Despite industry attempts to sanitize what goes on in the casinos and betting parlors that are spreading across the national landscape, the hard truth is that the core of the business frequently boils down to this: taking vast sums of money from people who can’t afford to spend it. Not unlike payday lenders and other corporate predators whose business model is based upon squeezing the desperate, the gambling industry is frequently a massive rip-off pushed by giant corporations.
Does this mean that gambling can’t provide legitimate entertainment for some people or that it should be abolished? Of course not. But it does raise real questions as to why state governments should be acting as partners in promoting it rather than as consumer protection advocates who regulate it and keep it in check.
With moves afoot in North Carolina to expand casino gambling, video poker and the lottery, now is a critical time for us to discuss these issues.
Please join us on March 27 as two experts in the field (Les Bernal of the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation and Prof. Charles Clotfelter of Duke University) explain just how big the problems in this area have become and how important it is for us to act now before North Carolina heads any further down a very dangerous path.