*Blog postings do not necessarily reflect the views of Fantini Research

By Steve Norton
CEO, Norton Management

Tennessee Governor: Casinos “The Most Harmful Form of Gambling”

My comment:

Governor Lee is certainly not alone in his opposition to casino gaming, but I take exception to his comment that "casinos are the worst form of gambling … which prey on poverty and encourage criminal activity".

I believe Tennessee has a state lottery, which is like many other states, has the highest per-capita spending in the lowest income neighborhoods. Even though state lotteries provide important taxes, generally in support of education, the percentage of bets kept at a lottery is much worse than casino games - usually in the 25 to 40% percent range.

I agree with his decision to let sports betting become legal, as it already exists in illegal overseas sites, that are unregulated, pay no taxes and employs no US citizens.

Casinos in many states are located away from major cities, preferably in resort communities, and no matter the location, receive most of their play from higher-income individuals.

As for criminal activity, I will agree that FBI Property and Violent Crime rates are higher in communities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but even higher in other resorts communities, with no casinos, such as Orlando and several other Florida resorts areas.

It seems the FBI uses only the permanent population, when comparing crime rates, so in a city like Atlantic City, with a population of less than 40,000, but with annual visitor counts of over 20 million a year, the crime rates are enormous. But when factoring the average daily visitor count, along with the city population and non-resident workers, AC's crime rates are much lower than before casino gambling was added in 1978.

With sports betting now legal, Governor Lee might want to reconsider allowing it at sports betting lounges, rather than online where it would be available at home or work, and risking minors using a parent’s credit card or bank information, to bet illegally.

Betting lounges, with video walls and private booths, would provide a superior event viewing experience, allowing in-game and proposition bets, a place for friends to watch their favorite teams, as well as games not available at home.

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