Gambling with Paradise: The Effect of Gambling on Low-Income Individuals, Families, and Communities
The Hawai‘i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice has released a report entitled Gambling With Paradise: The Effect of Gambling on Low-Income Individuals, Families, and Communities. Click here to read the full report.
As detailed in the Gambling With Paradise report, the issue has already been exhaustively studied. Gambling poses significant risks to Hawai‘i in general, and its low-income residents in particular:
Low-income people spend higher percentages of their income on gambling and lottery tickets than the rest of the population. The tax revenues generated by gambling would disproportionately come out of the pockets of those that can least afford it.
Gambling will likely cannibalize existing businesses. Gambling is unlikely to draw additional visitors given the expense of travel to Hawai‘i and the abundance of cheaper, well-established gambling destinations. Money spent on gambling will be money that would have otherwise been spent on existing businesses. The introduction of gambling may even reduce overall tourism, as recognized in a resolution recently adopted by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, expressing concern that legalized gambling runs counter to our Aloha Spirit and could in fact turn visitors away.
Casinos have been shown empirically to increase the rates of serious crime including rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft.
In spite of these well-documented problems, states throughout the nation have succumbed to the allure of big revenue projections from gambling, only to find them to be grossly overestimated.