The nation’s gambling industry is counting its losses. A report released Monday by the American Gaming Association indicated that revenues at casinos across the country fell by 4.7 percent in 2008. That’s bad news not only for the 1,600 casinos represented by the association but for people who depend on those casinos for jobs. It’s also not great for state and local governments who depend on casinos for tax revenue. The amount of taxes paid by casinos dropped only slightly, but it still means $100 million less to support government activities.
The underlying good news to the study is that it indicates that in difficult economic times at least a small percentage of people are deciding that gambling is not the best use of their money. A quarter of the adult population in the United States still visited a casino in 2008, according to the study, but either that number is lower than in previous years or the visitors are spending less.
Casino gambling is a harmless enough activity for those who can afford it and know when to stop. Money spent at a casino, however, is the very definition of “disposable income,” and in difficult economic times, it would be a good idea for most people to simply leave that money safely at home.