Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling
PO Box 3931, Concord, NH 03302-3931
The Economic & Social Cost of Casinos
1. Regional casino markets saturated. NH market too small to support "destination/resort" casino.
· The regional gambling market now includes eleven (11) casinos in nearby Quebec/Montreal, Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island. Massachusetts has legalized four additional large casinos, including a proposed $1.5 billion operation near Boston, all to offer flashier venues with more amenities than any casino ever proposed for New Hampshire.
· Most New England gamblers live near Boston and New York, not in New Hampshire. Given choice, gamblers take their business to larger casinos closer to where they live.
· Casino facility investment is determined by population and aggregate personal income within 30-45 minutes drive-time of a proposed location and by the location and amenities of competing casinos. The now-circumscribed New Hampshire market is too small to justify the $1.5 billion-plus investment required for a Foxwoods-type destination/resort casino offering dramatic architecture, four/five-star hotels, more and better restaurants, and big-name entertainment. The remaining New Hampshire casino market is limited to local market "convenience" casinos and slots barns.
· A convenience casino here would therefore depend primarily on New Hampshire residents for business. New Hampshire gamblers wanting a flashier experience will continue to take their business to Connecticut and Massachusetts. Few Connecticut and Massachusetts residents will drive to New Hampshire for a more remote convenience casino offering fewer amenities.
· Case in point: despite promises to the contrary exactly like those being made by gambling interests here, Bangor, Maine's convenience casino has completely failed to attract out of state gamblers or to halt the flow of Maine gambler money to Connecticut. New England Casino Gaming Update data show that 96 percent of gamblers at the Bangor casino live in Maine, only 1 percent in Massachusetts. In 2004, the year before Bangor casino opened, Maine residents spent $33 million at the Connecticut casinos, $34 million in 2011.
· There is no sustainable "first-mover" market advantage should New Hampshire rush to beat Massachusetts in casino opening dates.
· Beware the "resort" casino bait & switch. Gambling interests typically sucker gullible legislators in smaller markets with promises of a casino with high-end amenities ... then deliver a slots barn or a "temporary" facility and indefinite promises to build a glitzy permanent facility. Check these before and after pictures showing the bait & switch that tricked referendum voters into approving the Oxford, Maine slots barn by a razor-thin 0.8 percent margin.
· Because it would depend primarily upon New Hampshire residents for revenue, a convenience casino here would displace consumer spending from existing New Hampshire businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, conference centers, entertainment venues, and retailers ranging from auto dealers to food and clothing stores.
· Midrange estimates of this displacement or cannibalization effect are 50-60 percent. This means that a single border casino generating $75 million in annual taxes (at the proposed 25% tax rate on slots gross win) would drain at least $200 million in annual revenues from existing New Hampshire businesses, often locally owned and operated.
· New Hampshire casinos would subject thousands of existing New Hampshire businesses to an egregiously unfair and anti-competitive disadvantage. Here's how. The one (and two) casino bills before the 2013 legislature both require the state to grant a market monopoly on slot machines and high-stakes table games. Casinos throughout the U.S. always use monopoly slots profits to "comp" (discount below cost or give away for free) rooms, meals, drinks, entertainment, and other amenities. Using standard casino comp/gross profit ratios (2011 Atlantic City data here), a single Salem casino would comp at least $100 million annually in these amenities.
· Local businesses subject to casino revenue cannibalization recycle revenues and profits back into the local economy to a greater extent than would the out-of-state companies proposing casinos here. The local businesses harmed by this unfair and arguably unconstitutional competition from casino monopolies are often integral parts of our local community life.
· Casino cannibalization also kills existing New Hampshire jobs. The New Hampshire Gaming Study Commission (see page GSC 70), found that a North Country casino would wipe out 7 existing local/regional jobs for each 10 casino jobs.
· Listen to the experts on casino cannibalization:
In one case, a license was granted to a developer unable to obtain financing.
4. Physical casinos are now a declining industry. Casino market saturation causing sharp state revenue drops.
· Severe budget stress in states heavily dependent on casino taxes is forcing states (note: "gross win" is casino gross profits on slots and/or table games and is usually the base on which casino taxes are imposed):
· In its feature story on the declining casino industry and its aging and shrinking customer base, the New York Times quoted veteran casino marketing consultant Michael Meczka: "There aren't any new customers out there. Gaming is an aged community ... Anyone who has ever wanted to try a casino has tried a casino."
