(StraightNews.org) – Spending in American casinos has soared since the coronavirus pandemic, with economists noting this as a positive sign that US consumers feel more confident. A University of Michigan index that tracks consumer sentiment showed that mood has continued to rise significantly since the end of 2023. Analysts suggest this may be due to lower gas costs and record-high stock prices.
The American Gaming Association released a report last October showing casino spending had already grown. The report stated that gambling generates $329 billion in economic activity annually and employs more than 1.8 million people nationwide. In 2022, casinos and other gambling establishments contributed $52 billion in taxes to the federal government.
Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, said the industry’s survival of the pandemic and remarkable recovery afterward showed its “resiliency and continued strength.”
David Schwartz from the University of Las Vegas and Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at New Jersey’s Stockton University, both study the financial impact of gambling across the US and say the industry is a major boost. “Casinos are often the largest employers in a region, with major commitments in terms of wages and benefits,” Bokunewicz said.
Nevertheless, some people are not so keen. A study in February 2023 revealed that gambling addiction and the problems it creates are a growing concern in the United States. The Institute for Gambling Education and Research estimates that as many as nine million Americans will develop a gambling disorder. Experts now know that gambling addiction has a similar effect on the brain as dependency on alcohol or other substances and is just as difficult to stop.
Brain imaging shows that gamblers, like substance abusers, develop a tolerance for the “high” they experience while gambling and must engage in the activity more and more often to achieve the same effect. Problem gamblers often lose jobs, homes, and relationships and suffer similar withdrawal as other addicts, experts say.
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