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Gambling Big. Sam Nelson

Sam Nelson

Sitting at the table, ten bucks on the pass line waiting for the point to be rolled. 7…….out, take the pass line, no field, no come. There goes your ten dollars. To most people, this is just a little entertainment on a Friday night. But what about the guy next to you who just lost $300….and his rent money. This is an example of one of the people included in the 3% of problem gamblers in the country. This is one reason people opposing legalized gambling are fighting against it. But, that $300 that that person lost gives the government about $60 in taxes. This money is used to reduce our states budget deficit and provide taxpayers with better roads, more schools, and a general better way of life. These arguments are all trying to solve our states problem; should we legalize gambling in the state of Washington?

The debate over whether or not gambling should be legalized is becoming a hot topic at the state capitol. The states budget deficit is over 1.27 billion dollars each year and we need to find a way to reduce that. The only way to do this is to either raise taxes, which no one wants to have happen or we can find other ways to create revenue for the state. Is legalizing gambling the way to solve this problem?

One of those ways to create this revenue is to allow more legalized casinos and state lotteries so the state can tax these things on their revenues. Having Washington join the favorite lotto of many people of neighboring states, Power Ball, is said that it would bring in over 25 million the first year, which will all be used to cut down the budget deficit. And allowing casinos to add to their gaming selection by making it legal to have more then 1500 slots in the tribal casinos and allowing smaller, “mini-casinos”, to have slot machines and craps and roulette will also bring in more revenue for the state . Many off the small casino owners are lobbying to get these games legalized so that they can compete with the bigger tribal casinos which do not have to follow the regular state laws.

With the addition and legalization of these forms of gambling, the budget deficit would be cut by 200 million per year . Now, I know that that is just 1/6 of the deficit but that is 1/6 less taxes will come out of your hard earned paycheck. This might look like a win-win situation; you keep your money and have the opportunity for some weekend entertainment. But there are many that oppose this revenue booster. They feel that it is not worth hurting people and their families by making gambling so accessible.

Legalized gambling also boosts the economy in other ways. Casinos create thousands of jobs for people. When Atlantic City blossomed their many extraordinary casinos, employment increased by 65%. At this time in Washington, there are over 40,000 people employed in the gaming industry. Legalized gambling will not only decrease our taxes but it will also supply more jobs to more people. This will also help strengthen our economy.

Gambling tax revenue is not as profitable for the state as other forms of tax money. With state lotteries, only about 25-35% goes to the state. 5% of the money goes to administration for the game and 15% goes towards the promotion of the game. The remaining revenues go towards the prize money. So many people argue that not enough money is made from lotto and other gambling games.

It has been said that approximately 3% of all people carry a compulsive condition that causes them to be unable to stop gambling and eventually lose their money, house and loved ones to their addiction. There have been many studies done on compulsive gambling and how it affects people. It can turn someone into a totally different person.
This may sound weird but in a survey given to approximately 200 gamblers that have admitted to having an addiction, the majority admitted to participating in activities that they would otherwise not participate in.

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