· In books, electronics, and office supplies, we’ve already seen how quickly the Internet has devastated brick and mortar business models. In 2012, it began happening to physical casinos when Delaware became the first state to allow Internet gambling, including blackjack, poker, and online slot machines.
· Casino saturation has become so intense, states so addicted to casino tax money, and legislatures so trapped by casino lobbyists that New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia all now use taxpayer dollars to subsidize their casinos.
· Millennium Gaming, the Las Vegas gambling company pushing for Salem casino, testified to the NH Gaming Study Commission that New Hampshire gambling revenues would drop by "nearly half" if Massachusetts legalized casinos (see page GSC 15).
5. Casino economic costs exceed tax revenues.
· Economic costs of casinos include reduced workplace productivity and increased rates of white collar and violent crime, bankruptcy, embezzlement, suicide, illness, and state and local civil justice, law enforcement, highway, school, and social welfare costs.
· Baylor University economist Dr. Earl Grinols, in his presentation to the NH Gaming Study Commission, estimated that the cost/benefit ratio (slides 26-27) for NH casinos is about 3:1 and that the approximate cost of full casino introduction per adult resident is $200 per year above economic and entertainment benefits.
· Using an analysis not including all costs, the NH Gaming Study Commission found that (if Massachusetts casinos were legalized and Massachusetts social costs are included) Millennium Gaming’s proposed Rockingham Park casino would cause $143-288 million in uncompensated social and economic costs, greater than its projected $150 million in tax revenues (see pages GSC 60, 89, and 91 for data).
· The Commission found that a North Country (i.e. Berlin) casino would also create costs greater than tax revenues, but with all the cost burdens imposed on NH residents (see page GSC 41).
· Casino backers disingenuously argue that Massachusetts casinos will export uncompensated social costs to New Hampshire and that, by legalizing casinos here, New Hampshire will have revenues to pay for these costs. Casino backers purposefully fail to acknowledge that bringing casinos here would only increase net costs to New Hampshire. Imitating Massachusetts' mistake by allowing casinos in New Hampshire would only make the problem worse.
· Millennium Gaming has spent millions of dollars blanketing our state with ads making the Orwellian claim that casino taxes are not taxes. At the proposed 25 percent rate on slot machine gross profits, the casino tax rate would be the highest on any activity in our state. Moreover, casino taxes would be imposed on consumer spending cannibalized from lower-taxed and tax-free economic activity such as dining, retail, and entertainment ... in essence a large, thinly concealed tax hike the size of a 3-4 percent retail sales tax.
· Assuming $75 million in annual New Hampshire gambling revenues from one border casino, the casino tax would be the most substantial new tax since imposition of the BET.
· For this and other reasons, every New Hampshire anti-tax group opposes casino legalization.
· Sally Stitt, President of Star Media of New Hampshire and who has played a critical role for over twenty years in helping protect and enhance the New Hampshire brand, told the NH Gaming Study Commission that gambling industry marketing and promotional activity would "dwarf" New Hampshire's aggregate state and individual company tourism marketing and would "drown out" the very healthy New Hampshire brand messages (by a ratio of up to 5 to 1). Total private, state, Joint Promotional Program and match money tourism marketing is now about $7 million annually. New Hampshire casinos would spend $15-30 million annually for $300 million in gross profit (applying typical gambling industry marketing budgets of 5-10 percent).
· Look at this Millennium casino website and ask yourself: is this the image and reputation we wish to cultivate for our state? Is this image consistent with the New Hampshire brand?
· Florida legalized slot casino gambling in 2004. If casinos are so good for the economy, why do these leading Florida business organizations oppose casino expansion there?
8. Casino wages are low. Insufficient casino cost impact mitigation for host/surrounding communities.
· A substantial hidden cost of the typical casino results from the fact that 30-50 percent of gambling industry workers receive near-minimum wages. The 2011 median wage including tips for gambling industry workers is $11.30 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The living wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment in NH is $19.40 per hour.
