On the heels of our state lawmakers passing a bill that will legalize sports gambling and horse racing, there is now a buzz that they may take up a measure to authorize a number of state-sanctioned gambling casinos in North Carolina. Not only would gambling casinos increase the prevalence of gambling addiction in our state—causing harm to thousands of individuals and families—they would also cannibalize the communities in which they are located, diverting valuable consumer dollars away from local businesses and into the pockets of the gambling industry.
Casinos are particularly harmful because they are specifically and strategically designed to exploit people and entice them to gamble for as long as possible. Often, casino developments include hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and retail shops to keep patrons inside, spending their time and money. This diverts dollars away from local consumer goods and services and siphons money out of the local economy.
Moreover, decades of research clearly shows that the more forms of gambling that are legalized and advertised, the more citizens will gamble. Of those who do, a significant percentage will develop a pathological or problem gambling issue. Gambling addiction manifests itself in increases in crime, domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, job loss, personal bankruptcy, substance abuse, and even suicide. These harms not only impact the gamblers themselves, but also their families, friends, employers, and community.State lawmakers have already passed legislation to legalize sports gambling and horse racing in North Carolina, which is going to harm thousands of individuals and their families and fatten the pockets of the predatory gambling industry. They don’t need to increase the damage by legalizing state-sanctioned gambling casinos, too!
You can learn more about some of the dangers associated with gambling here.