Professor Jim Cosgrave, a sociology lecturer at the Oshawa, Canada-based Trent University has published a book exploring the social impacts of gambling entitled ‘Casino State: Legalized Gambling in Canada'. In the book, the academic questions the propriety of governments augmenting budgets with taxes on profits derived from gambling.
“Profits from casino gambling have been crucial for government budgets in many [Canadian] provinces, and, in the face of the current economic crisis, it’s increasingly important to consider the social costs of legalized gambling,” Professor Cosgrave writes. “When governments get into the gambling business, they face perceptions of their legitimacy, and this is more significant in relation to the phenomenon of problem gambling, which is a consequence of gambling-friendly policies.
"In times of economic uncertainty, it’s even more important to examine the real price of these policies,” Cosgrave asserts.
Cosgrave noted that the book is a response to what he claims is an “unprecedented explosion” of legalised gambling in Canada, particularly in the form of [land] casinos and electronic gaming. It includes a chapter dealing specifically with issues such as gambling and morality, gambling consumption and risk, provincial policies, and social issues such as gambling-related crime and youth problem gambling.
The Professor raises questions about state conduct, policy issues, public health and addictions, and provides an overview of the central issues related to the legalization and expansion of gambling in Canada.
“We know that the public is becoming increasingly aware of gambling addictions, and we wanted to examine the implications of state-owned gambling enterprises," he said this week.