The Role of the Dice: Governments in the Southeast Have Seen a Welcome Revenue Stream from Gambling. but as the Industry Mature and Government Budgets Become Increasingly Strained, Can Gambling Remain a Safe Bet?
For the last two decades, one of the surest wagers in the Southeast was that lotteries, jai alai arenas, racetracks, and casinos were going to make more money in the coming year than the year before. And nobody was more eager to make that bet than state legislators who had promises to keep and payments to make.
The economic downturn that began in late 2007 cast that wager in a whole new light, leaving the gambling industry feeling squeezed and states fighting over every available gambler.
According to Stateline.org, a Web site that covers state-oriented political matters, only three states had legalized gambling in 1980. Now every state except Utah and Hawaii rely on some form of gambling for revenue as one of the means to avoid tax hikes. Certainly, state legislatures both nationwide and in the Southeast are battling with budget deficits. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures' figures for fiscal year 2009, Florida faced a $3.2 billion deficit, followed by Georgia ($2.9 billion), Tennessee ($1.1 billion), Mississippi ($406 million), Louisiana ($341 million), and Alabama ($269 million). Increasingly, those budget gaps pose a bigger void than gambling revenue can fill (see the …
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Publication information: Article title: The Role of the Dice: Governments in the Southeast Have Seen a Welcome Revenue Stream from Gambling. but as the Industry Mature and Government Budgets Become Increasingly Strained, Can Gambling Remain a Safe Bet?. Contributors: EconSouth - Author. Magazine title: EconSouth. Publication date: Spring 2010. Page number: 18+. © 2009 www.frbatlanta.org. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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