Though the American Gaming Association does not take a position on expanded gambling, I feel compelled to respond to Lynne Woolley’s opinion piece “The Hidden Costs of Bringing Gambling to Texas.”
First, volumes of peer-reviewed studies have found no correlation between casinos and the social problems Ms. Woolley ascribes to the influence of gambling.
Second, she derides the value of the economic opportunities and tax revenues that commercial casinos bring to host communities, including more than 330,000 jobs that pay $13.1 billion in wages, benefits and tips. That’s a lot of jobs and paychecks in a tough economy.
Certainly there are people who cannot gamble responsibly – about 1 percent of the population – which is why the industry has spent millions to fund research on this malady and to educate the public about responsible gambling.
For a true look at the impact of casinos, you need only talk to the people who live with them every day. A recent national survey found that 68 percent of casino county residents would vote “yes” if a referendum were held on whether or not to keep casino gaming in those communities. Surely this would not be the case if Ms. Woolley’s portrait of casinos was accurate.
Ms. Woolley is entitled to her own opinions, but not to her own facts.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association