· Low casino wages necessitate increased budgets for subsidized housing, public transportation, social services, and increased school budgets for services such as ESL, special education, and subsidized meals. These burdens fall back on local host and surrounding community property taxpayers.
· These cost burdens are significantly greater than the host and neighbor community revenue sharing in every draft of proposed casino legislation. Pro-casino Palmer, Mass community leaders have estimated the real costs of a casino to their community (see cost tabulation here). Palmer's key suggestion to casino host communities: secure a binding, full cost mitigation agreement BEFORE casinos are legalized when community bargaining leverage is sufficient.
· Unlike most types of development, casinos have regional impacts on costs of roads, schools, water/sewer, police/fire protection and quality of life. While host communities must vote by referendum to approve a casino, surrounding communities are given no voice or control whatsoever.
9. The gambling lobby's tax revenue promises cannot be trusted.
has repeatedly warned revenue-hungry legislators not to get sucked in by
gambling lobby promises. The promised slot machine gross win tax rate was 49
percent in 2011 (HB593), 40 percent in 2012 (HB593 Amendment), and 25 percent as
of January, 2013 (D'Allesandro-Millennium bill). The average US casino
tax rate is 22 percent.
· The 25 percent tax rate and/or projected revenues may drop yet again because the US casino market is nearly saturated and its customer demographics ageing out.
· The gambling industry in New Hampshire has a long history of repeatedly demanding and obtaining tax rate and fee reductions. Most recently (January, 2013), Rockingham Park has asked that its $50,000 license investigation fee be paid out to the state over five years (instead of upfront) and cut in half if live racing is to be discontinued.
10. North Country business leaders do not want casinos.
· “We're not in that business … I don't see any opportunity for it.” David Ritchie, director of sales and marketing, Omni Mount Washington Resort, NH Business Review, 9/9/2009
· “During our three years of studying across the four states in our Sustainable Economy Initiative plan there was never a mention of gaming … It's being pushed from another area. It's not really high on the list up here.” Jim Tibbetts, president and chief executive, First Colebrook Bank, NHBR, 9/9/2009
· “Gambling is a solution to a short-term problem … [we should not] underestimate the long-term consequences … We’re a family-oriented resort and residential community. [Gambling] is not compatible.” Pat Corso, former GM, Mount Washington Resort, NHBR, 1/30/2009
· “[Gambling] is not even a consideration.” Chris Diego, general manager of the Mountain View Grand, asked if casinos fit into his resort’s plans, NHBR, 1/30/2009
· “It (gambling) is not even on the radar screen.” Peter Riviere, Executive Director, Coos Economic Development Corp., NHBR, 1/30/2009
· “A false panacea.” Peter Powell, Co-chair, Coos County Economic Development Council, NHBR, 1/30/2009
· A North Country casino will attract very few out of state tourists, but will instead suck money from existing North Country businesses and households.
1. Gambling cannot be “limited.” One casino will lead to unstoppable statewide proliferation.
· No legislature can bind a future legislature. Short of a constitutional amendment passed BEFORE the first casino is legalized, the NH Gaming Study Commission (page 11) found no means to stop casino proliferation, with impacts reaching into every NH community. To maintain gambling tax revenues in the face of the declining casino industry, gambling-dependent states are under constant pressure to expand casino locations and into new forms of gambling in more locations. Allowing even one casino is tantamount to allowing statewide proliferation.
· Plummeting tax revenue from Illinois’ ten casinos has forced the state in 2009 to legalize up to 65,000 slot machines at bars, restaurants, social clubs, and truck stops throughout the state. In 2012, the Illinois legislature passed a bill to legalize an additional ten casinos and to allow more slots at existing casinos. Governor Quinn, a casino supporter, vetoed this bill because he thought it would increase political corruption by gambling interests.
· The Pennsylvania legislature in October, 2009 legalized table games at its existing casinos and racinos, though backers of that state’s 2004 authorizing legislation promised table games would never be needed.
· Connecticut Governor Rell, facing sharp revenue declines from her state’s two tribal casinos, proposed legalizing 1,000 keno slot machines in bars throughout the state.
