Oregon is one of many states in search of ways to raise revenues through increased gambling. The problem is there are only so many people who gamble. As such, the state is becoming more and more dependent on marketing to problem gamblers.
In 2011, Oregon officials hired a consultant to learn more about the gambling habits of residents. The consultants examined the habits of gamblers who play video slot and poker machines in bars and restaurants. The consultants found something very disturbing: the majority of gamblers sat in front of the machines alone and played until their money was gone.
Essentially, the bulk of the players had a gambling problem. But rather than do something about the problem the state had created, Oregon officials embarked on an aggressive marketing plan designed to increase play on the machines, according to a report in The Oregonian. The findings should raise a red flag for other states – like Pennsylvania – that are moving to allow video gambling machines in bars and taverns.
Many gambling experts have said that such video gambling machines are among the most addictive. Rather than curb problem gambling the state is looking to feed the addiction.
The Oregonian reported the five-member state Lottery Commission approved spending $250 million over five years to replace the agency’s 12,000-plus video machines with state-of-the art models. The first 3,000 machines are expected to be in taverns, restaurants, strip clubs, bowling alleys and gambling-oriented “delis” by late spring.
The job of elected officials is to protect citizens, not enable policies that destroy lives and ruin families.