Despite your claims to the contrary (“A Bad Bet,” Jan. 3), communities that turned to casino gambling in the 1990s to address fiscal problems have been enormously successful. In fact, your own newspaper has published profiles of just some of that success in Joliet, Ill.; Tunica, Miss.; and Boonville, Mo. A 1999 report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences also concluded that “[g]ambling appears to have net economic benefits for economically depressed communities.”
As to the negative impacts you alleged, research conducted in 1999 for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that the presence of casinos does not correspond to increases in crime or bankruptcy; a separate U.S. Treasury Department study also found no bankruptcy link. Additionally, commission research estimated that the pathological gambling prevalence rate was 0.6 percent in 1999, whereas in 1976 it was 0.77 percent. Despite a significant increase in gambling opportunities, the rate has remained relatively static.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO