Nearly 40 million Americans played a slot machine in 2003, according to an annual survey of casino gambling conducted by Harrah’s Entertainment and published by The New York Times Magazine, www.sbcbaptistpress.org reported.
“Each day in the United States, slot machines take in an average of more than $1 billion in wagers,” according to The Times.
The annual turnover from slot machines exceeds that of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Starbucks combined, the article said.
The National Gambling Impact Commission found that following a decade of expansion in the 1990s, the national lifetime compulsive gambling population had grown by at least 50 percent, to no less than 1.2 percent based on the most conservative figures. It also discovered a significant trend indicating addiction had doubled in many populations within 50 miles of casinos, according to NCALG.
Electronic Gambling Machines, including modern slot machines, may be the most addictive. The use of electronic machines leads to addiction much more quickly. One of the most recent studies show EGM gamblers arrive at the pathological gambling level in 1.08 years vs. 3.58 years with more conventional forms of table and racetrack gambling. Electronic gambling devices have been called the “crack cocaine” of the industry, according to NCALG.
State and local governments gained about $6 billion from taxing casino gambling in 2003, according to a USA Today article from July 26, and slot machines accounted for more than two-thirds of that money. Currently, only 15 states have no legal slot machines.
Dianne Berlin, vice chair of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, said one reason slot machines are so addictive is that the response is so quick. Her home state of Pennsylvania started with one 50-cent ticket with a drawing once a week, but now the state has 47 games, primarily scratch-offs, with two drawings a day, seven days a week.
“The reason for [the expansion of gaming] is they weren’t getting people hooked on this stuff,” Berlin told Baptist Press. “The primary goal is not to have ‘entertainment.’ The goal is to hook people on gambling because that’s where they make most of their money. They’re not going to make a whole lot of money on someone who goes into a casino once every four or five months and drops $25. They want people who will gamble at the rate of hundreds or thousands of dollars every time they go.”
Another reason for the popularity of slot machines, according to USA Today, is that slots do not require the skill needed to bet on horse races or play poker. On computerized slot machines, people can place hundreds of bets an hour just by pushing a button.
As GamblingGates.com has earlier reported, online gambling operator GoldenPalace.com won eBay auction for “The Beckham Ball” and arranged a press conference in Madrid, Spain, where the company introduced seller Pablo Carral and its cheque for over €28,000.00 (about US$35,000).
According to Onlinecasinonews.com, the e-casino selected the remarkable destination for their presentation – the Hotel Santo Mauro, where David Beckham lived during his first few weeks he started playing for Real Madrid. Here, in the hotel, GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe gave the cheque to Pablo.
This is the very ball that Beckham sent sailing over the cross-bar during England’s playoff loss in the Euro 2004 tournament. One Spanish sports fan seized the ball and then auctioned the ball on eBay. The casino bought the ball enabling people to use it in order to complete Beckham’s penalty shoot-out. The money, raised from this campaign, will go for charity.
The Ball will be also involved in the GoldenPalace.com Space Program. Project team leader and pilot Brian Feeney will be bringing The Ball along for the ride.
“We’re very excited about bringing The Ball on tour around the world, especially our trip into Space,” said the company’s spokesperson. “We hope to raise a significant amount of money for charity, and expect to see more of The Ball appearing somewhere near you.”