THE EXPANSION OF LEGALIZED GAMBLING: SHOULD STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TAKE THE CHANCE?
THE EXPANSION OF LEGALIZED GAMBLING: SHOULD STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TAKE THE CHANCE?William McMurtrie, J.D.Terrence Reynolds, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThe economic crisis of the last three years has forced state and local governments to find new and appropriate ways to generate tax revenue and create new jobs. The legalization and expansion of gambling has been considered as a means to bridge budget deficits. But is it worth the risk?The purpose of this thesis is to determine whether or not the expansion of gambling legalization is an appropriate means of generating tax revenue. After all, what is the proper role of government?Those in favor of gambling legalization argue that it is a matter of personal choice. The fact that governments can benefit from this voluntary tax is merely an ancillary benefit of a harmless form of entertainment. Governments point to the staggering revenues generated from the industry in other states and wants the same for themselves.Opponents point to the increase in criminal elements surrounding the gambling industry and the social costs of pathological gambling. Is this the sort of business the government should be involved in?The study will include a close look at both the costs and benefits of state lotteries, casino gaming, sports wagering and the racetracks. It will examine the impulse control disorder known as pathological gambling and weigh its effects on individuals and their families while considering the argument for personal responsibility.In conclusion, it is my opinion that the widespread expansion of gambling creates too many risks and social costs that should preclude state and local governments from considering it as an appropriate form of tax revenue creation.
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