Review of: Andy Hjelmeland, The Games People Play, Legalized Gambling (1998)
Reviewed by: Daniel Williams
The competitive nature of gaming has been around since the beginning of time and in this society a winner and a loser must be chosen in each event. Many times a wager or bet is placed between competitors for high stakes in the event. The wager is usually a monetary gesture that is accepted by the ones playing the game. Anything and everything can be bet on and I am willing to bet that most everything has been bet on before. The most popular though has become the games at the casinos, where if you win, there is a chance you could win big. Casinos, since 1985, have been one of the largest and helpful ways to boost state economies while allowing the resident to have fun throwing their money away.
Andy Hjelmeland wrote an article about the economic ties to casino gaming called, “The Games People Play.” This article is about the booming business of casino gaming in both Indian territories and state property. “In 1985, gambling was legal in only two states, Nevada and New Jersey. A decade later, only two states, Utah and Hawaii, prohibited gambling. Twenty-seven states have established some form of legalized casino gambling.” (Hjelmeland) Casino or lottery gambling has allowed state governments to keep taxes as low as possible for their state while taxing the casinos and lottery high. This keeps the taxpayer happy and for the most part, helps stabilize the economy. Of course, it must be noted that, casinos on Indian reservations do not have to pay taxes to the government.
The most popular games at the casino are the slot machines, because they are the easiest, followed by Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette. “Among non-casino games, the thirty-seven state-run lotteries are the largest moneymakers. They generated $34.5 billion in 1994.” (Hjelmeland) Lotteries, like in Georgia and Tennessee, tend to help state schools and universities. Scholarships are formed with tax money from lotteries and really help the education facilities in those states.
Casino gaming and lotteries have become more and more popular in the last twenty-five years and will continue to grow. It is becoming a weekend hobby for many people who live close by or a vacation spot for those who are hundreds of miles away. Many people in the bible belt do not approve with gambling, but it is hard to argue with the economic numbers as to why it is not a good thing.