that legalizing casino gambling would increase a community's divorce rate. Nor was there any strong correlation between gaming and suicide rates.
III. Problem/Pathological Gambling
NGISC reported that pathological gambling often occurs in conjunction with other behavioral problems, including substance abuse, mood disorders, and personality disorders - a joint occurrence. Because of this, even when an individual acknowledges that gambling contributed to a particular family or social problem, it is extremely difficult to determine exactly what caused the problem."