Convenience Gambling:

Information on Economic and Social Effects in Selected Locations

GAO-01-108: Published: Oct 18, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2000.

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This report summarizes GAO's findings on the economic and social effects of "convenience gambling." The National Gambling Impact Study Commission defines convenience gambling as the placement of slot machines or video poker terminals in restaurants, bars, drugstores, and other businesses to attract local residents rather than tourists. Although data from the communities GAO studied indicated that legalized convenience gambling increased tax revenues and created jobs, local government officials said that its presence discouraged some businesses from coming into the community. Although government officials in these communities suggested that convenience gambling contributed to bankruptcy filings, GAO was unable to find evidence of such a link. Many factors prevented GAO from clearly identifying the social effects of gambling in the communities studied. GAO was able to gather anecdotal evidence that suggested a link between certain social problems and gambling, but hard evidence to support those findings was lacking.

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