Addicted to Gambling: State Governments Now Depend on the Proceeds to Finance their Budgets

May 23, 2006

States are more addicted to gambling revenue than ever as the lure of easy new money for schools, tax relief and public services has led to an explosion of state-sanctioned casinos, slot machines at racetracks and lottery games.

Twenty-five years ago, gambling was legal in only three states. Now every state except Utah and Hawaii relies on gambling to generate revenues to help avoid raising taxes.

Pennsylvania will be the 11th state to offer slot machines at racetracks and other venues when it completes the awarding of contracts to operate 61,000 slot machines - more than any state but Nevada - to raise money for property tax relief. North Carolina in March became the 42nd state to launch a lottery and expects to raise $425 million in its first year, mostly for education.

Bets can be placed in nearly 900 casinos - 455 privately run in 11 states, 406 on Indian reservations in 29 states plus 29 racetrack casinos (known as racinos) in 11 states. And at least nine states (Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas) are considering opening their doors to casino or racetrack gambling.

Read the full report Addicted to Gambling: State Governments Now Depend on the Proceeds to Finance their Budgets on the Stateline.org Web site.

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