playing priest had enabler: The state of Pennsylvania | Editorial

The Darby Borough priest despatched to jail for embezzling more than a half-million bucks to assist fuel his gambling habit raises questions in regards to the position of his two co-conspirators: the casinos and the state.

little doubt Msgr. William A. Dombrow is accountable for his actions and may serve his time in penal complex. but the casinos and lawmakers in Harrisburg share some  responsibility for enabling the playing addiction of Dombrow and hundreds of others like him.

It isn’t ample to promote playing hotlines and concern canned statements telling consumers to gamble responsibly. neither is it enough to set apart a paltry .002 percent of on line casino revenues to deal with playing addicts.

the roles and tax salary generated by casinos come at a cost.

One country wide analyze discovered that living inside 10 miles of a casino increases the odds of a person’s fitting an issue gambler by way of ninety %. different studies have found that anyplace from 30 p.c to 60 % of on line casino revenues come from problem gamblers.

A casino executive at Parx once famously noted at an business conference that most of its valued clientele talk over with 200 instances a year, or an ordinary of four instances every week. An executive at the Harrah’s on line casino in Chester – which Dombrow frequented – referred to a “segment” of its shoppers got here six times per week.

in brief, the success of Pennsylvania’s casinos relies upon in tremendous measure on repeat and problem gamblers. and unlike Las Vegas, which attracts tourists from all over, the casinos right here cater particularly to locals who visit time and again. in spite of this, Nevada ranks first in gambling addiction.

Casinos are complicit. They aggressively market to gamblers through emailing them free-play vouchers, food coupons and different incentives to get them to maintain coming lower back. basically, casinos can track gamblers’ exercise through reward playing cards many plug into slot machines, which generate many of the earnings.

experiences exhibit contemporary slot machines are designed to addict gamblers. indeed, the on line casino business spends a lot of time and cash making an attempt to influence patrons’ behavior via technology and the design of casinos — down to the seats, carpet and design.

The state performs a task in pushing greater playing as well. State lawmakers – led by former Gov. Ed Rendell – legalized slots in 2004. Six years later, the state introduced desk games.

In October, the Republican-managed Legislature authorized a major expansion of gambling by means of allowing gambling on-line and in airports, bars and truck stops in addition to smaller “satellite tv for pc” casinos.

because the state taxes slot machine income at 55 %, Harrisburg could be regarded a majority accomplice within the casinos. As such, lawmakers have an obligation to look out for the defense and welfare of residents, and never just maximize tax revenues.

in addition to stripping wealth from residents, casinos and the lottery create an unaccounted pally charge viewed in addicts like Dombrow, who stole life insurance dollars from lifeless monks to gamble at Harrah’s.

thanks to the efforts of the state, Pennsylvania is 2nd only to Nevada in on line casino gambling.  Lawmakers deserve to assume extra accountability for fighting and treating the gambling addiction they aid allow.

January 8, 2018 — 5:00 AM EST | updated: January 8, 2018 — 5:46 AM EST

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