NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MS. GEER: Hello, my name is Ann Geer and I'm the President of the National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, which is a political action organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The National Coalition is a grass roots organization that represents a network of activists in all 50 states who are greatly concerned about the substantial increase in legalized gambling in the United States.
Our concern is based on two specific issues. The first issue is the number of casualties of the gambling phenomenon, which show that the number of people who become addicted to gambling increases in direct proportion to the amount of gambling venues available.
The second concern is about the dependency of state and local governments on proceeds of gambling as a source of revenue. This symbiotic relationship creates the unhealthy circumstance of elected officials being required to become promoters of gambling at the same time that this promotion increases the number of compulsive gambling victims.
This vicious cycle is a unique occurrence in that historically, government has served as a regulator, rather than a promoter of industries that are demonstrably harmful to its consumers, I cite the tobacco and alcohol industries as an example. Since the government has little vested interest in the promotion of alcohol and tobacco consumption the role of government as regulator is appropriate, in their recommendations of prohibition and enforcements. Government has taken seriously the mandate to provide for the general welfare by heeding the caution of surgeons general, the National Institute of Health, and other bodies, relative to education and prevention issues in these particular industries.
I therefore propose that the National Gambling Impact Study Commission consider a corrective model for the gambling industry because I believe that there is comparability to previously cited industries in that there is extensive data as the the negative effect of gambling in a percentage of its consumers. This model would propose a set aside tax on all forms of legalized gambling to be used in equal portions for prevention and treatment programs. The rationale for this dual designation is that the role of government relative to legalized gambling, is inverse to its regulatory role in the alcohol and tobacco industries.
Therefore, this taxation to benefit the treatment and prevention of addicted gamblers is a system of checks and balances which would offset government's active promotion of legalized gambling. The time frame for this public input session is insufficient to fully detail this proposal but I am certainly available to further discuss its particulars.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you very much.
MS. GEER: And I do thank you for this opportunity.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you. And any other information that you would like to submit we are happy to receive.
Mary Knust. I don't think she is here.