· Maine's two casinos now offer high-stakes table games in addition to slots, though voters were promised that this would not be necessary when racinos were legalized in 2003.
· West Virginia legalized 3 racinos in 1994. In 2001, the state legalized video slots in bars and restaurants statewide. In 2007, the state legalized table games at racinos. West Virginia now has 72,000 at-risk gamblers.
· Here is a chart showing year-by-year gambling proliferation in five states.
2. Legalization is irreversible.
· No state having legalized slots has repealed the decision, other than South Carolina, where the reversal was imposed by state Supreme Court decision. Because government will become dependent on casino taxes and gambling interests will become politically entrenched, a vote to legalize in New Hampshire should be considered a mistake that cannot be undone.
3. Slot casinos would kill existing charity gambling.
· Millennium Gaming is proposing a casino with charity gambling areas (subject to statutory bet limits) co-located with casino high stakes table games (without statutory bet limits). Obviously, casinos will quickly wipe out charity gambling and charity gambling operations.
· The Rube Goldberg "hold-harmless" provision offered by Millennium to charities would: (a) Freeze total charity gambling revenues at present levels; (b) Force charities to lobby Millennium and the state’s gambling regulatory authority every year for their individual budgets (because the hold harmless is only for the total amount for all charities); (c) Freeze out charity gambling funding for new charities addressing new needs and existing charities facing growing needs; (d) Subject charities to the reality that the legislature retains the power to cut or eliminate hold harmless funding levels at any time.
· In every state to have legalized them, casinos and legislators have developed excessively close, with gambling interests soon becoming the single most dominating influence.
· Unlike any enterprise now allowed in New Hampshire, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money would be collected from just one or two businesses, making the legislature dangerously dependent on just one or two entities for a highly visible portion of state taxes. Second, unlike any enterprise now existing in our state, casino profits would be almost wholly determined by government policy: tax rates, casino locations, number and location of competitors, number of allowed slot machines, payout ratios, slot machine design and operation, number and type of allowed table games, license and license renewal fees and terms, casino owner, manager, and investor background checks, infrastructure construction and subsidies, etc. As a result of this intense, two-way dependency, gambling interests in every casino state become the dominating political influence, elbowing aside the concerns of other constituencies, and the value of our accessible, citizen legislature would become lost.
· The National Institute of Money in State Politics (summary data, full report) found that in the eight states holding referenda on gambling expansion in 2008, the gambling industry outspent opponents of gambling expansion by 48-to-1. The gambling industry’s political modus operandi is to overwhelm opponents with gambling money.
· Even candidates who refuse direct contributions from gambling interests are now subjected to threats of a barrage of last-minute, industry-funded, negative character assassination campaigns.
5. Political dominance, then corruption.
· Read this editorial by Natalie Rogol, a research fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation, a Pennsylvania public policy research institute, recounting the exaggerated revenue promises and rampant corruption that mark the first five years of casinos in Pennsylvania.
· New Hampshire has a history of weak
gambling regulation. The New Hampshire state auditor found in 2005 that the
Pari-Mutuel Commission (now, the Racing & Charitable Gaming Commission) was
stained by a multi-year pattern of self-dealing, evasion of legislative budget
authority and sloppy recordkeeping (audit
summary, full report). In 2005, the NH PMC failed to detect a
$200 million, multi-year Gambino crime family illegal gambling and
money-laundering operation at the Belmont track. Again, in 2009, the Racing
& Charitable Gaming Commission failed to prevent the bankrupt owners of the
· Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray, an ardent casino supporter, was quoted in February, 2010 expressing her concerns about corruption: “Every other state that’s done gaming, someone goes to jail because it’s done too fast, too sloppily.” Senator Murray also warned that gambling revenue should not be included in any budget passed at the same time casinos were legalized, because the necessary regulatory authority could not be set up in time.
· The New Hampshire legislature experimented disastrously with exactly this type of dangerously close, corrupting set of relationships with the Boston & Maine railroad monopoly in the 1880s. See: Senator William Eaton Chandler, Book of Bargains, 1891, pp 44-55. Pervasive corruption of the New Hampshire legislature by the railroad monopoly culminated in passage of the anti-monopoly provisions of Part II, Article
of the New Hampshire constitution in 1903.
