The United States Congress authorized and created the National Gambling Impact Study Commission to assume a challenging public policy responsibility over a two-year period. Specifically, the Commission has been tasked with producing a comprehensive and factual study of the social and economic impacts of legalized gambling on states, tribes, communities and individuals. The challenge of this opportunity is enormous, especially in light of the fact that gambling and its impact is far more complex today than it was during the last federal study more than twenty years ago.

Legalized gambling has increased dramatically over the last two decades. Advanced technology, such as the Internet, provides an uncharted course of new opportunities with consequences and impacts that are unpredictable and unmeasured.

More and more Americans are being asked to look toward legalized gambling as a source for entertainment, public revenue, and new jobs. At the same time, there are many citizens and public policymakers across this country who need research to make informed policy decisions on this issue that are consistent with the goals and aspirations of the states, cities, and neighborhoods. Congress created the Commission with the goal that our report would provide a convenient access point for reliable and objective data and information on this important issue.

That is the goal of this Commission; to provide elected officials and citizens with reliable data and information that could be a resource in future deliberations and decisions regarding legalized gambling. Our intent is to do what the American people, through their elected representatives in Congress, have asked us to do - to conduct a comprehensive and factual study of the social and economic impacts of legalized gambling in the United States.

While it will not be an easy task, I can tell you that each of my fellow Commissioners and Commission staff are committed to fulfilling their duty to Congress and the American people. In my role as Chair, I am committed to making sure that Commission proceedings are conducted in a fair, balanced, and objective manner. Through the Commission's deliberative process, each of the many perspectives on this issue will be heard.

I believe it is vitally important that the public and the media play a key role in this process. The Commission's site visits are critical to ensure that this is not simply a federal study effort based in Washington. The Commission has embarked on a serious examination that draws upon direct experiences of individuals, families, industries and communities throughout the United States.

I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to contribute their perspectives to this important public policy issue. The Commission welcomes any insight or experiences you wish to share, and a comment section has been provided for you on this web site. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Commission office.

Thank you.