Today UALR’s Arkansas Economic Development Institute released a report claiming casino gambling would create thousands of jobs in Arkansas and provide billions of dollars in GDP growth over the next 10 years.
The report was commissioned by Driving Arkansas Forward, the pro-gambling group responsible for Issue 4, a proposed state constitutional amendment allowing four casinos in Arkansas.
It should not come as any surprise that a study commissioned by a pro-gambling organization would claim gambling is good for the economy. Here’s the truth:
- Study after study has found casino gambling is linked to crime, homelessness, bankruptcy, domestic violence, divorce, and suicide.
- Experts estimate that each pathological gambler costs society thousands of dollars per year in social services and lost productivity.
- Poverty levels are well above average in counties in Oklahoma and Mississippi that have casinos.
- Even if casino gambling did create jobs, that simply would not justify the harm gambling does to families and communities.
Casino gambling hasn’t bolstered Mississippi’s economy or turned Oklahoma into a business leader. It won’t improve Arkansas’ economy either.
Photo By Ralf Roletschek [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.