Losing Chips Sinks Ships

A new book edited by John Kindt, a business professor who has made a career out of tying gambling to every ill under the sun, argues that betting on games of chance "threatens national security." It's not just that "gambling addiction...is increasing among U.S. military personnel, hampering readiness." More important, whereas money spent on every other good or service stimulates the economy, money spent on gambling vanishes into a black hole:

Casinos drain money from consumer products and services, weakening the economic engine that ultimately drives defense spending, according to the latest volume in the three-part United States International Gambling Report Series.

"We cannot maintain a strong military presence with a weak economy," said University of Illinois professor John W. Kindt, a national gambling critic and contributing author and editor of the series. "Widespread gambling gambles with our national security by dragging down our national economic security."

Gambling siphons money from the traditional consumer economy, where an economic "multiplier effect" triples the value of every dollar spent by creating jobs that supply goods and services, according to research compiled in the first academic collection examining gambling and its costs to society.

And what is it that prevents this mutiplier effect from working when people spend money on gambling instead of movies, music, athletic events, skiing, or some other form of entertainment? Don't dollars earned by casino employees and investors "creat[e] jobs that supply goods and services"? Or is the money so embarrassed about being involved in such a sordid business that it stays hidden in their pockets, never seeing the light of day again?

Greg Beato noted Kindt's predictions of gambling-induced catastrophe in his May 2006 Reason article "Sin Cities on a Hill." 

[Thanks to Bruce Bartlett for the tip.]

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  • phalkor||

    if he is exclusively speaking about illegal gambling then he is correct, it it a black hole. the same thing can be said for any black market product or service trade. we should legalize all things.

  • Douglas Gray||

    Actually, the gambling industry is pretty good at voluntarily redistributing wealth from wealthier folks to those with relatively low paying jobs in the industry.

  • ||

    People WILL gamble,period. They've done it since the dawn of time, legal or not, and there can be no doubt that there will be gambling going on when the Second Coming is sounded.

    The only sane thing to do is legalize, regulate it and- and since the good professor is worried about the loss of revenue- tax it.

  • ||

    Try telling a Nevadan that the there's no multiplier effect with gambling money. The state is built on it, and when the economy tanks, the Nevada economy tanks much harder.

    But we should clearly outlaw it anyway, because this guy thinks it slightly unsavory. And we can't be offending this assmunch.

  • Kolohe||

    Dr. Kindt would plotz if he learned how many soldiers and sailors are addicted to WoW and the like.

  • creech||

    Whereas money spent on, say, the salary of business professors, is an investment. This particular professor would probably advocate the "broken windows" policy for economic recovery. Let's just decimate the Illini professor corps and give students back some of there tuition money so they can advance the pizza, beer, and condom industries (among many other worthy businesses.)

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, John Kindt.

  • High Every Body||

    Or is the money so embarrassed about being involved in such a sordid business that it stays hidden in their pockets, never seeing the light of day again?

    It goes into the underground economy of bath tub gin and cheap floozies never to be seen again. Well, until somebody buys a Cadillac or a BMW.

  • ||

    ""And what is it that prevents this mutiplier effect from working when people spend money on gambling instead of movies, music, athletic events, skiing, or some other form of entertainment?"""

    That was my first thought, legal gambling is an industry supported just like any other industry.


    """"Widespread gambling gambles with our national security by dragging down our national economic security.""""

    As Phalkor points out, it's blackmarkets that drag the economy down in this respect. Kindt is making a arguement on why we need to legalize drugs and hookers, he just doesn't know it.

  • Warty||

    Yo, his name sounds like Cunt. Fuck John Cunt.

  • ||

    Ice cream has no benefit. It is a black hole into which millions of consumers pour their money and from which it never comes back. It makes people fat and ruins lives.

    I say we need to make ice cream illegal so those dirty ice cream shareholders can no longer profit off of the misery of the ice cream-eating poor.

    STOP THE ICE CREAM CONSPIRACY

  • dfd||

    if he is exclusively speaking about illegal gambling then he is correct, it it a black hole.

    No it's not. Even if he is speaking of illegal gambling he's still wrong.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Wouldn't even money processed through a black market eventually wind up back in the overall market?

  • ||

    Wouldn't even money processed through a black market eventually wind up back in the overall market?

    Yes, I think a few people here are confusing taxes and economics. If you have a black market job, you'll still spend your money like everyone else (and create jobs, innovate, invest, etc.). You'll just skip the government's cut on the first go around.

  • jtuf||

    Let me get this straight. Central government planning of the economy is justified, because funding the military is the proper function of the populace!? Sigh, my grandparent's generation won the Cold War. My parent's generation lost the resulting peace.

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