Though the Casino Association of Indiana does not take a position on gambling expansion, your readers should know that Russ Pulliam’s opinion piece, “Resisting gambling’s lure” (April 17), makes a case built on bad information.
Contrary to assertions in the article, the rate of gambling disorders does not necessarily increase with the advent of new casinos. A 2008 study found that pathological gambling prevalence rates are not higher near a casino than they are farther away from it. In fact, approximately 1 percent of adult Americans are pathological gamblers, and recent studies have shown the prevalence rate to be even lower.
Pulliam also suggests that the social costs of gambling outweigh the advantages, but the exact opposite is true. According to Indiana State Senator Earline Rogers, “…casinos have been a benefit. Our crime rates have gone down, and one reason is that we can now afford more police cars…” Other Indiana residents echo her sentiments. Aurora, Ind., Clerk-Treasurer Rae Gipson said, “[Casinos have] allowed us to have a vision, to look at what we might be able to do…”
Pulliam rightly points out that casinos generate significant tax revenue; last year alone, casinos returned $838 million to Indiana. But casinos boost local economies in many other ways including local development agreements and philanthropic giving.
Casinos provide good-paying jobs that wouldn’t otherwise exist; Indiana casinos employ thousands of people who earned over $500 million (pay and benefits) in 2008. Also, Indiana casinos spend a considerable amount of money with minority- and women-owned suppliers. Casinos even reduce welfare dependency; a University of Chicago study found that gaming communities experience a 12 percent to 17 percent drop in welfare payments.
Certainly, Pulliam is entitled to his opinion. But your readers deserve the facts, not a barrage of biased accusations.
President and CEO
Casino Association of Indiana