The casino expansion amendment to the New York State Constitution is moving swiftly to adoption. Approved by the Legislature in 2012, it comes up for second passage any day now and then will be put to the voters later in the year. Casinos are hailed as creating economic development and raising needed tax dollars which are currently going out-of-state. But what if the benefits are far outweighed by the harms?
Dr. Stephen Shafer, M.D., M.P.H. (retired Professor of Neurology, Columbia University Medical School and chair of the Coalition Against Gambling in New York State) has written an incisive analysis of the likely impact of building the possible seven new casinos permitted by the amendment. Using academic epidemiological data, he has calculated that, while the new casinos would in fact keep gambling dollars and taxes in the state, very many new gamblers would be created. He predicts the creation of 82,000 new pathologic gamblers and 200,000 problem gamblers. His study shows how the increased tax revenues derived from new gamblers would be outweighed by the quantifiable social costs (in dollars) by a ratio of 12.9 to 1.
Dr. Shafer's analysis demonstrates in credible quantitative terms the destructive impact to the people of the state of passage of this amendment.
His study appears on the web page of the Coalition :cagnyinf.org and directly at: http://tinyurl.com/aas2tew.
Arnie Lieber, M.D.
Lieber is a member of the Executive Committee of NoSaugertiesCasino.org