Gambling in the United States
Gambling is an activity that involves the risk of money, and is often addictive. While there is no specific cure for gambling addiction, there are some organizations that provide assistance to individuals and families affected by the problem.
In the United States, the amount of money legally wagered has increased nearly 2,800 percent from 1974 to 1994. This increase has helped to provide significant government revenue. Unfortunately, legalized gambling has also increased the level of crime and the number of pathological gamblers. As a result, federal laws have been passed to limit the kinds of gambling that are permitted, as well as to regulate the gambling industry on Native American reservations.
Most arguments against gambling are based on negative consequences, especially the destruction of family relationships. For example, adolescent pathological gamblers miss school and other important activities in order to gamble. They may lie to family members about their behavior, spend their paychecks on gambling, and even steal from family.
Despite the fact that most people are aware of the risks involved in gambling, there are also a wide variety of reasons why people engage in it. Some reasons include novelty, social rewards, intellectual challenge, and relief from stress.
In the United States, there are more than 60 million people who engage in gambling at least once a year. During the past decade, the amount of money gambled in the United States grew by just 6 percent. The legal gambling market grew by more than $335 billion. However, there is little evidence to suggest that the growth has led to an increase in the overall economy.
Several states have legalized different types of gambling. These include horse racing tracks, poker rooms, and Indian casinos. Among these, the most popular are lotteries. Lotteries are similar to bingo, where players guess the outcome of a draw. A person who correctly predicts the outcome wins a prize.
In the United States, a state-operated lotteries has expanded rapidly during the latter part of the twentieth century. Today, almost half the U.S. population participates in a state-licensed lottery. Similarly, in Europe, the number of state-operated lotteries has grown significantly.
Gambling has been a controversial issue in the United States for many decades. Historically, it was viewed as a crime, but in the late 20th century, attitudes towards gambling softened. Consequently, the amount of money that is legally wagered annually has risen to $10 trillion. But, because of the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine, it is unlikely that state actions will be able to preempt federal legislation.
There is also evidence to suggest that the college-aged population has a higher rate of problem gambling than the general population. Though the international research literature has yet to reveal a clear cause, a recent study in Britain found that problem gambling estimates were significantly higher for college-aged men than for their older counterparts.
In addition to the negative impacts on individuals and families, gambling is also an economic burden. Currently, gambling generates more revenue than the movie industry and the recorded music industry. Moreover, it is estimated that the revenue cannibalizes state collections.