6. Every casino bill gives unconstitutional monopolies to politically-connected entities.
· Part 1, Article 10: “Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men…”
· Part 2, Article 83: “… Free and fair competition in the trades and industries is an inherent and essential right of the people and should be protected against all monopolies and conspiracies which tend to hinder or destroy it …”
8. Labor should not trust gambling industry promises.
· Quoting from AFL-CIO’s 3/16/09
blogs: “Two years ago, 80 percent of casino dealers at Caesars Atlantic City
voted in favor of UAW representation. Full- and part-time dealers and slot
techs at Tropicana Casino and Resort,
· Legalization of slots or casinos under ANY model (state-owned or licensed, racino, resort, neighborhood) triggers federal law requiring that the state permit any recognized tribe to conduct the same types of gambling on tribal and tribal trust lands. See Marty Honigberg, Esq.'s memo on the subject.
· Although there are now no recognized tribes in New Hampshire, legalization in other states usually generates gambling industry solicitation, sponsorship, and funding for tribes that could be recognized.
· Tribal casinos are not subject to state or local environmental and land use regulation.
10. Polling does NOT show support for casinos.
· After years of an unrelenting advertising and PR campaign by Millennium Gaming, the most recent New Hampshire gambling poll by Dartmouth College's Rockefeller Center found that 42 percent oppose and 41 percent support legalized slot casinos here. Democrats oppose by 44-35 and Republicans oppose by 43-42. These results were unchanged from last year’s.
· A March, 2010 UMass Dartmouth poll, administered by Hudson casino consultant Clyde Barrow, shows the extent to which the gambling industry has misinformed the public about the negatives of predatory gambling: 37 percent believe that slot casinos will NOT increase gambling addiction; 45 percent believe that slot casinos will NOT increase political corruption; 53 percent believe that slot casinos will NOT increase crime; 65 percent believe that slot casinos will NOT hurt small, local businesses.
· Since 1995, slot machine gambling and casinos have been widely available throughout Australia. Australians are therefore now informed by 17 years’ experience about both the harms and benefits of slots and casino gambling. The Australian Government Productivity Commission (page 11) reviewed all opinion polling, finding that about 75 percent of adults (and even 75 percent of gamblers) think that gambling expansion did more harm than good for their communities. 80 percent of Aussies want to see video slot machines in their states either removed or reduced in numbers.
· The NH Center for Public Policy studies conducted an exhaustive review all published literature on the link between casinos and crime, finding Baylor University economist Dr. Earl Grinols’ peer-reviewed casino-crime study the “gold standard,” and by far the most rigorous and widely-cited on the subject. This study quantifies the link between casinos and increases in aggravated assault, rape, robbery, larceny, burglary, and auto theft in counties hosting casinos, with these serious crimes rising by about 10 percent within 5 years of casino opening.
· Based upon the Center’s crime analysis, the NH Gaming Study Commission found that a single casino as proposed by Millennium Gaming for Rockingham Park would add more than 1,200 serious crimes each year in Salem and surrounding communities. (See page GSC 83). Five casinos would add over 2,500 crimes per year, including more than 30 rapes. It is not possible to be both anti-crime and pro-casino.
· A new Journal of Quantitative Criminology study -- described by economists as the best yet on the link between serious crimes and slot machines -- found that income-generating crimes (theft, fraud, breaking and entering, forgery, false pretences, larceny and robbery) increase by about 10 percent as a result of the accessibility of legalized video slot machines. Quoting from the study: “Gaming expenditure per capita is significantly positively associated with nearly every type of crime in all years of the analysis … Moreover, our results are likely to be under-estimates given the underreporting issue associated with theft from family and friends which characterizes gambling related crime.”
· Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling helpline data show that, among problem gamblers seeking help, 64 percent are subject of civil actions for failure to pay debts, 62 percent admit to committing fraud, writing bad checks, or forgery, 21 percent to embezzling money from their employers, 21 percent to larceny against friends, family, or strangers.
· For the third year running, New Hampshire is ranked the safest state in the nation, Nevada the least safe. Public safety is among the most desired and critical goods provided by state and local government and is a crown jewel supporting our state’s economic competitiveness and high quality of life.
