Gambling has become such a large part of Americans way of life that it has become socially acceptable. New kinds of gambling are being introduced every year as a way to boost the economy, create jobs, etc. But there is a high human cost. Although it might create revenues, it also creates problems similar to drug abuse. In its compulsive form, gambling can act like a disease such as alcoholism or cigarette addiction. It can also often lead to suicide. Gambling affects the poor the most, who also face a lot of other economic hardships. There are many examples of gambling related crime that ranges from the individual all the way up to organized.
Some forms of gambling are legal in 48 out of the 50 states. The only two not to allow it are Hawaii and Utah (Native 2). Is it a source or crime and corruption or is it a source of revenue? Everywhere you look, there is gambling. Most everyone is exposed to gambling at a early age, and nearly everyone gambles in some sort of way. There is no way to get away from it. In our schools, adult bookies hire teens to take bets inside the school and extend credit to young people to bet money they don’t have (Haddock 92). Even carnival games are one of the most underrated areas of crooked gambling. Some are controlled by organized crime who receive 50% of the gross profits (91). Any mention of the well-known city, Las Vegas conjures up images of glitzy casinos with neon facades; a city built by gangsters to prey on the hopes of reckless tourists (Conn. 2). According to the book “Las Vegas”, hustlers, scam artists, smalltime hoods, boomtowners, and tourists flooded Las Vegas.!
Las Vegas had been declared “open territory” by the mafia without reprisals (Gambling 101). The government, private research, and Indian groups have many reports describing poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, high crime, and other problems (Native 2). Obviously, gambling has been creating bad environments for everyone to be exposed to, and has been doing so since early on.
Compulsive gambling causes many major problems in the gamblers family and his or her self. Characteristics of compulsive gambling include disruption of family or divorce, abused or neglected children, impoverishment, mental breakdown, criminal activities, fear, depression, or even suicide (Haddock 14). A compulsive gambler always thinks that the next one will be the one to hit it big (16). If a compulsive gambler stops, that means giving up and they still have the debt to pay off. They don’t want to be left with the debt so they keep gambling with lost hopes.
Jeff Copeland, a 21 year old from suburban Minnesota can’t go to college because he’s accumulated a $20,000 gambling debt. “It ruins your life” he says. “And people don’t really understand. I thought about suicide. It’s the easiest way to get out of it.”(Gambling 102). In fact, suicide is not that unusual among gamblers, especially compulsive gamblers. Over the years in Minnesota there have been several suicides linked to gambling. It is also most likely that there are many more that go unknown (104).
In the book “Las Vegas,” Deke Castleman says, “A gambling disorder starts out as a euphoria derived from the excitement of the activity--a more satisfying sensation than anything else these people have experienced. As long as these people keep gambling, they are riding high; stopping means coming down, and they need to gamble to get back up. Nearly all compulsive gamblers spend their own and their families’ savings, and three out of four sell or hock valuables, and write bad checks. Almost half descend to theft or embezzlement. An estimated 20% of compulsive gamblers attempt suicide (Haddock 12).

Those who can least afford to gamble usually are the most affected. “The poor spend a greater percentage of their income on gambling than the wealthy, giving gambling the same affect on incomes as regressive taxes--the poor are hit the hardest (Boston Globe A1). For example, residents of Chelsea Ma., the poorest city in the state spend an average of 522 dollars per year in lottery and they only get back 80 dollars in local aid per person. On the other hand, residents in