First it was slots to help the horse racing industry. Then full-blown casinos to supposedly reduce property taxes. Now, Pennsylvania is set to legalize gambling in bars and taverns.
It won’t be long before the state is pushing Internet gambling, online lottery sales and slot machines at airports. In case you haven’t noticed, Harrisburg lawmakers have become one of the biggest gambling addicts in the state.
The state is hooked on the tax revenue that comes from gambling. That explains the latest push to allow gambling in bars and taverns. The move produces little to no economic value and just makes it easier for residents – especially the poor, minorities and working class – to gamble away their paychecks. It is just an extension of the bad public policy that began with the push to legalize slot machines – not to mention the lottery.
Elected officials should look for ways to protect citizens, not strip wealth from them. They should also look for ways to grow the economy rather than push more and more regressive gambling policies.
The African American leaders who endorsed a casino on Market Street in Philadelphia should be ashamed of themselves. The developer claims the proposed casino would benefit African-Americans and Asians, when in fact its location near a public transit hub and Chinatown will only ensure more minority gamblers leave the casino poorer, and many will become addicted to gambling, leaving families even worse off.
Studies show casinos create more costs than benefits. Studies also show there is a decrease in property values and an increase in crime, divorce, suicide and bankruptcy in the areas where casinos locate. To argue otherwise is either disingenuous or ignores the facts. This report here details the many studies that show casinos do more harm than good to a community.