Chapter 2: From Gambling to Gaming: What’s in a Name
INTRODUCTION Two conclusions can be drawn from the previous chapter about the current ‘wave’ of gambling activity. First, unlike the other previous waves that utilized either lotteries or pari-mutuel betting as the major source of revenues, the current wave of gambling activity is centered around casino gambling. The dramatic increase in casino gambling has fuelled the boom in gambling in every section of the US. Casinos are now operated in 27 states and for any American it is no more than a two-hour drive to a local casino (American Gaming Association, 1999). Second, the social acceptance of gambling by the US population is also unparalleled. In the previous wave of gambling activity, it was ‘tolerated’ as long as the ‘good cause’ needed to be funded. But public policy officials now seem to view gambling not as a necessary evil but, as an integral part of the entertainment industry. Currently, there are only three states without some form of legalized gambling (Utah, Hawaii and Tennessee). What changes have taken place in the moral and cultural traditions of the US that have enabled gambling to flourish? Perhaps the answer to this question lies in how the gambling industry prefers to refer to itself in its various public forums, namely as the gaming industry. As gambling exploded throughout the 1990s, the casino industry established public interest groups that would represent its views to public policy officials. All of these organizations utilize the term ‘gaming’ rather than ‘gambling’ as they seek to curry the...
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