Tuesday, January 17, 2012

About D.C.'s $250 gambling limit

D.C. Lottery plans to limit gambling losses to $250 a week or $13,000 a year. That limit will likely hurt the amount of money that the District can make off online and neighborhood casino gambling.

According to Marvin Steinberg, the executive director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling, problem gamblers are responsible for a major share of gambling revenue.

In a recent op-ed he wrote for the Hartford Courant, Steinberg pointed this out:
…  problem and pathological gamblers account for approximately 30 percent of gambling revenue despite being only about 5 percent of all gamblers.

Problem gamblers lose far more than $13,000 annually, according to the Wisconsin Council of Problem Gambling's annual report.

The Post Crescent, a newspaper which wrote about the council's annual report, said the council helped 13,528 people last year. The average reported debt for the people it helped was $157,074, the newspaper reported.

The Wisconsin council estimates that approximately 333,000 Wisconsin residents have a gambling problem, or 5.8% of Wisconsin's population of 5.65 million.  Nevada cites a 6% rate.

The $13,000 yearly limit that D.C. Lottery and the CFO have proposed is intended to reduce the impact of problem gambling on the community.

But since the D.C. government, via its lottery, will be promoting gambling and making it available just about everywhere, it's probably safe to say that problem gambling will be an issue of emerging importance to the community.

For most people, $250 is a lot of money. The fact that D.C. Lottery feels it needs to set a limit tells us that they expect a problem. But everyone still comes up a loser under this plan, which is yet another reason for repeal.

1 comment:

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