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Casinos: Profit Vs Progress Essay

1110 words - 5 pages

Native American Casinos produce monstrous revenues and create an enormous job market. Their influence on a community, however, is not necessarily positive. Venues which facilitate gambling are known to also foster alcoholism, depression, and drug use within their community. Additionally, Native Americans are not the main benefactors of the profits. Foreign millionaires, and investment firms swallow nearly all the profits. Finally, where are the kick backs to the community. Less than one-third of the states containing Native American casinos collect tax revenues from the businesses. Though the bright lights and entertainment may cloud some citizens' view, when do we, as law abiding, ethical ...view middle of the document...

The Navajo reservation of 200,000 tribe members and 17 million acres holds some of the poorest people in the United States. "73% of Navajos make less than $9,000 a year and unemployment runs around 50%." (Flanagan 148). While mega-resorts like billion-dollar Foxwoods may be the symbols of Indian gaming, most of America's 1.7 million Indians are not prospering. Native Americans have a poverty rate 2.5 times the national average, a suicide rate nearly twice as high, and an alcoholism rate six times greater. Now, long dispersed tribes with non-Indian financial backing are regrouping to take advantage of gaming. They are seeking new reservations where they never lived before, some even in other states, solely to build a casino.Every year millions of Americans pay taxes on their incomes, yet only six of the twenty-four states containing Native American casinos collect tax revenue from these businesses. The Natives believe they should not be taxed, due to past injustices by the United States Government. While this stance is certainly not without merit, it is not always the Native Americans who are benefiting from the tax free lifestyle. "About 10% of legalized gambling, or $7 billion, came from casinos on Native American reservations in 1998. About 1/3 of that revenue goes to the tribal governments with the rest being distributed among lobbyist and politicians in the form of campaign contribution." (Silverstein 20). Wealthy Indian gaming tribes are now suddenly pouring millions of dollars into political campaigns at both state and federal levels. They are also influencing gaming and other policies which affect Native Americans by handing out large sums to influential lobbying firms. In 2000 alone, tribes spent $9.5 million lobbying in Washington. All told they spend more to influence legislation than "General Motors, Boeing and AT&T."(Barlett 52).Unfortunately, wealthy politicians are the least of our worries. Excessive gambling, alcoholism, and drug use run rampant in communities where casinos are located. America's health is actually at risk due to some tribal operations. Casinos are known to increase drunk driving rates an average of thirty-percent within the first year of their existence, and according to...

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