Would Casino & Horse Race Gambling Be Good for Georgia? Don’t Bet On It!

Last year, there was a bold move at the Capitol to bring casinos and pari-mutuel betting to Georgia. Here are 5 reasons you should be opposed to this:

Economic Impact: An Emory Law School study shows that every year, each slot machine costs the state economy one job. Additionally, according to a University of New Orleans study of their own city, non-gambling businesses shun areas with gambling facilities. The socio-economic costs of legalized gambling are well-established at well-over $3 in costs for every $1 in new revenue. Casinos cannibalize the local economy. Georgia has worked hard to become the best state in the country in which to do business; why throw that away?

Crony Capitalism: Proponents describe casinos and horse racing as free market, but in fact, they are the picture of crony capitalism. The location and number of casinos will be determined by elected officials. They will be highly regulated (larger government) and will eventually be subsidized by the state (special tax breaks for special interests). Gambling interests have hired over 20 lobbyists to wine and dine legislators into supporting this bill. If you support a smaller government, gambling will make our state government even bigger.

Increased Crime: Research from Emory University shows that crime increases 10% every year in a community that surrounds a casino. Do we really want more crime in our state?

Increased Bankruptcies: Rates of bankruptcies rise 28-42% within 30 miles of casinos. When bankruptcy occurs, we all pay — directly by not getting paid for goods or services already provided, or indirectly in higher prices.

Intentional Addiction: MIT Professor Schull reported in her 2012 book, Addiction By Design, that people who follow responsible gambling guidelines made up 75% of the players but contribute a mere 4% of profits. That means 25% of gamblers provide 96% of the profits. Casinos feed addiction because they can’t survive without it.

Don’t fall for the two big deceptions you will hear about this issue!

The first is that this is the only way to fix the ailing Hope Scholarship fund. Not so. Gambling will cannibalize the lottery, which will hurt Hope rather than help it.

Secondly, many will say this is an issue the people should decide. However, we are not playing on a level field. The gambling industry will spend millions on marketing to convince us that casinos will usher in an economic utopia like our state has never seen.

Let Governor Deal, your state senator and your state representative know how you feel. They are already hearing from the gambling lobbyists. Don’t wait until they’ve made up their minds. They need to hear from you now.

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