Many consider gambling as harmless fun. A number of people enjoy “gambling” in the country, and Miami is certainly no different. It can be a way for people to merely enjoy themselves, spend some money, and hope to win some, too!
On the other hand, from financially crippling addictions to a wide variety of crimes, gambling certainly isn’t without its share of dangers…
In fact, you might even be surprised some of the activities that are considered gambling. Let’s look at Bingo, for example. You are probably much more likely to picture a group of old ladies with bluish colored hair and Troll dolls than any type of dangerous crime…What could be more harmless than that? But believe it or not, bingo is considered a true form of gambling. So are those scratch off lottery tickets we all love so much. These specific forms of gambling typically do not conjure up images of a criminal element. But that doesn’t mean that all forms of gambling are completely harmless either.
Did you know that there are over 1,500 casinos in the United States? That’s not all; the United States is the number one country with the most casinos…by a lot.
Rolling the Dice: Casinos, Gambling, and Crime Rates
So the question remains: Will the expansion of gambling increase crime in Miami?
There is really no clear cut “yes” or “no” answer for this one, and here’s why. Again, while certain forms of gambling are completely harmless, other forms seem to attract the pathological, or addicted or compulsive, gambler. In fact, studies indicate that this seems to be particularly true when it comes to casino gambling.
According to one study done in 1990 by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 62 percent of gamblers in treatment for their gambling addiction had admitted to committing some type of illegal act as a result of their gambling addiction. Gambler’s Anonymous performed a similar survey of about 400 of its members, and found that 57 percent admitted to stealing to help to finance their gambling addiction. In addition, participants in this study conceded to stealing over $130,000 on average.
There have also been studies of counties that are home to a casino compared to those who aren’t. Experts who analyzed this raw data discovered that 12.4 percent of the crime that existed would not be present if the casinos were not there.
When The Odds Look Good
While gambling and addictions are certainly negative factors that come along with gambling, there are some pros to having a casino in an area. One reason is the economy. Having a casino in a particular town or county can bring tourists to the area, boost local businesses, create jobs, and help the economy overall.
The Wild Card
Like anything else, there are pros and cons to an increase in gambling. And certainly any activity that has the potential to attract or create addiction can be a cause for concern. For instance, you wouldn’t necessarily say that having an increase in pharmacies is a bad thing, merely because they may attract those who are addicted to over the counter drugs or painkillers, would you?
When Luck Runs Out…
If you find yourself charged with a crime related to a gambling issue or problem, your first step should be to seek the counsel of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. He or she can help ensure that your rights are protected, and that you get the help you need to fight the charges you face.
Author Bio: Brook Anderson specializes in criminal defense cases. She is the owner and senior attorney at the law firm “Anderson, O’Sullivan & Associates, Inc.” located in Miami, Florida. Ms. Anderson’s team offers free consultations to protect your rights.