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The Gambling Cure for Budget Deficits

This article is more than 18 years old.
photoA growing number of states are legalizing everything from slot machines and casinos to race tracks and card rooms in order to solve their budget crises. Since the federal government authorized states and Indian tribes to negotiate gambling deals in 1988, more than 350 tribal casinos have sprouted across the country, and gambling is now a $16 billion a year industry.

Last week, Pennsylvania enacted legislation authorizing up to 61,000 slot machines, which could generate as much as $1 billion for the state in tax revenues. That decision could set off a domino effect in the Northeast, with other states upping the ante with more gaming outlets. California, trying to climb its way out of its budget crunch, is also set to expand its gaming industry.

Tune in to On Point for a look at the debate over gambling as a quick-fix and as a long-term solution.


Richard McGowan, Economics professor at Boston College and author of several books on gambling including "State Lotteries and Legalized Gambling," "Government and the Transformation of the Gaming Industry," and his forthcoming book "Dividing the Spoils: States and the Gambling Industry"

William Thompson, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Nevada and authof of "Gambling in America: An Encyclopedia"

John Estey, Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell

Jacob Coin, Executive Director of the California Indian Nations Gaming Association

This program aired on July 21, 2004.


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