|A Casino's Best Customer|
The idea of suing a casino for oneâ€™s gambling losses may to most seem absurd, and to us it did too, until we heard Arelia Taverasâ€™ story.
Taveras says she lost about a million dollars in Atlantic City - she admits she pilfered client escrow accounts to finance her habit - in a gambling run that went out of control. And now sheâ€™s suing a group of casinoâ€™s for $20 million, saying the casinos knew she was out of control because, for example, she would gamble for days straight while actually falling asleep at the tables.
Taveras probably wonâ€™t get a dime from her efforts - and maybe she doesnâ€™t even deserve to - but her suit illustates a key point about gambling, which is that gambling addicts are, and always have been, a casinoâ€™s best customer.
CASA, the famous Columbia University addiction think tank, made this same point about alcoholism in a recent landmark study that showed that alcoholics and alcohol abusers, as well as underage drinkers, are by far the biggest customers of the alcoholic beverage industry.
What should be occurring here, with both alcohol and gaming, but is not, is that these industries should be heavily taxed, with the tax revenues going toward paying for the clean-up of the enormous collateral damage upon society that the two businesses create. Study after study has shown that the alcohol industry has used its huge political power to avoid paying the taxes it should rightfully pay, with some studies showing that, in inflation adjusted terms, alcohol excise taxes have plummeted 80 percent since the 1950s. And the gaming industry also does not fully pay for the big damage it does, and it should be made to vastly increase its funding for gambling treatment, perhaps via increases in state funding. Very few states - a dozen - provide funds for gambling care despite the explosion in wagering.
written by Dave, May 08, 2008