Category Archives: Gambling

Uncertain Benefits, Hidden Costs: The Perils of State-Sponsored Gambling

Source: ITEP, Policy Brief, October 2011

The recent fiscal downturn forced cash-strapped, tax-averse state lawmakers to seek unconventional revenue-raising alternatives, for additional revenue-raising opportunities outside of the income, sales and property taxes that form the backbone of most state tax systems. One of the most popular alternatives to those major revenue sources is state-sponsored gambling. As this policy brief points out, however, gambling revenues are rarely as lucrative, or as long-lasting, as supporters claim.

Is Gambling a Good Economic Development Bet?

Source: excerpted from: Steven G. Koven and Thomas S. Lyons, Economic Development: Strategies for State and Local Practice, ICMA Press, 2nd Edition, August 2010

Some communities with desperate economic problems may see the legalization of gaming as a risk worth its potential costs because the cost of doing nothing is already high. Other communities may decide it is more important to avoid the cost associated with social pathologies linked to gambling than to take this path to economic development.

Researchers Present Recent Work

Source: Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, November 2009

Trends in state and local government finance, social welfare spending, and gambling revenues to states are among the topics Rockefeller Institute researchers have explored in recent conference papers and presentations.

– T. Gais, L. Dadayan and S. Bae on social welfare spending
– Donald Boyd on state budgets and health reform
– Donald Boyd on fiscal sustainabillity
– Lucy Dadayan on gambling revenues to the states
– Robert Ward on state budget gaps

From a Bonanza to a Blue Chip? Gambling Revenue to the States

Source: Lucy Dadayan, Nino Giguashvili, and Robert B. Ward, Rockefeller Institute, June 19, 2008

For more than two decades, states saw lotteries and casinos as a bonanza of new dollars for education and other programs. Gambling revenue is now at an all-time high, but growth is slowing due to objections about social impacts and broader economic trends. And the report shows that states vary widely in their reliance on gambling revenues.

Borrowing Against the Future: Are Lottery Bonds the Best Way To Close the Budget Gap?

Source: California Budget Project, Budget Brief, June 2008

As part of the May Revision to his 2008-09 Proposed Budget, the Governor proposes to sell $15 billion of bonds that would be repaid with future lottery revenues; $5.1 billion of this amount would be used to help balance the 2008-09 budget, and the remainder would be deposited in a new reserve. The Assembly’s budget also assumes the sale of $15 billion of bonds backed by lottery proceeds. The Assembly would use $3.6 billion to pay 2008-09 General Fund obligations and the remainder to pay and prepay outstanding debt. Both proposals assume that lottery revenues can be substantially increased over a relatively short period. This Budget Brief examines the assumptions regarding increased lottery sales, whether the California lottery is underperforming, and policy issues raised by lottery bond proposals.

State Revenue Report

Source: Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, July 2008

State revenues slow yet again, and further weakening appears likely: Mid-year budget cuts may lie ahead.

According to a study released Thursday by The Rockefeller Institute of Government, revenue from lottery games accounted for about 8.9 percent of West Virginia’s internal state government revenues, topped only by Nevada’s 13.4 percent. By comparison, Ohio gambling revenues accounted for 1.9 percent of its own-source revenue. In Kentucky, the number was 1.5 percent.

Labor Hits Jackpot

Source: Melinda Tuhus, In These Times, February 5, 2008

Foxwoods Resort Casino rises from the hills of rural southeastern Connecticut like a gambler’s Oz.

It is one of the country’s biggest Indian casinos and it is the largest employer in the state, with 10,000 workers. Of those employees, about 2,600 are dealers of games such as poker and blackjack. And on Nov. 24, 2007, many of these dealers placed a bet on a better life with the United Auto Workers (UAW). ….

It’s the first election at an Indian casino to be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which made a groundbreaking ruling last year that allowed Indian casinos to be unionized. But casino management has appealed the vote, claiming it violates tribal sovereignty.

As Gaming Grows, Many Tribes Get Left Behind

Source: Tom A. Peter Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 2007

A casino plan in Massachusetts is pushing two Connecticut tribes to expand their gambling operations.

… In New England, all eyes are on Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is proposing that the state allow three resort casinos to be built by 2012. He claims the casinos would create 20,000 permanent jobs and generate at least $400 million a year in tax revenues. By some estimates, the plan could cost Connecticut’s tribal casinos $700 million a year in lost business.

2007 State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment

Source: American Gaming Association (AGA), 2007 AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment

The AGA presents the 9th annual State of the States: The AGA Survey of Casino Entertainment. Included in the report are details of the national and state-by-state economic impact of commercial casinos, along with data examining the continued growth of the racetrack casino sector. State of the States offers an in-depth look at casino visitation, profiles the American casino gambler, and features polling data indicating the acceptance of casino gaming remains high. The 2007 State of the States survey includes a special section on the Gulf Coast region that features the results of a new poll of opinion leaders from the area about the status of recovery efforts and the outlook for the future, particularly with regard to the region’s gaming industry. It also reports on the poker sector and for the first time, spotlights sports betting, a sector of the industry that has been receiving increased interest.

+ Full Report
+ Press Release
+ Survey Index