States Are (Unsuccessfully) Trying to Fund Their Governments with Video Gambling

For governments, gambling has been a time-tested method for raising money.

In fact, much of America’s early infrastructure, including luxuries like the Washington Monument, were funded in part with the help of public lotteries, according to a new video from Vox.

Because of gambling’s proven power to pull in money, the state of Nevada moved to legalize it during the Great Depression as a way of staying afloat. Even today, states continue to use gambling to bail them out when the budget gets tight. The problem, however, is that gambling has changed a great deal in the past 100 years.

The video highlights the fact that Illinois, in an attempt to combat the 2008 housing crisis, passed an act that allowed for more than 30,000 gaming machines to be installed in locations outside of casinos across the state.

Despite the fact that video gambling is incredibly addictive, the machines are not pulling in the money that they were expected to, raising just 10 percent of the $300 million borrowed to implement the machines in 2012.

Since then, the margins have been getting slimmer, but the money is not going back into the state, and certainly not into the pockets of its people. As the video reveals, there is actually less funding for gambling treatment now then there was in 2009 before the act was passed, and in the meantime, a handful of gambling companies have netted nearly $2 billion.

This isn’t just an issue with Illinois, however. With many states considering sports betting as a potential new revenue source, this problem has the ability to spread quickly across the country.

Watch the full video for more on the politics of gambling, and the cultivated addictiveness of video gaming systems:


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