ALTHOUGH Americans have gambled for many years and in a variety of ways, the recent opening of casino gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey has attracted the attention of both businessmen and social scientists. There is a feeling that if casino gambling proves to be profitable, both for the state of New Jersey and for those who have invested their money in the casinos, then gambling may increase drastically in America. Many other resort communities are carefully watching the results of the advent of casinos in Atlantic City and weighing the decision to press for legalization of gambling in their geographical area. Social scientists are interested because, on the whole, they have neglected the study of gambling behavior in the past. Although the impact of one casino in New Jersey on the gambling behavior of Americans is miniscule, the attendant publicity, and the continual search for new topics for social science research, have generated an interest far in excess of the financial impact of that one casino.
There is good evidence that social scientists have been caught off guard. There is going to be a demand for information about gambling behavior and gamblers, information which we do not have available at the present time. As a consequence, there will probably be a good deal of research activity on this behavior in the next few years.
The aim of this book is to provide a solid stepping stone for this future inquiry and research. The first three chapters examine the potential impact of an increase in legalized gambling. In Chapter 1, David Lester examines the social impact of the opening of the first casino in Atlantic City. What problems were created by this event for Atlantic City? In Chapter 2, Elizabeth Elmore examines the broader question of the economic impact of casino gambling for communities who are interested in the tax revenues generated by legalized gambling. In Chapter