Government and the Transformation of the Gaming Industry

Government and the Transformation of the Gaming Industry

Richard A. McGowan

The book is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on the historical and cultural forces that have shaped the new gaming industry. The second part of the book analyzes how each segment (pari–mutuel betting, lotteries and casinos) competes in the new industry. The political and social implications of gaming are the focus of the final part, which concludes with a series of recommendations that will enable the industry, public policy officials and anti–gambling activists to construct policies that mitigate some of the problems associated with gambling.

Chapter 7: Gambling and Warning Labels: A New Danger for the Gambling Industry

Richard A. McGowan

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy


INTRODUCTION The 1980s and 1990s have been characterized by social commentators as a period of time when conservatives dominated the political landscape with a pro-business agenda. However, for the ‘sin’ industries (tobacco, alcohol and gambling – the legal ones!), this era is one that will be remembered as the time when these industries were under enormous economic and political pressure to justify their existence. One of the public policy measures that officials employed to attack the legitimacy of these industries has been the ‘warning label’. In 1968, cigarette makers were required to include a warning label on the packages of cigarettes, such as ‘Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health’. It was the first victory that anti-smoking forces won over the cigarette industry. Eventually, the message of the warning label had to change every three months and the placement of the warning label on the package itself had to rotate to different locations on the package. It was the first victory of anti-smoking groups in their effort to legitimize the smoking and health issue as an object for vigorous public policy experimentation and public debate (McGowan, 1994). The alcohol industry managed to avoid having warning labels placed on its products until 1990. The alcohol industry was required to place warnings such as: ‘Women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects’, or ‘Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car and may cause health problems.’ The history of the alcohol industry...

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