NGISC Recommendations concerning Advantages and Disadvantages of Legal Gambling

— Analysis of the development of gambling difficulties associated with electronic gambling devices (EGD’s) and the risk factors that accompany this evolution for customers most likely drawn to this form of gambling.

— Effects on the workplace such as economic losses arising from unemployment, loss of productivity and workplace accidents.

— A study that would establish reliable instruments to measure non-monetary costs associated with legal gambling including, without limitation, divorce, domestic violence, child abuse and chronic neglect, suicide, and the secondary effects of bankruptcy and gambling-related crimes, and other outcomes of a similar character.

8.6 The Commission recommends that Congress direct the appropriate institutes of NIH to invite, where appropriate, applications for supplemental funds to issue a revision of the special program announcement for research applications to commence a study of American adult problem gamblers below the pathological gambler threshold (APA DSM-IV). The gambling behavior of those in this large group of 11 million adults and juveniles reveal warning signs that require thorough analysis. The gamblers in this group could go either way, that is, toward diminishing risk or toward pathological status.

8.7 The Commission recommends that Congress direct the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) or other appropriate agency to add specific gambling questions to its annual surveys of mental health providers, which are conducted by the Center for Mental Health Services. The survey should map the availability of both privately and publicly funded treatment services for gamblers. This should include a count of treatment slots for gambling; how many, in a given period, are in treatment for gambling problems alone, or for multiple disorders that include problem gambling;

a demographic profile of those receiving treatment, an assessment of the level of the gambling disorder, and a description of the services they are receiving. It would identify barriers to treatment, such as a lack of insurance coverage, exclusion of treatment for pathological gambling from HMO and other private insurance policies, stigmatization, or the lack of availability of treatment (including a lack of qualified treatment providers).

8.8 SAMHSA or another appropriate agency should initiate treatment outcome studies conducted by scientists in the treatment research field. Such studies should include formal treatment, self-help groups (Gamblers Anonymous) and natural recovery processes. These studies should encompass the general treatment population and should specifically include youth, women, the elderly and minority gamblers.

8.9 The Commission recommends Congress request the National Science Foundation to establish a multidisciplinary research program that will estimate the benefits and costs of illegal and separately each form of legal gambling allowed under federal, tribal and/ or state law, particularly lottery, casino, pari-mutuel and convenience gambling. Further, the research program should include estimates of the costs and benefits of legal and illegal Internet gambling, assuming Congress prohibits this form of gambling with certain exemptions. Such a program, at a minimum, should address the following factors:

— Benefits associated with different kinds of legal and illegal gambling including increased income, creation of net new jobs and businesses, improvement in average wages and benefits, increased tax revenues, enhanced tourism and rising property values, and reductions in unemployment, if any.

— Costs associated with different kinds of legal and illegal gambling, including problem and pathological gambling, increased crime, suicide, debts and bankruptcies, displacement of native inhabitants, traffic congestion, demand for more public infrastructure, demand for more public services from the courts (criminal, bankruptcy, divorce) and from schools, police and fire departments.