“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is a reassuring lie. Sam Skolnik, in his book “High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America’s Gambling Addiction” (reviewed in The Christian Science Monitor), describes the cost to those states which depend on gambling to bring in money to meet their expenditures. The social fallout is sobering: Nevada has “higher rates of crime, bankruptcy filings, home foreclosures, divorces and suicides than anywhere else in the country.”
One in 16 adults is a pathological gambler, losing nearly four times as much as the average gambler. The suicide rate among seniors in Nevada is three times that of the rest of the country. This makes Las Vegas one of the most dysfunctional communities in America.
Why don’t we hear more about this? Skolnik notes, “When gambling in America brings in about $100 billion a year in profits, good P.R. and rigged studies come easy to help expand the industry.” Highly paid lobbyists and unscrupulous politicians try to minimize the problems.
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