· For these reasons, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police and every New Hampshire Attorney General for the past thirty-four years have strongly opposed legalized slot casinos.
2. Gambling addiction will double in host and surrounding communities.
· The National Gambling Impact Study Commission (page 28) found that casinos double gambling addiction within a 50 mile radius.
· The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling (summary data, full report) found that residents living within 15 to 20 miles of the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun resort casinos have a 5 times greater risk of suffering gambling addiction or gambling problems compared with persons living more than 60 miles distant. Resort casinos provide no protection against addiction.
· Welte, et al (data, page 419) found that problem and pathological gambling frequency more than doubled to over 7 percent of the population within 10 miles of a casino.
· In a review of all available literature, the Australian Government Productivity Commission, found “a broad range of evidence suggesting a link between accessibility [proximity] and harm.” (page 14.4).
· The NH Gaming Study Commission found that a single casino such as that proposed for Salem would cause an additional 7,000-14,000 New Hampshire residents to become pathologically addicted or problem gamblers see pages GSC 21 and 99. Contrary to the bogus assertion by the gambling lobby, these addicted gamblers do not already exist here.
· These are among the reasons that virtually every New Hampshire faith organization across the political spectrum opposes slot casinos.
3. Gambling addiction treatment and casino self-exclusion do not mitigate harms.
· The American Journal of Psychiatry study (page 299) found that – even when such services are available – only 7 percent of lifetime pathological gamblers sought or received treatment.
· In a literature review, Petry et al found that “only 8 percent of [Gamblers Anonymous] attendees achieve a year of abstinence.”
· An analysis of a U.S. National Epidemiological Survey found that only 9.1 percent of gambling addicts used either GA or other treatment programs.
· The Australian Government found that only 8-17 percent of Australian problem gamblers seek treatment (page 7.3). “Internationally, around 6-15 per cent of people experiencing problems with gambling are reported to seek help from problem gambling services.” (page 7.3) “People experiencing problems with their gambling often do not seek professional help until a ‘crisis’ occurs - financial ruin, relationship break down, court charges or attempted suicide - or when they hit ‘rock bottom.’” (page 7.4).
· Nowatzki and Williams (page 8) found that only 0.4 to 1.5 percent of Canadian problem gamblers sign up for self-exclusion programs.
· Those genuinely concerned about gambling addiction will acknowledge that the only effective means to address the problem is to keep New Hampshire casino free (prevention).
4. Slot machines are several times more addictive than present forms of NH gambling.
· Gambling addiction onset is over 3 times more rapid with slot machines compared with table games (Breen Table 1).
· The Australian Government Productivity Commission, in its 19 chapter gambling cost/benefit report (the most exhaustive yet conducted in any jurisdiction), found that slot machines are between 7 and 17 times more risky than lotteries (see page 5.28). Video slot machines, rather than other forms of gambling available in Australia such as lottery, racing, or table games, account for around 80 per cent of gambling problems (see page 5.26) and “are found to pose significant problems for consumers.” (see page 13).
· 69 percent of problem gamblers seeking treatment at the Rhode Island Gambling Treatment Program cite video slot machines as their primary problem. Lottery problems constitute 8 percent.
· 80 percent of gamblers seeking treatment at the West Virginia Problem Gamblers Help Program report video slot machines as their primary problem. Lottery problems constitute 7 percent.
· 66 percent of gamblers seeking treatment at the Ontario Problem Gambling Helpline name slots at their primary gambling problem, card games 25 percent, lottery 5 percent.
· 70 percent of
5. Social and public health problems: one-in-eight NH residents will be harmed.
· Each problem or pathological gambler impacts the lives of approximately ten additional family members, workplace associates, friends, and crime victims. The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre found that over 12 percent of Ontario adults are negatively affected from someone else’s gambling problems, usually taking form as being manipulated into lending money or not having money repaid. In Australia, where slots became widespread as of 1995, 13 percent of the population now has at least one family member or relative with a serious gambling problem (see page 5.29).
