NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. HORN: Hi. Good afternoon. I'm the Communications Director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling.
Members of the Commission, the single most important action you can take is to use your subpoena power to uncover documents showing the extent to which gambling enterprises rely on addicts for their revenue. As you must know from reading the papers, litigants against the tobacco industry have used subpoena power to uncover documentation of what that industry knew about their product. They knew their product was addictive. They knew that the profit margin depended on that addiction, and they seem to have responded by manipulating the addictive properties of their product.
We believe that documents exist which prove that the gambling industry is also fully aware of the nature of their product. They know that many of their customers suffer from gambling addiction, a medically recognized mental disorder.
They know that a huge percentage of their profits are earned from gambling addicts, and they respond by designing gambling games and establishments in ways to encourage and exploit this addiction.
Some research in this area is available. For example, Dr. Henry Lesoeur found that for the average gambling establishment in seven North American states and provinces 30 percent of the profits come from the pockets of gambling addicts. We shouldn't allow that.
Now, how does the gambling industry know which tact it's to pursue to maximize profits? By spending millions of dollars each year on research. Obviously the industry draws some conclusions from polls and focus groups, but there is psychological research as well.
For example, the Colorado lottery recently sponsored a study called "Mind Sort" which analyzed the left and right sides of the human brain to understand how to manipulate player behavior, and according to a story in the U.S. News & World Report, casinos use psychological research to learn how to keep their customers' senses stimulated with light, sound, action, and even color, and smell. They speed up games, offer small payouts to keep customers trying, and design facilities so patrons lose track of time, in other words, treating their customers as if they were rats in a cage.
You've been concerned about the Commission's resources. You have limited resources, but you have an unlimited resource, and that is your subpoena power. Millions and millions of dollars of research is out there which has been done by various elements of the gambling industry, and you can obtain that research, and you should obtain that research because that's how you can spread your influence. That's how you can get the information that can be gotten efficiently, quickly, and thoroughly.