Legalizing Gambling: Is It Worth The Risk?
Money. It is what drives most of us, and it’s no secret that the state of Hawaii is desperate for it. I saw on the news a few weeks ago the mayor’s big plan to fix Honolulu’s roads and heard that a hefty $150 million price tag that will come along with it. The piece on the news said that the state was unsure of where that money would come from and this got me wondering why hasn’t Hawaii legalized gambling?
I used four sources to delve into both sides of this controversial topic. The first source is a report from CQ Researcher titled “Gambling in America” by Kenneth Jost. The second is an article from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser “On ...view middle of the document...
In the town of Tunica, Mississippi for example, welfare payments have dropped by 29 percent while the welfare rates in towns without casinos continues to rise (Fahrenkopf 110). I’m not convinced by this information because it is lacking any proof of currency. I have no idea when this information was gathered or if it has changed since these numbers were originated.
Another example of a casino benefitting its local economy is the Harra’s casino in Shreveport, Louisiana. Fahrenkopf says in 1995, 20 percent of it’s employees bought homes, 11 percent were able to get off of welfare, and 18 percent no longer received unemployment checks, but the employment benefits reach beyond the people working the casinos. In Louisiana, construction of casinos created roughly 10,000 jobs over a one-year period, with total expenses adding up to $574 million. Would such substantial growth be realistic in Hawaii? In the case of already crowded Waikiki, where there has been much talk of adding casinos, the opportunity for new construction is limited, and benefits such as construction jobs might not be as vast. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA) “this equates to approximately 17 jobs for every $1 million of capitol expenditures.” (Fahrenkopf 110).
In 1995, 154 million Americans stepped foot into casinos across the country (“Legalized Gambling Harms” 100), and it’s not just visitors that would enjoy the addition of casinos to the state. Las Vegas is often called “Hawaii’s 9th island” because it is one of the most popular vacation destinations of Hawaii’s residents. Borreca says a survey of 1,000 people conducted by the Waikiki Improvement Association shows that Hawaii’s residents would like to go to Waikiki to gamble. According to the survey, that would keep an extra 395 million dollars in Hawaii, (Borreca 1) boosting our economy instead of that of another state. 1,000 people are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the population of Hawaii. A larger sample size is necessary to get a more accurate idea of what the population as a whole thinks about this topic. When asked if Rush thinks legalizing gambling in Hawaii would keep residents at home, the answer was yes. “It would keep me home. I can speak from experience on this one because I am one of those residents that travel to Las Vegas regularly… Why not bring some of that revenue home?” (Rush 4) While this is a biased opinion, it lends support to what other sources have said about keeping residents in Hawaii.
It is common knowledge that tourism is the bloodline of our local economy. In a two year study by conducted by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) shows that “destination style resorts” in other words, casinos, have a much bigger impact on economies than “convenience style gaming” such as slot/video poker machines or internet gambling (Fahrenkopf 110). Not only would full service casinos offer job growth, the draw of added entertainment and nightlife that casinos...