· Increased addiction-related social and economic costs include divorce, domestic violence, child abuse, child death by abuse, rape, assault, suicide, drug abuse, psychiatric and personality disorders, physical illness, bankruptcy, work absenteeism, lost workplace productivity, embezzlement, insurance fraud, arson, and increased police, civil justice, social services costs.
· The National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that prevalence of these problems among pathological (addicted) gamblers compared to non-gamblers increases by up to several times: past year unemployment benefits by 3.3x, past-year welfare by 2.4x, bankruptcy filing by 4.6x, arrests by 7.2x, divorce by 2.9x, long-term illness by 2.0x, depression by 4.2x.
· A national epidemiological survey of 43,000 American adults found that, “Pathologic gamblers were more likely than low-risk individuals to have been diagnosed with tachycardia (odds ratio 1.77), angina (OR 2.35) … Gambling severity was also associated with higher rates of medical utilization with pathologic gamblers more likely than low-risk individuals to have been treated in the emergency room in the year before the survey (OR 1.98). Significant effects of gambling severity remained even after controlling for demographic characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, education, income, and region of the country) and behavioral risk factors such as body mass index, alcohol abuse and dependence, nicotine dependence, and mood and anxiety disorders. Conclusions: A lifetime diagnosis of pathologic gambling is associated with several medical disorders and increased medical utilization, perhaps leading to a burden on healthcare costs in the United States.”
· In response to its adverse experience with widely accessible video slot machines, Switzerland banned slot machines outside of casinos in 2005. Norway banned all slots of the type used in the US in 2007. Russia banished all gambling to four highly remote locations in 2009.
· These are among the reasons why the New Hampshire Medical Society opposes slot casinos.
· There is no means to confine the impact of legalized slot casino gambling to adults.
· The 2008 Youth Gambling in Connecticut survey of 4,500 high school students found: 9 percent had committed illegal acts related to gambling (with half of those being arrested for the act); 16 percent gambled on slot machines, 6 percent at a casino (even though illegal). Here are the top four things students describe as important to prevent youth gambling problems: parents who don’t involve kids in gambling; parents who don’t gamble; fun activities free of gambling; fear of loss of possessions, friends and relatives to gambling problems.
· Rutgers University found that teens are twice as likely to be heavy gamblers if their parents gamble (Table 2.14). Teens are one-third more likely become level 3 (pathological) gamblers if their parents gamble (Table 3.5).
· The University of
Delaware found that almost one-third of 8th and 11th graders in that casino
state had gambled in the past year. Those
· Gambling addiction and, thereby, nearby casinos are linked to substantial increases in divorce (NORC page 49), family violence, child physical abuse, childhood attempted suicide, and childhood depression.
· At least 10 percent of the children of gambling addicts suffer physical abuse at the hands of the addict (NRC page 159).
· These are among the reasons that the Children's Alliance of New Hampshire and the National Education Association of New Hampshire oppose casinos.
7. Slot casinos increase suicide and attempted suicide.
· The Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation (page 27) found in its literature review on the subject that 17-24 percent of pathological gamblers attempt suicide; that pathological gamblers have a suicide rate 5-10 times higher than the general population; and that their spouses have suicide attempt rates three times higher than the general population.
· Joe Harding, director of New Hampshire's bureau of drug and alcohol services, estimates that New Hampshire would have nearly 1,000 "actively suicidal" residents if multiple casinos were legalized here. (See his testimony to the Gaming Study Commission, 3/16/2010).
· See this 60 Minutes expose on the purposefully addictive design of slot machines.
· Video slot machines are the source of 70-80 percent of the gross profits at the typical US casino.
· The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (Table 17) found that about 60 percent of casino revenue and therefore tax revenue is extracted from problem and pathological gamblers for whom gambling is not voluntary.
· Problem and pathological gambling prevalence is ten times higher in low as in high income communities (Welte, page 418).
· Gambling addiction is twice as high and effective casino tax rates are at least 2-4 times higher among lower income groups (sources).
11. Slot casinos degrade social capital and quality of life.
· This peer-reviewed study found that casinos degrade “social capital” in communities within 15 miles radius. Social capital is a quality of life index measuring prevailing levels of trust, civic orientation, volunteerism, group participation, charitable giving and service, and meeting the needs of family and friends within a community.