Reasons to Oppose More Gambling in Connecticut

Current Gambling Expansion Proposals

Recent legislative proposals would result in a massive expansion of legalized gambling in Connecticut, from online sports betting to internet Keno, a Bridgeport casino, and three gambling “entertainment zones” in Hartford, New Haven and a third city, in addition to the East Windsor casino already approved but not yet built.

Ten Reasons to Oppose Expansion

  1. Timing.   This is exactly the wrong time for Connecticut to increase its bet on gambling.  The region’s casino market is oversaturated.  Slot revenue at the state’s casinos is down over 40%, MGM’s new Springfield casino is struggling, and the proposed East Windsor casino is being scaled back because of its diminishing prospects.
  2. Costs Outweigh Benefits.  In the meantime, there is a growing body of independent scholarly research indicating that the economic and social costs of legalized gambling far outweigh its benefits.
  3. Gambling Losses Weaken Economy. Americans are expected to lose over 100 Billion Dollars gambling in 2020, leaving them with less money to spend of other goods and services and weakening the nation’s consumer economy.
  4. Regressive Tax. Government-encouraged gambling represents a regressive tax on low-income workers, retirees, minorities, and the disabled, who comprise a disproportionately large share of regional casino users.
  5. Preying on the Vulnerable.  Multiple studies show that approximately 50% of slot machine profits come from problem and pathological gamblers, meaning the casino industry’s business model is heavily dependent upon preying on people with varying levels of gambling addiction, and half the money the State of Connecticut gets from slots comes from exploiting these vulnerable individuals.
  6. Broken Lives. Gambling addiction leads to debt, bankruptcies, broken families, embezzlement and other crime. The National Council of Problem Gambling estimates that one in five gambling addicts attempts suicide, a rate higher than for any other addiction.
  7. Damaged Communities.  According to a landmark report from the non-partisan Institute for American Values, today’s local and regional casinos drain wealth from communities, weaken nearby businesses, hurt property values, and reduce civic participation, family stability and other forms of social capital that are at the heart of a successful community.
  8. Internet Gambling. Internet gambling would put a casino in everyone’s cell phone and computer, sharply increasing gambling and gambling addiction in Connecticut. Research shows that online adult gamblers have dramatically higher problem gambling rates than other adult gamblers.
  9. Kids and Sports Betting.  Commercialized Sports Betting is radically changing the way children view and consume sports.  Internet gambling addiction is the fastest growing addiction among American kids, high schoolers and college students because of real-time sports betting on cell phones and video games.  In the United Kingdom, 450,000 children aged 11 to 16 bet regularly, more than those who have taken drugs, smoked, or drunk alcohol.
  10. Expanded Gambling Not a Solution.  New Jersey has had more experience with legalized gambling than any state in the Northeast.  In a 2016 state-wide referendum, its residents voted 4-1 against a proposal to expand casino gambling beyond Atlantic City, reflecting the view that casino gambling has become an economic and social dead end for New Jersey.  Government-sanctioned gambling has become a dead end for our state as well.  Encouraging people to lose their money is not a solution for the economic and social challenges Connecticut faces.

Download Ten Reasons here: Ten_Reasons.doc.