Grassroots Gambling.


Today I was reading through the list of Legislative Service Requests for the NH House and Senate. I've found three pieces of legislation relative to casino gambling in New Hampshire. Apparently, there are four. It looks like Sen. John Gallus SB 306-FN is coming back as is Rep. Edmond Gionet legislation to allow casinos in the North Country. I believe the whole issue of casino gaming will gain greater attention this session than the last but I still think these bills will all be found ITL.

Unfortunate but understandable. Proponents of casino gaming in NH need to do a much better job demonstrating how casinos will expand taxbase, create jobs and tourism and still be in touch with the social issues associated with this industry. This will be hard.

In the meantime. This is an article I found in today's edition of the Concord Monitor Newspaper. I think its a good presentation with supporting evidence I'm just wondering how many people will read it.

"A Nov. 23 editorial discussed the potential consequences of legalizing slot machines at New Hampshire's race tracks ("Slick tricks create more gambling addicts," Sunday Monitor). Unfortunately, it also perpetuated many common misperceptions about gambling.

Contrary to information presented in the editorial, the rate of gambling disorders does not necessarily increase within a 50-mile radius of a casino. A recent study (published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, June 2008) found that the current prevalence rates of pathological gambling are not higher near a casino than they are farther away from it.

The editorial also suggested that modern, computerized slot machines somehow encourage pathological and problem gambling. However, despite industry growth and technological advances, the prevalence rate of disordered gambling has remained virtually unchanged over the past 30 years. Many peer-reviewed research studies have found approximately 1 percent of adult Americans are pathological gamblers.

Without a doubt, a small fraction of the population experiences problems with gambling. Our industry spends millions of dollars annually funding research, working with treatment organizations and raising awareness about disordered gambling because even one pathological gambler is too many.

Finally, the editorial failed to acknowledge the many benefits that gaming can bring to communities. Across the country, casinos are stimulating local economies by creating good jobs, attracting visitors and generating substantial tax revenues.

As New Hampshire prepares to address budget shortfalls that affect millions of citizens, we believe your readers deserve a fair, thorough presentation of the facts."



(The writer is president and CEO of the American Gaming Association.)