NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
With that, I'd like to welcome our first speaker, Ms. -- is it Roman or Romain?
MS. ROMAN: Roman.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Roman. Thank you, and welcome.
MS. ROMAN: Thank you.
I'm Kim Roman, and I represent No Casino of Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
Imagine being a child left outside a casino for hours on end while a parent gambles. I don't have to imagine it. I lived it. Ironically we moved to Las Vegas for my mother's health, but because the casinos played upon my father's addictive behaviors, supplying him with free drinks and constant encouragement from scantily clad women to keep playing, I lost my home, and I lost my family.
My story is not an isolated one. I can't even count the number of times I've seen someone walking to a grocery store, cash their paycheck, play the slots, and leave empty handed.
Of course, the industry will say that they aren't responsible for someone's addiction. Maybe not, but they can and do manipulate it, and they've downgraded the story of my life to the status of anecdotal.
Please don't dismiss anecdotal evidence. There's a real and hopefully live human being behind each and every anecdote, and each of these anecdotes has families, friends, and employers whom they affect. Each true anecdote is a statistic, and each statistic is a fact that this Commission must hear about and must take into account.
Anecdotal evidence had a valid role in the product liability suit against the tobacco industry. There's no difference here. We're holding the tobacco industry accountable for the way their faulty product and deceptive marketing played on people's addictions.
It's ironic that Nevada joined the class action suit against the tobacco industry, yet refuses to take responsibility for their own high pressure marketing of a known addictive product.
My 14 year old son recently wrote a research paper on teen gambling addiction. The information was so shocking that he and his 12 year old brother are forming a group called Youth Against Gambling Expansion. Their motto is "Don't Gamble with our Future."
They are preparing brochures to educate teens, parents, and our state legislators. They want our lawmakers to realize that the next generation is the one that must clean the mess created by today's errant decisions.
It's a shame that state governments promote gambling at all since it depends so heavily on addiction to be profitable. They have truly crossed the line from being a regulator to being a partner with the industry.
I hope that your findings will allow them to make truly responsible decisions for those they have sworn to uphold and defend.
I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak. I'm thrilled that this Commission has been formed, and I charge you with doing what is best for state governments and the American people, not a special interest group that has deep pockets and political influence.
I hope that when you tour the casinos you'll take a moment to step into the back alleys and see what gambling's true effects are on live anecdotes.