States Turning to Gambling to Help Budget Woes

Monday, April 12, 2010

Casino chips (Jam Adams/flickr)

States across the country are struggling with billions of dollars in budget gaps. Now many of them are looking at ways to raise revenue by expanding some form of gambling. Massachusetts is considering a bill that would license two resort-style casinos and bring slot machines to four of the state’s racetracks. 

In this first story of a pair we're doing this week on the subject, we speak with Sean Corcoran, reporter for WCAI public radio in Cape Cod, about what residents in Massachusetts think of the proposal for expanded gaming in their state. Richard McGowan, a professor of economics at Boston College and the author of several books on gambling, including “Dividing the Spoils: States and the Gambling Industry,” considers the cost of what has been called our nation’s addiction to gambling dollars.

Our partner WGBH is taking an in-depth look at the casino gambling debate in Massachusetts and what it means for people living and working in the Commonwealth with The Last Resort —a TV and radio series airing this week.

We asked you to start the conversation; here are some of the comments we received on FACEBOOK:

Bruce Freeburger: No. Gambling sucks money from many and gives it to the few. Also, gambling just destroys ambition. Why work and save when you are told you can just win? But you can't win. It's really a poor revenue raiser too.

Herschel M Rothman quotes a sign posted in a high school mathematics department office: "Lottery - a tax on people bad at math"

Kevin Fitzpatrick:  I have no problem with gambling, but I don't believe that States should view it as a valid revenue stream. It should be regulated and taxed, but I don't think it is a silver bullet for government budget woes.

Guests:

Sean Corcoran and Richard McGowan

Produced by:

Elizabeth Ross

Comments [1]

Frank Lilly from Silverthorne, CO

If governments feel that they need to resort to peddling vice in order to balance their budgets, why not go all the way - they could pimp prostitution, sell marijuana - any number of things! It is the job of government to discourage vice, not profit from it, and thereby encourage it.

Apr. 13 2010 08:32 AM

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